I recently made this delicious Chinese chicken salad for my book club luncheon and it was a real crowd pleaser. The original inspiration came from Ina Garten’s recipe but I have made some adjustments to the recipe and added some explanations to make it easier. The original recipe called for using 8 split breasts and served 12. I reduced the chicken, kept the same amount of vegetables, and I think it serves more like 16 and possibly even more. Of course it all depends on your serving size and whether you will have accompanying dishes. The recipe can be cut in half or even down to a third for a family of four. But don’t worry if you have left overs, the flavors are almost more delicious the next day.
- 10-12 cups of cooked shredded chicken (this is about 4 lbs of uncooked chicken breasts or about 6 chicken breast halves)
- 1 lb of asparagus, ends removed
- 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
- 4 scallions (white and green parts) sliced
- 2 Tbs toasted white sesame seeds (you can buy the seeds that are already toasted, or buy the regular ones and toast them in a non-stick skillet over the stove.
For the Dressing
- 1 cup canola oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup soy sauce (I prefer reduced sodium soy sauce)
- 3 Tbs sesame seed oil
- 1 – 2 Tbs honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp (about 1 inch) ginger, peeled and grated or minced
- 1 Tbs toasted white sesame seeds
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
I like to shred my chicken finely. This makes it easier for eating and allows for more of chicken to be coated in the dressing.
Bring water to a boil and blanch the asparagus. If the spears are thin then maybe cook them for 2 minutes if they are thicker try 3 minutes. You want them to retain some crispness. As soon as they are cooked put them in an ice bath (a bowl full of ice and cold water) and drain. This will stop the cooking process and help the asparagus retain its beautiful green color. Once the asparagus is cooked cut in thirds. In Asian cuisine, a lot of foods are cut on the diagonal, but if you just want a straight line that works as well. I cut my veggies on straight lines for this version of the salad. Now this is key, cut the red pepper to match the size of your asparagus spears as closely as you can. In a salad or a dish you want the different foods to be similar in sizes.
Combine the chicken, asparagus, and red pepper in a large bowl. Now it’s time to make the dressing. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the chicken/vegetable mix. Add the scallions and sesame seeds. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
This salad comes out looking very pretty with its bright vegetable colors. It can be served cold or at room temperature. I prefer room temperature. You can have the salad on a roll or accompany it with Asian noodles or couscous.