Sesame-Ginger Chicken Salad

I didn’t think that my dinner last night would turn out all that special. It wasn’t planned out or really given much thought. I had a few not-so-healthy meals over the weekend and knew I had to make something healthy, so I decided a salad was in order.

I don’t like whimpy salads that are flavorless or leave me hungry, so I filled it with poached chicken and a sweet-spicy dressing. It turned out SO good!

Since this was going to be our entire dinner, I didn’t want to be hungry again in 30 minutes and raiding the cupboards for food. I intentionally made this a chunky, hearty salad — a nearly 50/50 mix of greens to lean protein. As Rachael Ray might say, “it’s the cross between a salad and a stew, it’s a Stalad!”. Ahhhh, anyway ….

I’ve captured the basic proportions used to make this meal — please note that I whipped this together without actually measuring anything. I never thought that it would be interesting enough to post on my blog, but I fell in love with it and am now scrambling to remember what I put into it ;-)

Sesame Dressing
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 green onion chopped, white part only (toss green part in salad)
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp reduced fat peanut butter
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

I placed all of the ingredients into a container, then blended using my stick blender. In 30 seconds, it’s blended and beautiful. Add 1 tablespoon of the honey to start, then taste once it’s blended. Add more as needed to reach your sweetness level. I wanted it sweet and spicy, so adjusted the amount of honey and red pepper after I blended it.

Salad
1/2 cup sweet onion, sliced paper thin
2 poached chicken breasts, cooled to room temp
1/4 cup sweet pickled ginger
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 head lettuce, washed and chopped
1 green onion chopped, green part only

As you prepare the salad ingredients, drop them into a large bowl. I used a vidalia onion which is super sweet. I sliced it thinly and added to my bowl. Next, I sliced the chicken into thin 1/8″ slices and dropped into my bowl.

The pickled ginger is the type which you get with your sushi. I had a package in my fridge and I occasionally snack on it, but didn’t know what else to do with it. I ran my knife over it to lightly chop it then added to the bowl — you can save a few pieces out for garnishing. In order to not be wasteful, I also added the chopped green bits from the green onion.

At this point, I didn’t want my chicken to dry out so I coated the mix with about half of the dressing. Give it a good toss so that all of the chicken and other ingredients are nicely coated.

Before serving, add the lettuce and lightly chopped cilantro. Drizzle with remaining dressing and toss to coat. Garnish with bits of pickled ginger and serve.

I enjoyed this salad so much that I kept the leftovers. Normally, I don’t keep leftover salad as it gets all wilty and isn’t as good the next day. Well, I had the leftovers for lunch today and the lettuce held up well. It tasted even better than last night … but then again, everything tastes good when it’s served in a Winnie the Pooh bowl :-)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Manggy July 2, 2008, 8:02 pm

    Ah, you’re on kind-of a sugar high! Great recipe. When you add peanut butter a salad dressing there’s always a little magic to be expected :) Just… Hold the cilantro on mine. Ha ha ha.
    You beat me to the comment on Winnie the Pooh! Well then, I’ll just comment on your insatiable love for Rachael Ray. Just kidding :)

  • Peter M July 2, 2008, 8:51 pm

    Allen, where ya been man? I like yur use of pickled ginger here…that’ll pep up the salad.

  • Allen July 2, 2008, 11:18 pm

    Mark: Is using my winnie the pooh bowl tacky? I’ve held back on using it until now :-)

    Peter M: I wish I could say I’ve been on vacation! But, I’m enjoying summer and spending a little less time writing/photographing food … but I’m still eating and cooking like crazy :-)

  • Peter G July 3, 2008, 6:48 am

    I love the use of the pickled ginger here Allen…nice to see you back!

  • Fearless Kitchen July 3, 2008, 8:57 am

    This is really interesting, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen peanut butter in a salad dressing before. It looks like a great, filling salad with plenty of protein to keep you from getting hungry again later.

  • farida July 3, 2008, 4:38 pm

    Great to have you and your delicious recipe back, Allen!

    I like hearty salads too:) This one looks so delicious! And wow, what a creative dressing. Sounds really delicious.

  • kat July 3, 2008, 4:58 pm

    Oh that salad sounds so delicious!

  • Christie @ fig & cherry July 4, 2008, 8:28 pm

    I am MAD about pickled ginger in salads! Great addition. I love it when you take a big forkful and you don’t realise there’s some ginger and then – bam – a zesty mouthful. Yum!

    Bookmarked!

  • Ben July 5, 2008, 12:26 pm

    A stalad? Haha *me rolls eyes* It looks really good though, very hearty and healthy, that’s my kind of salad.

  • Astra Libris July 8, 2008, 6:46 am

    Ooooh, I love sesame dressings, and yours sounds divine! The winnie the pooh bowl made my day… :-) It’s gorgeous! Where did you find the winnie bowls??

  • ces July 8, 2008, 10:36 pm

    sesame dressing and ginger! sounds like a perfect duet!

  • aforkfulofspaghetti July 11, 2008, 5:10 am

    Mmmm… looks and sounds good. Well, anything with peanut butter in does, but this does especially so!

  • Julie July 14, 2008, 4:15 pm

    That looks great! I’ll have to try it sometime.

  • Julie July 14, 2008, 4:16 pm

    That looks great.

  • White On Rice Couple July 16, 2008, 12:30 am

    I’m really loving all your Asian inspired dishes, like this one. Your photography is so crisp and polished too, it makes the dish even more drool worthy.

    This is one of those salads that should be memorized. It really looks great and satisfying!

  • Coffee & Vanilla July 17, 2008, 3:03 pm

    I love this salad… and I have some marinated ginger in the fridge to try it very soon :)
    Thank you for your message on SU.
    Margot

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