Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Thai Chicken Salad with Orange Peanut Dressing

It's hot today.  So hot that I think I will lounge in air conditioning all day long, only leaving it to swim in the pool.  On days like these, the thought of cooking doesn't even appeal to me.  But alas, we still have to eat.  So salads will just have to suffice.  You know I am not a big salad person, so if I'm sharing one, it's got to be special.  Welcome to the blog, special salad!

Before you get distracted by the fact that the word "chicken" is in the recipe title, don't get too excited.  I don't love the name, because it's not a chicken salad.  It is a salad with chicken on it if you so desire - which I do not, but Kenzie, Nick and Mom marinated and grilled some chicken for theirs.  The salad itself is the winner here.  Romaine lettuce makes up the bulk of it, but there are also carrots, red peppers, edamame, cilantro, sesame seeds - even wonton strips if you can find them (which I couldn't, but those crunchy asian noodles worked as a great replacement and a good texture substitute).

Then there is the dressing, which is so fabulous I'd make it again to spice up a boring salad; it's called orange peanut dressing, which means peanut butter and orange juice and zest are definitely the stars.  Supporting actors include rice vinegar, soy sauce, grated ginger, garlic, and brown sugar.  There's actually no oil in here, so I hereby pronounce this salad dressing healthy.  And amazing.

Mix everything together, and you have the perfect salad for a hot summer dinner.  Or lunch.  Or both if you're lucky enough to have leftovers (add the dressing later if you want it to last overnight!)


Thai chicken salad with orange peanut dressing
from Cooking Classy
serves 4

for dressing:
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 small clove garlic
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
for salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
2/3 cup salted cashews, roughly chopped
1 cup wonton strips (or crispy asian noodles)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 pound grilled chicken breasts, sliced
white and black sesame seeds for garnish


1) Make the dressing first.  Add all ingredients to a blender, except the red pepper flakes.  Pulse until the ginger and garlic are finely minced.  Season with salt to taste and add red pepper flakes.  Pulse just to stir in.  Pour into an airtight container and chill until ready to serve.

2) Prepare the salad.  Add all salad ingredients to a large salad bowl.  Pour dressing over and toss to evenly coat.  Serve immediately.

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