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by on October 17th, 2018

Pasta Spinach Salad with Mandarins and Cherries

Michigan cherries, yum!

Longest road trip ever back in August; Texas to Missouri, to Chicago, then Mackinac Island, Traverse City, then reverse that order and back to Chicago (it’s 1100 miles around Lake Michigan) to see son and family few more days then back to my sister’s in Missouri then after a few more days back to Texas.

I don’t do well in a car for more than three hours but give me my iPad with internet access and I can survive any road trip. Do I sound like someone’s kid or what? So I have plenty of time to research recipes.

I found this salad recipe while looking for something different to make over the summer and I ended up saving the recipe because I wanted to use some Michigan dried cherries I would be buying on our trip. Sure I could buy died cherries here, but what fun would that be I wanted to drive 1,600 miles to get mine from the source. And, since Fall is fast approaching I opted for roasted pepitas (pumpkin) seeds in place of the pine nuts that are so often used in salad recipes.

We made this salad  on our trip back through Chicago to go with some grilled salmon, simple but delicious meal.  On this trip I came away with three recipes I want to make and post, a smoked salmon and potato cake appetizer, corn and goat cheese risotto and a pest0 goat cheese appetizer.  “Rosemary and her goat” have been wanting a new cheesy appetizer and I promise to post one very soon. 

But for now, this salad takes center stage. The teriyaki dressing goes perfect with the oranges, cherries and the seeds and the bow tie pasta adds body and interest to the bowl of spinach. I decided to do part spinach and part arugula (my favorite green).  

BLAST FROM THE PAST: These Cornbread Jalapeno Poppers are so good and you could even add some ground beef to them and have a little Mexican Cornbread appetizer.

I used salted roasted pumpkin seeds but you could use any kind of a seed or nut you like.

Toss the cooked, cooled pasta with the spinach and add in the pumpkin seeds.

Add in Mandarin oranges and gently toss so you don’t tear them up.

Add the cherries and sesame seeds and enough dressing to barely coat ingredients.

Sprinkle (optional) with rice noodles.

 

Spinach Salad with Mandarins and Dried Cherries

A delicious blend of pasta, arugula, spinach and some fruit all dressed with a teriyaki dressing.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. mini bowtie pasta noodles
  • 3 c. baby spinach stemmed
  • 1 c. baby arugula stemmed
  • 1/2 c. dried cherries or blueberries
  • 1/3 c. roasted pumpkin seeds or cashews would be great
  • large can mandarin oranges drained
  • 1/3 c. cilantro leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • chow mein noodles or canned rice noodles optional garnish

Dressing:

  • 1/3 c. teriyaki sauce thicker the better
  • 1/3 c. rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. oil any type - I used Olive

Instructions

  1. Cook the mini pasta bowties per package directions, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Chill until ready to serve.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the pasta, spinach, arugula, nuts, oranges, dried cherries and the cilantro. Just before serving pour dressing over salad and toss. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

I’ve changed Creme de la Crumb's nuts to pumpkin seeds and also changed the cranberries (not a big fan) to dried cherries. I also added in a little arugula because I love the peppery taste in the salad. You can add some grilled chicken to this salad to make it an entree salad.

 

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