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This recipe was part of the Food Fight: Chicken Breast Challenge which ended May 2, 2008 05:00 PM.
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Asian Spring Chicken Salad Recipe

Difficulty: Easy | Active Time: | Makes: Serves 4 as a main course; 6 as a starter salad

I made this up about 5 years ago to use up some leftover baked chicken, and now it’s one of our favorite spring-time meals. It’s light, refreshing, and totally satisfying. I usually make this on Saturday or Sunday morning, if we’re planning to be out in the yard all day, doing Spring prep, planting, or cleanup. Too tired to cook by the end of the day, so I just bring this out of the fridge and dish it into salad bowls. Cold, crunchy, savory, and full of replenishing protein!

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or cubed
  • 2 stalks celery, rinsed, sliced in ¼- to ½-inch slices (not too thin; you want crunch here)
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained. (Or whole, and slice them yourself)
  • 1 small head Napa cabbage, rinsed thoroughly and chopped cross-wise across the rib
  • 1 cup Tamari almonds, chopped very coarsely, not fine.
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2/3 canola oil
  • soy sauce (to taste; see instructions)
  • wasabi paste (to taste; see instructions)
  • sesame oil
  • chow mein noodles, for garnish and >crunch<
  • toasted sesame seeds
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Make the dressing:
    —In a small bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup canola oil with 1/3 cup rice vinegar.
    —Add about 1 or 2 T soy sauce (or to taste) and a small amount of wasabi paste (½ to 1 tsp or more, to taste). Whisk dressing again until well blended.
    —Refrigerate dressing while making the salad.
  2. Make the salad:
    —Put chicken, celery, water chestnuts, almonds, and Napa cabbage in a large salad bowl.
    —Whisk dressing one last time, pour overtop of the salad, and toss gently. (You don’t want to break up the chicken too much.)
    —Drizzle a little sesame oil on top and toss again.
    —Refrigerate for a few hours until very cold.
  3. Serve the salad:
    —When ready to serve, place in individual serving dishes (bowls, salad plates), and garnish with chow mein noodles and/or toasted sesame seeds.
    —Serve with cold quartered sweet oranges on the side.
  4. You might want to adapt this to your own taste—more or less oil or vinegar, more or less soy sauce or wasabi. You can also omit the chopped almonds. Avoid using olive oil in this; it’s too heavy. Canola oil or simple vegetable oil is fine.

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