A super simple and healthy asian chicken salad to fill you up this summer. Filled with carrots, cabbage, pineapple, cucumber, green onion, romaine, edamame, peanuts and tender chicken. Totally satisfying.
Asian food. Good heavens, I'm already drooling at the thought of it. It's a love I've loved for as long as I can remember and I'll get to that but first, the salad.
I created this Asian Chicken Salad last year and every time I make it I always forget how much it makes; like a family of 100, just kidding, but easily 6-8. It's booming with gorgeous color, it's such a vibrant salad! I used to make the dressing for this myself but to save some time I buy Panera's asian vinaigrette now (it's almost a dead ringer for the one I make).
This asian chicken salad is a healthy salad and a great option for a hot summer day or a cold summer day, really any day it's a good idea to make this. I love all the different textures it offers, and how much crunch it has! Who wants a soggy salad? Not me! When I make this, I try to make it after i've baked a whole chicken because I like to use the extra chicken meat for another dish but the recipe will be for chicken the day of. To kick it up a notch try adding pineapple, it's tangy bite makes this salad a real game changer.
When I was a kid, I lived in a really small town in Alaska and there really wasn't much as far as restaurants go. Not like here in Phoenix, where we are totally spoiled with more than a lifetime of restaurant choices. My parents used to take my brother and I to a place in town called The Peking Garden. The sweetest family owned it and I went to school with their kids. I can still remember the smell of the restaurant, like won ton soup and fortune cookies, the memory is still so fresh even though its been almost 20 years since I've been there. And I always got the chicken chow mein. It was my favorite place to eat and I've never found another restaurant that came close. Sadly, I believe The Peking Garden closed a few years ago, but I'm forever thankful to the Tzou family for creating delicious food and making me a lover of Chinese cuisine.
1 lb chicken thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 romaine bunch
purple cabbage, small
2 green onions
Frozen edamame (you need about half a bag, or a whole bag if you like it a lot!)
1/2 C. peanuts
1 C. pineapple chunks
Preheat oven to 400. Bake the chicken thighs on a foil lined pan until cooked through. Remove from oven when done and set aside to cool. You can also use a store bought rotisserie chicken or baked chicken leftovers. Get a big bowl, you'll be adding everything to it and you'll need the room to mix it all up. Wash all of your produce. Get a pot of bowling water going and dump in the frozen edamame, cover and cook it on low for 10 minutes (instructions on the bag say 5 but who wants to follow the rules?). When its done squeeze out the individual soybeans, or have your kids help you, my son likes to help.
After you've cut up each ingredient, throw it in your bowl! Remove romaine from the stem and slice it thin across the wider side. Slice up the cucumber (see tip below). Slice up the cabbage. Cut the cabbage in half, and then in half again, cut out the core, lay the cabbage on its side on your cutting board and cut with the grain in thin strips. Shred the carrots. Slice the green onions thinly, the whole thing. Cut up your pineapple into small chunks. Add the peanuts.
By now your chicken breast should be cooled off a bit. Chop it up and throw it in your bowl! Season with a pinch of salt and some ground pepper. Give everything a good toss. Add your dressing once everyone has served themselves, this way you can use the extras for lunch without it getting soggy.
Fancy Cucumber TIP:
1. Cut the ends of the cucumber, now cut it into 3 equal parts and stand them up so the flat seedy part meets the cutting board
2. Take your knife and cut vertically toward the cutting board, making thin cuts (see pic below)
3. You should be left with some thin but wide strips, lay them down on the cutting board and cut from dark green end to dark green end, you want these to be pretty uniform