This recipe from my friend Joey Altman is better than any Chinese Chicken Salad I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant. To turn this into a weeknight meal, cut a few corners by using meat from a store-bought roasted chicken and buying store bought peanut dressing. (If you have time though, it’s actually really easy to make, as most of the ingredients get thrown in a blender.)
To save even more time on weeknights, I make the dressing in the morning, throw all of the salad ingredients into a salad bowl, and then keep everything in the fridge. Then when I come home, I add the peanuts and the dressing, and dinner is served.
Ingredients for the Dressing
1/4 cup sesame oil, dark (toasted)
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp peanut butter (natural style)
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp shallot, finely minced
1 tsp sambal oelek or red chili paste (optional)
freshly ground pepper
Ingredients for the Chicken Salad
1 head Napa cabbage
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 green onions (scallions), sliced
2 cups shredded chicken
Combine the sesame and peanut oils, vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, peanut butter, the 1 tablespoon grated ginger, the garlic, shallots, sambal oelek, and ½ teaspoon salt in a blender. Blend, then add pepper and additional salt to taste. Set the dressing aside. (To make ahead, cover and refrigerate the dressing for up to 24 hours.)
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and cut off and discard about 1 inch at the bottom. Remove and discard the core. Rinse the leaves and spin dry, then cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, then crosswise into slices 1/8 to ¼ inch thick.
Just before serving, put the cabbage in a large salad bowl along with the peanuts, sesame seeds, cilantro, the sliced scallions, and the shredded chicken. Pour about two thirds of the dressing over the salad and toss gently, adding dressing as needed to lightly coat everything. Mound the salad on dinner plates to serve.
Recipe adapted from Joey Altman’s Without Reservations.
Amanda Haas is a cookbook author and founder of the website One Family One Meal, which provides free recipes, menu plans, and shopping lists to parents who want to cook healthy meals their entire family will love. Her recipes and kitchen wisdom are currently also being showcased by Pottery Barn Kids. Cooking in Everyday English, her latest cookbook writing project, will be released in October of 2011 (pre-order at Amazon).
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.