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California-Inspired Asian Chicken Salad

Whilst out in San Francisco and the Bay area, I was struck by how brilliant their salads taste. I quickly found myself seeking out Cobb Salads (the mightily unhealthy salad with blue cheese, bacon, avocado, tomato and ranch dressing) across restaurants, as well as trying other salad combinations when eating out.

This recipe was inspired by two particular salads I ate on my most recent trip to Marin County. They both used a variety of fresh, bright and nutritious ingredients, as well as having killer dressings. The first was Comforts' famous Chinese Chicken Salad. Comforts have created a unique dressing, and although they sell a version of it in Californian supermarkets, there is a magic ingredient that is definitely missing from the shop bought version! However, I also really liked the peanut dressing used by Rustic Bakery on their Asian Chicken Salad, providing me with inspiration for my own variation.

 

Asian Chicken Salad

Serves 2

 

Salad ingredients:

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, finely sliced (I used leftover chicken from a roast)
  • 1/2 Iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 Red pepper, finely sliced
  • 1/2 Mango, cubed and then sliced
  • A large handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • A large handful of fresh mint, finely chopped

Peanut dressing ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce (use Tamari Soy Sauce for gluten-free alternative)
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 45g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, but high quality - I used Whole Earth)
  • 1/2 lime (juice only)
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp runny honey

 

Method:

  1. Prep all the salad ingredients, excluding the coriander and mint. (You want to chop the herbs last minute to keep them fresh). Place the chicken, lettuce, spring onions, red pepper and mango in a large mixing bowl/salad bowl.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients together in a small blender, or just by using a fork in a small jug. (You may need to add a little more olive oil or honey to taste - This depends on what peanut butter you have used as some are more oily/sugary than others).
  3. Toss the salad in the dressing and garnish with the chopped coriander and mint before serving.

 

Cook's Note: This can easily be made into a vegetarian/pescatarian dish by substituting the chicken for beansprouts/mungbeans, runner beans or crayfish. 

For a bit more crunch, add some of Rustic Bakery's deliciously crisp Flatbread, extra sesame seeds or chopped peanuts.

 

 

Photography credit to Rustic Bakery.

 

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