Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad

I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately, both for work and for fun, and with the warmer weather and eating out constantly while traveling, basically all I’ve wanted to eat while home is salads!  Most restaurants don’t serve enough vegetables, in my opinion, so I always crave all the vegetables upon returning home!

This salad has been a repeat offender, in the best possible way, over the past week!  It’s full of fresh, crunchy vegetables, easy to prepare boiled chicken, and the most flavorful and delicious Thai peanut dressing.  The dressing is inspired by a Thai peanut sauce that I’ve put over swoodles (sweet potato noodles) in the past.  It’s also partly inspired by one of my favorite noodle dishes (called Rainbow Peanut Noodles) at a local Thai fusion restaurant.  P.S. if you’re in the Kansas City area, I highly recommend you check out Lulu’s Thai Noodle House!  You really can’t go wrong with much on their menu, but I especially love the Rainbow Peanut Noodles, the Drunken Noodles, Pad Se Eu, or of course Pad Thai.

Anyways, back to this SALAD 🙂

It’s super easy to prepare and really allows for various combinations of vegetables to be tossed in to your liking!  I made this a second time using a slightly different mix of vegetables than the first based on what I had on hand and what I could easily find at the store, so like I said, if any of the vegetables listed below don’t appeal to you, feel free to mix it up!  Any vegetables found in Asian dishes could be tried with this – sugar snap or snow peas, cucumber, cauliflower, celery, even canned water chestnut!

The dressing is really the star here, and putting it all in a blender to mix makes it super easy.  I used fresh ginger and garlic but this could easily be made with dried or powdered garlic and ginger as well.  You’ll just need to reduce the amounts to probably around 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. to be equivalent to the amounts of fresh used in this recipe.  Since it’s a smaller amount, I’d recommend using a personal size blender or small food processor.  I’ve used Ninja brand blenders for several years with success.  And in my opinion, you really can’t beat the price.  Either of these models would work well for this recipe – blender, personal blender, and food processor combo or for less money, 2 sizes of personal blender cups combo.  Also, the heat level from the crushed red pepper can be modified or removed all together depending on your liking.

This makes quite a large amount of salad, but since all the vegetables are pretty hearty, they can hold up well to being saved for leftovers, even with the dressing on!  Below is a picture of it being mixed up in the biggest bowl I own :).

Thai Chicken Salad Bowl

This salad can easily be made Whole30 or Paleo as well if you follow those food plans.

So, give this recipe a shot and let me know how it goes!  I’d love to hear what kind of delicious veggie combos you come up with!

Thai Chicken Salad Side Shot

Ingredients:

Servings:  6            Time:  30 minutes

Dressing:

  1.  1/4 C coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  2.  2 T natural, no sugar added peanut butter (or almond butter for Whole30 or Paleo)
  3. 2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
  4. 2 T Olive Oil
  5. 1 t Sesame Oil
  6. 1 large clove garlic, peeled (or approximately 1/4-1/2 t powdered)
  7. 1 thumb-sized knob of ginger, peeled (or approximately 1/4-1/2 t powdered)
  8. 1 dried date, softened in 1-2 T warm water for a few minutes (or 1 t sweetener of choice)
  9. 1/8 t crushed red pepper to taste
  10.  Salt and pepper to taste (use less salt or omit if using soy sauce)
  11. Warm water as needed to thin (use the leftover water from the softened date)

Salad:

  1. 1 14-16oz bag coleslaw mix
  2. 1 14-16oz bag shredded purple cabbage
  3. 1 14-16oz bag broccoli slaw
  4. 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  5. 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  6. 1 orange, red, or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  7. 1/2 C slivered almonds
  8. 4 large chicken breasts, about 2-2.5 pounds, cooked and shredded
  9. Fresh cilantro and sesame seeds to top, optional

Instructions:

  1. Cook and shred chicken.  I use the method described in my Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe.
  2. While chicken cooks, throw all ingredients for the dressing into a blender and blend until smooth, adding small amounts of warm water as necessary to thin to typical dressing consistency.
  3. Chop bell pepper, radish, and green onion and mix with coleslaw, purple cabbage, and broccoli slaw in a large bowl.
  4. Dish up about 1/6 of the rainbow of vegetables mix, 1/6 of shredded chicken, and top with approximately 2 T of dressing, slivered almonds, cilantro and sesame seeds if desired.
  5. Enjoy!

Nutrition info:  383 tot cal, 14 g fat, 25 g carb, 42 g protein


Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Unless it’s summer and can fire up the grill, we don’t prepare steak at home that often.  On the rare occasions I decide to make steak indoors, I’ve discovered that the best way to do so is using a cast iron skillet.  The cast iron works perfectly to get that golden brown sear and can seamlessly transition into the oven to finish thicker cuts of meat up.

Recently I’ve been loving the ease of flank steak cooked on the cast iron.  Since it’s a thinner cut of meat, it cooks up quickly to that perfectly medium center with a beautifully browned sear on the outside.  No need to stick this cut in the oven to finish!  Additionally, it’s a leaner cut of steak, being lower in fat and higher in protein than some other cuts such as ribeye.

Additionally, sliced against the grain after cooking leaves it tender enough to skip marinating it.  Pair it with a flavor bomb sauce such as chimichurri, and you’ve got dinner ready in under 20 minutes!

sliced flank steak

For those that haven’t tried chimichurri, you’re in for a treat!  It’s basically a sauce made from fresh herbs, garlic, and vinegar.  There are many variations out there, with additional ingredients such as cheese (making it more like a pesto) or roasted onions.  I keep mine pretty simple and use a blender to bring it together quickly!  Adding this sauce is a quick way to add a ton of flavor to just about any meat dish!  Just look at that beautiful bright green sauce!  Yum!

zoomed in flank steak chimichurri salad

Pair it up with your favorite vegetable side dish or throw it on a salad for a quick and very flavorful meal!

Here, I’ve made a salad with some leftovers, which made it even more quick and easy!

flank steak chimichurri salad

Ingredients:

Servings:  4          Time:  15-20 minutes

For the steak-

  1. 1 lb flank steak
  2.  1 t coconut oil or neutral cooking oil
  3. Salt and pepper

Chimichurri sauce-

  1.  1 bunch cilantro
  2.   2 cloves garlic
  3.  1 small shallot
  4.   Juice of 1/2 lime
  5.  1 T olive oil
  6.  1 T red wine vinegar
  7.  Couple good shakes of crushed red pepper flakes or 1/2 T Chile Crunch Condiment
  8.  Salt and Pepper
  9.  Warm water to thin if necessary

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add a small amount of neutral oil or butter.  Salt and pepper both sides of the flank steak.  Add the steak to the heated skillet and allow to sear for approximately 5 minutes.  Once seared and cooked about 1/3 of the way through, flip and allow to cook another 5-7 minutes to desired doneness.  I like to leave it a nice medium rare in the middle.  Remove the skillet from heat and allow the steak to sit for awhile for juices to redistribute.
  2. Meanwhile, add all the ingredients of the chimichurri sauce to a small blender or food processor.  Blend until thoroughly combined.  Taste for seasoning and test for consistency and add salt, pepper, chile pepper, and water as necessary.
  3. Once steak has cooled a bit, cut against the grain into thin strips.  Top with chimichurri and serve with desired sides!
  4. On the pictured salad, I used spinach, lightly sauteed bell peppers and onions, some leftover quinoa, and some thawed, frozen roasted corn.  I also love serving it with arugula instead of spinach, as the peppery bite of arugula pairs very well with the bright and spicy chimichurri!

Nutrition info  (for steak and sauce):

230 total cal, 14 g fat, 3 g carb, 24 g protein