Vegan Cold Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad with Asparagus & Spinach

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Chicken Piccata is one of the things I missed most when I gave up eating meat in the 80’s.  Then – companies began making very convincing meatless chicken & that hole in my heart was cured.  Behold my warm, vegan Chicken Piccata – below.  REALLY convincing – trust me!

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So – I had a few Memorial Day BBQ’s to attend & I was all about vegan pasta salads.  They were a great idea because they assured that I would have something to eat at these parties & because vegan pasta salads – like the ones I made – were safe to leave out for hours without risk of spoiling.   The other two I made were my Spicy Vegan Southwestern Pasta Salad & Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto & Feta Cheese (Vegan or Vegetarian) – seen below, respectively.

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I brought this Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad to a party at Naomi & Jason Priestley’s home.  That is Naomi on the far left.  I am the dimwit in the back who – it seems – was the only one there that didn’t know where to look when being photographed.

Anyway – Naomi took one bite & looked at me in shock.  “McCarthy!  Did you put real chicken in this?”

Needless to say – I hadn’t. But Beyond Meat chicken is so convincing – warm or cold – that it can fool even unapologetic, degenerate meat-eaters.  This pasta salad disappeared quickly – and – besides Naomi – nobody ever questioned whether or not the chicken was real.  I think they all assumed it was.

It is light & clean & healthy & vegan.  If you are a Chicken Piccata lover – this salad is for you!

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Vegan Cold Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad with Asparagus & Spinach

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta

9+ oz vegan chicken – cubed

1 bunch asparagus

1 cup fresh spinach

1/8 cup olive oil (more or less)

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (more or less)

3-6 TBS capers (Quantity determined by your taste for capers.  I love them!) – chopped or not – or just chop some – your call

1/2 cup parsley – chopped

S&P

GARNISH – extra parsley & lemon wedges

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DIRECTIONS

Trim the asparagus by holding each spear by each end & bend until it breaks.  This breaks the asparagus just above the woody & impossible to chew part.  Set aside.

Boil the pasta.  My asparagus was the very thick kind.  If you have the thick asparagus – add it to the boiling pasta 3 minutes before the pasta is done.  Do it for 2 minutes for average asparagus & 1 minute for the very thin asparagus.

Drain & run under cold water.

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Slice the asparagus into bite-sized pieces.  Chop the spinach.

Toss everything together.  Adjust the lemon & olive oil to your taste & season with S&P.  Garnish with extra parsley & lemon wedges.

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Spicy Vegan Southwestern Pasta Salad

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Pasta salads are so easy & vegan ones can sit out at a BBQ with no worry of anything going bad (like mayo).  I made this for a Memorial Day party but I added WAY too much chili powder.  I am going to reduce the quantity I suggest here.  The fact is – you could just toss the ingredients with your favorite BBQ sauce & call it a day – but the lime juice & chili powder add some depth.  I used these noodles below – but I broke the long noodles into thirds.  I love this pasta because it looks cool & photographs really well but any pasta at all will do.  The quantities of the ingredients are loose & you can go with more or less of lots of them with no negative impact on the salad.

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Spicy Vegan Southwestern Pasta Salad

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta – cooked & drained under cold water

1/4 olive oil

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tsp chili powder (I used 2 TBS & it was NOT a good thing)

1/4 cup (or more) BBQ sauce (I used Hak’s Thai Chili Tamarind – because that is what I had – but a more traditional BBQ sauce might suit this salad better)

2 tsp cumin

1-3 garlic cloves – minced

12 oz frozen corn

1 (15 oz) can black beans – drained & rinsed

1 bell pepper – chopped (I used an orange one)

1-2 jalapenos – chopped (I used red ones)

4 tomatoes – diced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

S&P

Extra cilantro as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the olive oil, lime juice, chili powder & cumin together.  Set aside.

Toss all the remaining ingredients well.  Add the olive oil mixture incrementally – tasting as you go.  You might not use all of it.  Season with S&P & maybe stir in more BBQ sauce.

Serve with additional cilantro.

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