I used to despise making salads. I mean, I absolutely abhorred the thought of making a salad to accompany a meal.
Growing up, your salad was the part of the meal, that you “had to eat before you started the rest of your meal”. It was bland, it was simple, and nothing to ‘write home about’. There are meals for me that bring back such fond memories, meats and side dishes, too. But not salads. Salads lacked such creativity in my opinion. I could always play with flavor when I am in the kitchen, but salads to me were a one-note, until now.
I recently challenged myself to look up all of the delicious salad creations that I could find (and re-create), much like the ones that you’d find on the menu at your favorite restaurant. I know that I’ve had some salads with layers of flavor, a myriad of colors & textures, and a toss up of different meats, fun fruits, and happy legumes.
When I found this recipe for a delicious salad, all of the layers of textures and flavor caught my eye. I like complexity & creativity. I like taking a bite and being able to guess or at least try to find out, “What is that?!” Now, that’s my type of salad. That’s my kind of recipe. And that is the type of salad recipe that I am sharing with you today. I am a bonified sweets girl. Hands down. You don’t need to know me for long before you can figure that out. But this salad? This salad, had me pushing my dessert plate aside and grabbing the salad tongs for seconds.
Thai Peanut Grilled Chicken Salad
2 cups of mixed lettuce greens
1 cup of tri-color coleslaw mix (or 3/4 cup of coleslaw mix and 1/2 of a small red onion, sliced)
1/4 cup of candied ginger sliced
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp of green scallions, chopped (3 tbsp reserved for garnish)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts or pecans
2 large marinated and grilled chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped garlic cloves
2 tbsp dried cilantro
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
(To make marinade, add all items to a food processor with the blade attachment and pulse for 2-3 minutes, until coarsely blended).
Marinate two large chicken breasts inside of a ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Before removing from bag, pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until 1/2 inch in thickness.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a hot cast iron skillet, and sear chicken breasts for 10 mins on each side, or until completely done and juices run clear.
Remove chicken from pan and allow it to cool.
Prepare your salad:
To a large serving bowl add mixed greens. Next, add by layering, your sliced red onion (if using it), candied ginger, coleslaw mix, 1/2 cup of chopped green scallions, & cooled chicken breast.
Pour over thai peanut dressing once ready to serve and garnish with remaining chopped scallions & chopped nuts. Enjoy!