Asian Chicken Salad

A quick salad supper, so easy to make, my friend Ann calls it a 'supper saver'. The dressing is bright with cilantro, ginger, lime juice and soy sauce, a welcome departure from typical mayonnaise-heavy chicken salad recipes.

An easy supper salad for nights too hot to cook

Ya know? Some days it’s just too blasted hot to even think about turning on the stove. Or tending a hot grill. Yup, it’s July in the Midwest.

What’s a parent to do? Pack the kids in the car, turn the air on high and pull into a drive-through? Head for an air-conditioned restaurant? Now we’re talking! But wait! There’s an alternative that’s cheaper, faster, more healthful and far more delicious!

On the way home, make a quick stop at the grocery (supermarkets are air conditioned, right?) for a few items, head for home and dinner’ll be on the table in a matter of minutes.

ALANNA's TIPS Often, you can find sliced peppers in the salad bar, saving a step. Fresh mangoes can be tricky in the middle part of the country: I rely on the ones in jars from the refrigerator section. If your market carries a ready-made Asian dressing, use it to further simplify the meal’s preparation but do plan to add fresh-chopped cilantro and fresh-grated ginger. Feel free to “veg up” the chicken mixture with diced celery or carrot. It’ll add crunch along with bulk, helping to fill hungry bellies with fewer calories. Almost any fruit will do but fruit does contrast beautifully with the chicken and dressing mixture. Consider keeping a copy of the recipe (and other fast favorites) in the car so no ingredients are forgotten.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

QUICK SUPPER:
ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 4
    DRESSING
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 2 - 8 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil (see Later Notes)
    CHICKEN
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 6 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups sliced red, yellow and green peppers
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts (optional but nice crunch)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Spring greens or mixed lettuces
  • Mango slices, red grapes or banana chunks

DRESSING Whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.

CHICKEN Stir together chicken, spinach, peppers, bean sprouts and nuts. Stir in just enough dressing to lightly wet (I usually use about half the dressing). Season with salt and pepper.

TO SERVE Arrange spring greens on each serving plate, then mound with chicken mixture. Decoratively arrange fruit on the plate. Serve immediately.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE When made with 1/2 cup peanut oil, assumes using half the dressing and 1 mango, Per Serving: 403Cal; 45g Protein; 12g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 30g Carb; 6g Fiber; 912mg Sodium; 125mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 8 points
When made with 2 tablespoons peanut oil, assumes using half the dressing and 1 mango, Per Serving: 354Cal; 45g Protein; 9g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 18g Carb; 6g Fiber; 912mg Sodium; 125mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 7 points

LATER NOTES
When originally published, the dressing called for a full 8 tablespoons of peanut oil. These days, I cut the oil to just 2 tablespoons. That extra oil just isn't needed.
This is truly a satisfying salad, one of my very favorites because it's so full flavored and has such a balance of textures. It's also hearty - even men will leave the table feeling much satisfied.

More Salad Suppers for Summer

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Shrimp Salad Recipes Mango Chicken Salad Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

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I hear this calling to me.

5/15/2006
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna