Asian Chicken Chopped Salad

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Coming home from vacation is always hard, but it’s even harder when that vacation is centered around delicious food, as Alaskan cruises almost always are. This past week I’ve been missing my daily breakfast buffet, the mid-day tea and cupcake social, and the calorie laden 3-course meals that I became accustomed to on the ship. My waistline, on the other hand, is not. After a couple depressing attempts to fit into my summer clothes, I decided that it was time to undo all those lovely inches that I brought back with me from my trip. But how do you go from stuffing your face morning, noon, and night to eating like a rabbit and being happy about it? The trick is it to load up on lean protein and fiber-packed foods that will help fill you up quicker, and keep you fuller longer. Which is why I’ve been living off of my homemade chopped salad for the last few days. And you know what? I actually don’t mind. These healthy meals are bursting with flavor, completely satisfying, and – get this – under 300 calories! Woohoo! Oh, and here’s one more great thing about this salad; you can change up the protein, the dressing, and pick whatever “mix ins” you like to put your own flair on it — just double the chopped salad base recipe, store it in the fridge, and you’ll be able to serve a variation of this meal a couple times a week without getting bored. Not feeling inspired enough to create your own flavor combination? That’s okay, check back later this week for my Southwest Steak Chopped Salad recipe. (To make a vegetarian version of this salad, see VEGETARIAN MODIFICATION at the end of this post.)

CHOPPED SALAD BASE

  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 4 cups prepackaged broccoli slaw
  • 3 cups mixed salad greens, roughly chopped
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts

Thoroughly wash and dry kale, mixed greens, and Brussels sprouts.

With a sharp knife, remove the center stem from kale and roughly chop. Place in a large salad bowl.IMG_8399

Finely chop the scallions and add them to the salad bowl along with the broccoli slaw and chopped mixed greens.IMG_8402

Cut the stems off the Brussels sprouts and thinly slices, then cut slices a couple times in the opposite direction until leaves are roughly chopped. Place in salad bowl.IMG_8404

With your hands or a pair of salad tongs, mix salad until combined.IMG_8409

Either dress salad and serve immediately, or store in a resealable freezer bag in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.IMG_8412

Asian Chicken Chopped Salad

Serves 4-6

FOR THE CHICKEN

  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking

MIX INS

  •  1 -15 oz. can of Mandarin oranges, drained
  • ½ cup wonton strips*

*Wonton strips can be found in most supermarkets, either in the produce section or the salad dressing aisle (usually next to the croutons), or sometimes in the Asian aisle. If you can’t find them, ask a store employee because these yummy, little treasures add a satisfying crunch that you don’t want to miss.

SESAME ORANGE DRESSING

  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp agave syrup (or honey)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ tsp poppy seeds
  • ½ tsp corn starch
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

PREPARE CHICKEN

Prick chicken breasts all over with a fork and place in a resealable freezer bag. Add all remaining marinade ingredients to bag and seal, removing as much air as possible. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

When chicken is done marinating, remove from bag and shake off excess marinade, discard marinade. Using a paper towel, pat chicken dry, then brush both sides with olive oil. Prepare outdoor grill for medium-high heat, or a skillet on the stovetop for medium heat. Cook chicken for 7 minutes a side or until internal temperature reads 165°F. Transfer to a plate and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

PREPARE SALAD DRESSING

Vigorously whisk all ingredients together in a tall liquid measuring cup.

Dressing should be covered and can be stored at room temperature for 4-6 hours, or up to 3 days in the refrigerator, then brought to room temperature before serving. Give the dressing one quick whisk before pouring over salad.

ASSEMBLE THE SALAD

Pour dressing over salad greens and toss to combine. Add Mandarin oranges and toss one more time. Divide greens among 4-6 separate dinner plates, then top each salad with a sliced chicken breast and a sprinkle of wonton strips. Season with fresh cracked black pepper.IMG_8432

Sidekick: Serve with chilled sake or a glass of citrusy Gewürztraminer.

VEGETARIAN MODIFICATION

Replace chicken with 12 oz. of extra firm or hard tofu. Remove tofu from package, drain, and set on a paper towel lined plate. Place a couple more paper towel sheets over the tofu, then a second plate on top of that, weighted down by 1 or 2 cans from your pantry. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to drain out excess liquid. Place tofu in a resealable freezer bag, then pour marinade ingredient (listed below) into bag and seal, removing as much air as possible. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Sauté in a heavy skillet with a little bit of olive oil until both sides becomes crispy and dark. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into small strips. Proceed with the rest of the instructions on how to make the dressing and assemble the salad.

MARINADE

  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
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One thought on “Asian Chicken Chopped Salad

  1. Pingback: Southwest Steak Chopped Salad with Chipotle-Lime Ranch Dressing | soup bowl recipes

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