I apologize for the delayed post this week. We've got a great excuse - we adopted a second dog! Head over to Team 52 Weeks if you'd like to meet her (and the rest of the crew!)
On to the salad! We can thank Saveur for this killer recipe, which I slightly modified for the mason jar. I hope you enjoy the peanutty, Asian-inspired dressing, loads of fresh, crunchy veggies, double-hit of protein, and crunchy, fried wonton strips to finish. Although this salad is far from traditional Chinese food, it is nothing if not delicious. Enjoy!
YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads
- 1/2 c canola oil
- 1/4 c rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp dry mustard
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp minced ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- additional canola oil, for frying
- 5 wonton wrappers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
- few pinches kosher salt
- 1 large carrot, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
- 2 cups sugar snap peas, halved if large
- 1 large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 large cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 c roughly chopped cilantro
- 1/2 head Napa cabbage, cored and shredded
- 2 hearts of romaine, shredded
- 1/2 c roasted peanuts
- Make the peanut dressing: combine the canola oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, peanut butter, sesame oil, lime juice, dry mustard, honey, toasted sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, and pepper in a pint-sized mason jar. Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender. (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients using a blender or mini food processor.)
- Marinade the chicken: reserve 1/2 c of dressing, and marinade the chicken thighs in the remaining dressing for 2 hours and up to overnight. Grill, broil, or roast the chicken. Cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces or shred.
- Make the fried wonton strips: head 1/2 inch of canola oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry the wonton strips, several at a time, until golden brown and crisp. Use tongs to transfer the strips to paper towels to drain and cool, and season lightly with kosher salt.
- Pack the salads: divide the remaining dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers. Layer the chicken, carrot, sugar snap peas, bell pepper, cucumber, sprouts, green onion, cilantro, cabbage, and romaine in the jars. Divide the peanuts and fried wonton strips evenly among four snack-sized zip-top bags. Refrigerate until serving.
- Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl. Top with wonton strips and peanuts.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use your favorite prepared peanut sauce for the homemade dressing. Use rotisserie chicken in place of the marinated, grilled chicken thighs. Substitute coleslaw mix with carrots for the carrot and Napa cabbage.
SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian salad, substitute 14 oz extra-firm tofu for the chicken. For a vegan salad, also substitute agave nectar for the honey in the dressing. For a gluten-free salad, substitute tamari for the soy sauce and corn tortilla strips for the wonton strips. For a nut-free salad, substitute sunflower seed butter or soy nut butter for the peanut butter in the dressing, and 1/4 c toasted sesame seeds for the roasted peanuts.
Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.