Chopped thai chicken salad

I spent this past weekend in Las Vegas, for my best friend’s birthday bash. It was out-of-this-world hot (averaging temperatures between 105-115°F), and I ate way too much at the buffet. The endless crab legs at Bacchanal get me every time. Mmm, actually thinking about it makes me want more.

Vegas takes a lot out of you, as always, so it’s been nice being at home taking time to relax and recover. It’s hot here, too. This has definitely been one of the warmer summers.

I told myself I wanted to go vegetarian for a while after coming back from Vegas, both for health reasons and just to see how long I could hold out (knowing me, probably not long). So a light, refreshing salad sounded like a good idea today.

I decided to make a thai-style salad. And then I thought – man, chicken would make this salad an infinite times more tasty. Hence the chicken. My vegetarian challenge shall wait until another day. I’m a sucker.

This salad hit the spot. Perfect for a hot summer day when you want the flavor, sans the heaviness.

Ingredients
Salad
1 chicken breast
1 head of white or green cabbage
1 large carrot, washed and peeled
1 green papaya, peeled and seeds removed
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup green onion
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup peanuts, roasted and salted
1 lime
Small sprig of basil (about 7-8 leaves)

Dressing
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp red pepper chili flakes
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp coconut milk (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add in the chicken breast and cook for 20 minutes until tender and cooked all the way through. *Tip: To infuse the chicken with more flavor, cut a little bit of the green onions and carrot and throw it into the broth while the chicken cooks.

Chopped thai chicken salad

 

2. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rest of the salad components. Chop the cabbage into thin strips. Roughly chop the green onion, cilantro, and basil. Grate the carrot and the green papaya. Throw all of this into a large mixing bowl (cabbage, carrot, papaya, green onion, cilantro, basil, bean sprouts).

Chopped thai chicken salad

Chopped thai chicken salad

 

3. When the chicken is done, remove it from the pot and let it cool completely. Cut the chicken in half to make sure it’s cooked all the way through (meat should be opaque throughout in color). Then, using either your hands or two forks, break up the chicken into small shreds.

4. Now, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the minced garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper chili flakes, brown sugar, honey, fish sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, and water. Plus the optional coconut milk, if desired.

Chopped thai chicken salad

Chopped thai chicken salad

 

5. Put the vegetables, chicken, and dressing into the fridge (in separate bowls) for 10-20 minutes, until completely cool.

6. While everything is cooling, crush the peanuts. *Tip: I find the easiest way to do this is to put the peanuts in a ziplock bag, and lightly crush with something heavy! (i.e. heavy cup, meat tenderizer, etc.)

7. Finally, you can assemble the salad! In a small mixing bowl, toss together the salad, chicken, and the dressing. Top off with the crushed peanuts and freshly squeezed lime juice, and serve immediately while still cool!

Chopped thai chicken salad

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