Spinach Chicken & Pasta Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette

Creativity never knew such a salad.

My dear friend, Judy, sent me this salad recipe with the emphasis that she had made it several times and it was always a hit. There are certain people you instantly trust their food judgment – Judy is one of those. So I tried it. And boy, was it ever a celebration on the taste buds. A teriyaki vinaigrette is lightly tossed with pasta, spinach, mandarin oranges, craisins, honey roasted peanuts, chicken…and that isn’t even ALL of the ingredients. It is a salad full of texture, flavor and absolute deliciousness. Light, healthful, tangy and sweet, this is my kind of a salad. Thanks, Judy!

Spinach Chicken & Pasta Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette

Spinach Chicken & Pasta Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette

Yield: Serves 6-8

Spinach Chicken & Pasta Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette

Plan Ahead: the pasta needs to marinate in the dressing for at least an hour.


  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 – 2/3 cup bottled teriyaki sauce (I used 1/3 cup but you may want to add more depending on your taste)
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Salad:
  • 16 oz. bow tie pasta, cooked al dente, drained and cooled
  • 1 bag fresh spinach (9 – 10 oz)
  • 6 oz. craisins
  • 2 (11 oz.) cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts, drained and slivered
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 6 oz. honey roasted peanuts
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, tossed with 2-3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce


  1. In a blender, combine all the dressing ingredients and blend until well combined and smooth.
  2. Mix about 1 cup of the dressing with the cooked pasta in a large bowl and marinate for at least one hour (Judy has left this step out many times with still great results).
  3. Combine the remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Just before serving, add pasta and toss. Add dressing to taste and toss. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Judy C.

46 Responses to Spinach Chicken & Pasta Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette

  1. Janet says:

    I commented on another salad asking about how you did it for 400 people. I ended up deciding to do this salad! I have made it several times for “test” groups and it has been a hit every time! I feed the masses in 2 days! Hoping all goes well! Thanks for the great blog!!

  2. Danette says:

    I’m so glad everyone has such possitive comments about this dish. I have been making it for years and have always been told its the best Pasta salad they have ever had. I do make mine a tiny bit different, but it very very close to the same. i use Red wine Vinegar and Olive oil and Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade sauce. Always get the best compliments on this Salad. i never knew of anyone else that made it like I do. its Great!!!!
    enjoy it and never be afraid to try different touches to make it your own!!!

  3. Natalie says:

    I am wondering what kind of teriyaki sauce you use? 🙂 It looks so delicious!

  4. Rebecca says:

    We had this last night for dinner and it was delicious. Made it just like you said and everyone loved it. Even better for lunch today!! I think this should be in the next edition of “Recipes the World Forgot” that you often do. So fun and different than the mainstream meal! Thanks.

  5. Lori says:

    I had this at a party and it was soooo good. I made it myself but cut the oil in half to reduce calories. Still soooo good!

  6. Mel says:

    Melanie – yes, you could sub either oil. It will have a slightly different flavor but should be just fine.

  7. Mel says:

    I don’t have canola oil…could I substitute with olive or vegetable oil?


  8. Love this salad! Just shared a link to your site on my blog because I made it at a birthday party. I’ve made it lots of times and its always a hit!

  9. Craig Matteson says:

    How many does this recipe serve?

  10. Sue says:

    Fabulous Salad – loved it so much I ate it for dinner twice (in the same night)!

  11. […] friend of mine made this and I had some at her house and she sent me over to this recipe at Mels Kitchen Cafe. As Roman said,  ”it was delicious”  Definitely a keeper for […]

  12. Kat says:

    We have this at every baby/bridal shower in our family (which there are a lot of these days with 8 kids between the ages of 19 and 27). It is always a big hit! So delicious!

  13. Tobi says:

    ps: i forgot to get peanuts at the store so i used sliced almonds instead and it was still great!

  14. Tobi says:

    mel….we just had this amazing salad tonight! delicious and healthy too….makes me feel slightly less guilty about the morning buns in the fridge just waiting to go into the oven tomorrow morning 😉 once again you’ve provided my family with another winner dinner! thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Tobi – glad your family loved this salad! Your comment reminds me I need to make it again. (Enjoy those morning buns…and throw the guilt away!)

  15. Melanie says:

    Puhmeow – glad you liked this! And yes, it does feed a crowd!

