Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad

Another gorgeous day in Central Virginia – sunny and warm.  This is the kind of day that begs you to eat something light out on the patio for dinner.  I mostly managed the eating light thing, but by the time I got around to having dinner it was dark so no patio dinner for me.  I had two cups of roasted, diced chicken left from what I thawed to make the Chicken Tortilla Bake so the challenge was using that and not making soup!  This is an excellent twist on chicken salad.

Of course I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.  I left out the celery because I didn’t have any.  I left out the apples because I don’t like apples in savory dishes.  I added some cucumber to replace the apples.  I meant to add some diced red bell pepper, but I forgot.  Of course, when you’re making a salad the key is pretty much always the dressing.  This is a nice light one.  It has enough substance to stand up to the chunky chicken without being so heavy that it buries everything.  I used both peanut butter and tahini.  I substituted green onions for chives because that’s what I had.  I added some fresh ginger for a little bite.  I didn’t have any sesame oil or peanuts.  I think both would have been nice additions.  Oh, and I added some rice noodles – just because I love them.  So, I guess in the end this salad only kind of resembled the dish I started out to make, but I’m very pleased with the results.

I made the recommended amount of dressing, but used an extra 1/2 C chicken and added about 2 oz of rice noodles so my salad was more lightly dressed than the original recipe would be.  I think that’s a good thing.  It doesn’t really need more.  (Oddly enough the picture that accompanies the original recipe looks like they left off the dressing completely).  I think this can be a pretty versatile dish.  It’s intended to be chicken salad served on lettuce.  That would be good.  You could also stir fry the chicken, rice noodles and vegetables in the sauce.  That would be yummy.  I’d probably leave the cucumber out if I was serving it as a warm dish.  Without the rice noodles you could absolutely serve this in pita as a sandwich as well.  Lots of good things.

I give this a thumbs up.  And I better after it’s chilled overnight and the flavors have a chance to soak in it’ll get two thumbs up tomorrow!

Good? Very good.
Easy? Yep, if you leave out the rice noodles there’s no cooking at all.
Good for company? With the rice noodles it’s a little hard to eat with any grace at all, but without them it would make a lovely luncheon plate.
Special shopping? Nope. You can get everything in the Asian section of nearly any grocery store.

Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad

Ingredients

2 C diced cooked chicken
1 small can water chestnuts, chopped
1 C matchstick carrots
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and diced
2 green onions, chopped
2 oz rice noodles, cooked al dente

Dressing
1/2 T peanut butter (I use Jif Natural)
1/2 T tahini
1 T rice vinegar
1 T low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 T mayonnaise
1 t fresh ginger, minced

Directions

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mix.
In a small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad ingredients. Toss to coat.

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