Sesame Chicken Salad

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Today was a beautiful hot sunny day, just the way we like in the Okanagan.  The idea of a Thai inspired chicken salad felt like the ideal dinner item – fresh, crunchy, tasty and not too heavy.  You could just as easily substitute the chicken with tofu or any seafood item – delicious either way.

 

4 chicken breasts

12 ounces chinese egg noodles, cooked and drained

3/4 cup green tea (strong is best)

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

3 tbsp light brown sugar

1/4 cup roasted peanut oil

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (plus some for sprinkling over top)

2 tbsp chili garlic sauce

2 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce

1 heaping TBSP Thai red chili paste

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 -2 tbsp minced ginger (depending on your ginger love!)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 long english cucumber, diced

1 cup sliced snap peas

1/4 cup each finely chopped red and yellow pepper

1 cup bean sprouts

1 head red lettuce, washed and leaves torn

kosher salt

cilantro

roasted peanuts

toasted sesame seeds

1 jalapeno seeded and diced finely (optional) To make the sauce combine green tea, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, Thai sweet chili sauce, Thai red curry paste and peanut oil in a blender or food processor.  Add sesame seeds, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and 1/2 tsp kosher salt – blend well until creamy and smooth.  TASTE and adjust for seasoning – you should have lots of flavour, but also really well balanced – I find depending on the type of soy sauce, chili sauce or even the lime you will have to work with those flavours.

Using a meat mallet pound chicken breasts to an even thickness.  Pour just enough of the dressing over to coat well and marinate for at least an hour and preferably overnight.  Discard marinade used for the chicken.  Grill just until cooked through and thinly slice.

Prepare salad with lettuce, cilantro and vegetables – as well as the diced jalapeno if using.

Cook noodles just until tender, rinse well to cool and dress with a bit of the same dressing the chicken is marinating in.

Toast peanuts and sesame seeds to use as garnish.

To assemble pile noodles on a plate, salad on top – scatter chicken over and drizzle with dressing.  Garnish with more cilantro, peanuts and sesame seeds. 

Quinoa Feta Salad

Quinoa

This one is for you Shae – hope you have fun making it!  xo

1/2 cup white quinoa

You can use either all white or red quinoa, but I love the look of the combination!

1/2 cup red quinoa

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups water (or chicken stock if you are so inclined!)

Rinse quinoa well, then combine all ingredients in pot – bring to a boil with the lid off, then turn down to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes undisturbed.  Remove lid, fluff with a fork, and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes to allow some of the steam to release.

Set aside to cool slightly.

1/2 cup feta, broken or cut into little pieces

1/2 cup colored peppers, diced

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, minced

1/3 cup black olives, sliced

1/4 cup red onion, finely diced

generous amount of fresh basil, chopped

optional:  1 cob of corn – kernels removed

I only use the corn when it is in season, and a great way to use up that extra cob you cooked!  If corn is in season … then tomatoes are too so use fresh garden tomatoes, chopped up in place of the sun dried tomatoes.

DRESSING

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp dry mustard powder

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2-2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Combine dressing ingredients, blend well and set aside

Combine the prepared vegetables with the cooked quinoa.  The flavours really come together well if you do this when the quinoa is still slightly warm.  Pour enough dressing over to coat, and give it a good toss.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Always remember to keep tasting – sometimes just that little extra bit of salt and pepper make the difference you are looking for.

Looking for a full meal deal?  Add some cubed extra firm tofu and black beans – you will have such a delicious satisfying dinner in one bowl.