  16. Puhmeow says:

    Yum! I made this for dinner tonite and it was fabo! I cut the recipe in half and still could not believe how HUGE the salad was. But thanks so much for this recipe, it’s definitely a keeper! yay!

  17. Melanie says:

    Hey Veronica – thanks for the comment! I’m glad that you loved this salad and all that it had going on. Thanks for letting me know.

  18. Veronica says:

    I made this for dinner last Monday and forgot to tell you we LOVED it! An absolute symphony of flavor and texture. Thanks so much for sharing! I will be bringing this to our annual family reunion next year, for sure.

  19. Melanie says:

    Kristin – how nice to see your comment on here. I’ve missed updates on your cooking blog (hint, hint), although I know you have had way more important things going on. Glad you liked this! I always remember Abram raving about your mom’s salads, so I’m glad this met up to the standard.

  20. Mikaela says:

    love reading your blog and finding lots of great recipes. going to try this one tonight. Thanks!

  21. Kristin says:

    Hey Mel,

    We tried this last night and it was a hit – thanks!

  22. Valerie says:

    I LOVE salads and this one looks like a winner. I’ll be making it soon.

  23. Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    Oh I’m glad I saw this- I’ve had this salad before but never had the recipe. I can’t wait to make it!

  24. Shauntel says:

    Thanks Melanie! I’m planning on making this for my lunch group – I’m so excited. Looks deelish.


  25. Melanie says:

    Shauntel – thanks for the heads up – it is 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley. I edited the recipe.

    Valerie – glad you liked this. I can see how this could be kind of a “girlie” salad and how your husband found it a little sweet. Thanks for letting me know.

  26. Valerie says:

    loved this – but my husband thought it was too sweet and didn’t like the mandarin oranges – I did!

  27. Shauntel says:

    How much chopped parsley? The recipe doesn’t specify…

    By the way, thank you for your blog. Your recipes are always a hit!

  28. Cammee says:

    Dang I wish I had spinach in my fridge! I’m going to have to hit the grocery store….again.

  29. R Clan says:

    This salad is amazing. My friend came to visit a couple of weeks ago and brought this salad. I have yet to make it but plan on doing it soon.

  30. grace says:

    quite an interesting and slightly-asianish combination, no? the bowties are the only thing i question, but that’s just because i don’t particularly like pasta in a salad. it’s a lovely dish!

  31. Velva says:

    This looks like a wonderful salad! A perfect salad to eat as a meal for a weeknight dinner or lunch. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

  32. Anonymous says:

    One of my family’s favorite salads! I took it to several potluck dinners during the summer and it was a hit. We even enjoy the leftovers the next day having been dressed with the salad dressing. I found this recipe in the Ivory Family Favorites Cookbook. So far, everything I’ve tried from that source has been wonderful.

    Sally Walter

  33. Leslie says:

    This is my kinda salad..packed with a bit of everything

  34. teresa says:

    i’ve been in a lunch rut lately, this looks like the perfect remedy!

  35. Melanie says:

    megan – I think this would make delicious leftovers but if you want to eat it the next day, serve the dressing on the side so the spinach doesn’t get wilted in the fridge with all the dressing on it.

  36. megan says:

    I can’t wait to make this. Is it good as leftovers too? I would love to make some to bring for lunch for a few days!

  37. Anonymous says:

    Yum! I love this salad. It’s kind of a girl dish, but very very delish!


  38. Leigh Anne Wilkes says:

    I have served this salad at quite a few different large events and it is always a huge hit! I use the Yoshida Gourmet sauce. Yum!

  39. ARLENE says:

    I loved this salad even before I read the ingredients. Would love a big plateful for lunch right about now.

  40. Melanie Anne says:

    I have this recipe too! It is a winner! My hubby LOVES it! Thanks for reminding me about it. I think sometimes great recipes get “lost” in my binder!

  41. Barbara says:

    What a fabulous salad! Love everything in it and the teriyaki dressing would be perfect.

  42. Krista says:

    I can not WAIT to make this salad. Too bad my boyfriend won’t eat spinach, or I’d be making it for dinner TONIGHT!

    Sounds so yummy, for so many reasons. Maybe I’ll bring THIS to Thanksgiving this year.

    I’ll let you know how it turns out after I try it!

    beautiful pictures, by the way.

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