A Crowd Pleaser – Spinach and Chicken Pasta Salad

Today’s recipe is a definite crowd pleaser – I know that because I have fixed this salad for a total of about 600 people!!  Most recently, I fixed this salad for a luncheon I did for the American Mother’s State Convention this past Saturday.  I have also served it to a church group of 450 woman! Yes – that is 450 people all at one time.  Each time I fix it I have numerous requests for the recipe.

Last week a sweet friend emailed me about a salad someone had brought to her daughter’s book club that was delicious – she sent me the recipe and it was this recipe!  The gal that brought it had been at the church dinner I served it at.  So this one is a definite keeper!

I originally got the recipe from my husband’s cousin when she brought it to my in-law’s 80th birthday party (their birthdays are 5 days apart!)  Thank you Kelly!

I love this salad because it is a complete meal – it has spinach, chicken and pasta.  It is also fairly inexpensive so you can feed a crowd on a budget!  It is an easy one to stretch if you need to – just add more spinach.   it also looks pretty on the plate because of the different colors – the oranges, craisinets.  It also has great texture – the crunch of the water chestnuts, peanuts and sesame seeds and the addition of pasta and chicken just make it the perfect full meal salad.

So if you ever have to fix dinner for 450 women you now have the perfect recipe – it’s great for just your family dinner too!

pasta and spinach salad - Page 076

A Crowd Pleaser – Spinach and Chicken Pasta Salad
  • 16 oz. bow tie pasta, cooked al dente
  • Dressing:1 cup vegetable oil
  • ⅔ cup Yoshida's gourmet sauce
  • ⅔ cup white wine vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • Salad consists of:
  • 20 oz. bag of spinach
  • 1 6 oz. bag craisins
  • 3 cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • ½ cup parsley chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 6 oz. peanuts
  • 2 cups chicken, cut into pieces
  1. Blend dressing in blender
  2. Mix dressing and pasta and marinade for 2 hours (in a ziploc bag)
  3. Combine rest and add pasta and dressing and toss
Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

Latest posts by Leigh Anne (see all)


  1. Paula says

    Hi-Where do you find Yoshida’s gourmet sauce?? And if I can’t find it in my area-what could I substitute? Love your recipes!!!

  2. says

    If you are serving as a meal and not a side, one recipe, 20 oz. of spinach will feed 10 but when feeding a crowd I buy the 40 oz. bags of spinach from Costco and that will feed 20. I use the same amounts of everything else – this recipe really stretches! I just make up some extra dressing and add in more as I go to make sure it’s not too dry. Sorry this isn’t more exact. It’s one of those recipes that I just throw things in by the handful and make it stretch to feed how many people I have – add a little more spinach, add a little more dressing etc.

  3. says

    Paula »

    I buy it at Costco. Mr Yoshida lives here in Portland so it is easy to find! If you can’t find it you could just use teriyaki sauce. I think the gourme sauce is a little sweeter so just taste and see if the dressing might need a bit more sugar. Enjoy!

  4. Emily Wilkes says

    I made this salad yesterday too, the ladies at my mid week luncheon loved it and took most of the leftover home. I love this salad!!

  5. says

    i found the sauce at safeway. it’s in the area of the teriyaki sauce. however, it was only available in a LARGE jug! but it was just 8 bucks. once you take a sniff of the stuff, i don’t think you’ll mind having a bunch of it. i can’t wait to marinade some chicken in it.

    thanks for the recipe! i’m making a huge batch as we speak :O)

  6. Tammy says

    I doubled this recipe and made it for my Texas Holdem group of 20. Everyone raved about this salad ! Thank you so much for the recipe. It is a definite keeper!!

  7. says

    Made this last week! Delicious! My 2.5 year old quadruplets & my 7 year old son even LOVED it! Thanks so much for a new summer recipe! =)

  8. Debbie says

    How long before you serve this can you mix everything together? I am worried about it getting soggy but am serving it to a large group and need to have it ready to go. Thanks!

    • says

      Spinach doesn’t hold for a long time, especially if it is hot. I always mix it up right before serving. If you can keep it cool and go light on the dressing you could do it ahead of time but no more than 30 minutes. Enjoy!

  9. says

    I am planning to make this for a luncheon and was hoping I could prepare at least some of it in advance – as much as a day or two. For the flavors to soak in optimally, should the blended dressing be room temperature when poured over the pasta to marinate in the refrigerator? If the pasta marinates for 12+ hours instead of 2 – and the salad is mixed and refrigerated (separate from the pasta & dressing) the day before it is to be served – and then all combined and refrigerated for several hours before serving – will it still look and taste fresh?
    Some recipes call for mixing the spinach with the other ingredients into cooled pasta and then refrigerating until ready to serve. I prefer the ingredients in your recipe but don’t have time to experiment before serving. Thanks in advance for your reply(ies)! :-)

  10. Debbie Campbell says

    Susan~ I made this for a luncheon for 50 people last Wednesday. This is how I prepared it and it worked out great. I grilled the chicken and made the dressing and refrigerated two days before. The day before I boiled the pasta and once cooled transferred to a large zip lock bag. I drained all of the water chestnuts and madarin oranges and placed them in smaller zip locks. I toasted the sesame seeds and almonds (I used them instead of peanuts.) I also chopped the green onions and parsley. So…..at this point everything is ready to go. The morning of the luncheon I combined some of the dressing into the bags of pasta. About 20 minutes before I was ready to serve I combined all the ziplocks with the spinach in a large bowl and put a light coating of the dressing throughout. (This was Leigh suggestion….not more than 30 minutes before serving, she suggested.) I combined more of the ingredients later to replace the large empty bowl. I will tell you that everyone loved it and asked for the recipe. I hope this helps. I served it without a practice run through as well!

  11. Laurie says

    I made this salad for our Stake Women’s Conference this past weekend. It was delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Kerri says

    Leigh Anne,

    I tried this salad tonight and you were right! It is a crowd pleaser! I got rave reviews. Thanks for sharing it.


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