Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad

  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced and quartered
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
  • 2 cups chopped or shredded chicken breast, cooked
  • 1 can (29 oz) mandarin oranges (reserve 1/4th cup juice)
  • 1 teaspoon dry ginger
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 8 ounces bowtie/farfalle pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed in cold water
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Make pasta according to package directions, rinsing with cold water to cool down. Set aside.
To make the dressing, drain the mandarin oranges, reserving 1/4 cup of juice. Pour the juice in a small mixing bowl. Set oranges aside. Add ginger, vinegar, oil, onion soup mix, minced garlic, and sugar to the orange juice bowl. Mix well and let sit for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, it’s time to assemble the salad! Add the rest of the salad ingredients – cucumber, bell pepper, onion, carrots, chicken, and drained oranges to a large bowl, tossing to combine. Stir in precooked and cooled bow tie pasta, mixing well.
Pour orange dressing over pasta and toss to evenly coat. Top with sliced almonds and cheese! Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.