I bet you couldn’t guess… but, one of my hobbies is taste-testing dishes at restaurants and then coming home and “making it my own”. This involves guessing ingredients including seasonings, oils, spices, etc…
I remember the day I tasted Panera’s chinese chicken salad. Two or three bites into the salad, I remember thinking to myself “oh, you’ve GOT to figure this one out!” This has become a favorite for lunches at work … and it’s so easy!
I dismantled that salad… in tiny little bites. One at a time, I turned over leaves of lettuce and cabbage and unveiled another ingredient… and then another…
And by golly… I’m pretty sure I’ve got as close as I’m going to get. (And since they won’t sell me their salad dressing I may never know much more…) So, take note…
I found Soy Vay’s dressing & marinade (find it in the regular salad dressing section)… and I’ve tried others, this IS the best. Then you want cabbage, romaine lettuce, cilantro, green onions, toasted almond slices and garlic/ginger wonton strips… oh, and don’t forget the marinated chicken!
I start by boiling some chicken tenders, allowing them to cool (but only slightly), chopping them into bite size pieces, plopping them into a sealable bag… and then topping with about 1/4 cup dressing…
Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it up… and roll the chicken around in the dressing. Tip: taking these steps when the chicken is still warm will help the marinade to soak in a bit more to the chicken.
Then I start chopping my greens. And since the cabbage leaves are so tightly packed together, you really don’t need a lot.
Then I move along to the romaine lettuce… first I start by tearing off a few spears and laying on top of each other. Then the white ends get chopped off.
With the spears layered on top of each other, I slice them from one end to the other (to make about 3 or 4 strips). From there it’s easy to cut into smaller pieces, bite size pieces.
When I make this for lunches, I put all the goods right into a container for the fridge. Then it’s easy to transport to the office. Notice, there is approximately a 50/50 ratio on cabbage and lettuce.
Next: green onions… pretty, aren’t they?!
Moving right along… chop off their heads. And then their tails…
Line ’em up and keep chopping… still pretty, huh?! (I love green onions almost as much I love garlic!)
In the bowl they go with the greens…
Next? Cilantro. ((I love cilantro and green onions almost as much I love garlic!)
Again, in the bowl… join the party, why don’t you! And we’re almost done…
Then I package everything up… and set it at the front of the refrigerator shelf, so I don’t forget it in the morning.
And then once I get to work, I usually end up sharing it with either Betty or Felicia… ‘cuz they’re holding my Soy Vay dressing hostage! But it’s worth it… it’s SOOOOO worth it…
RECIPE: Chinese Chicken Salad
Inspired by Panera, with Lori’s adjustments
Sliced almonds, slightly toasted
Salad topper like “garlic ginger” flavored wontons
Soy Vay dressing
chicken tenders/breast meat, boneless/skinless
I don’t use measurements on this salad. How much salad I make usually depends on how much chicken I’ve cooked.
Cook or boil chicken and marinated in Soy Vay dressing for at least an hour (in sealable bag, in the refrigerator).
Chop cabbage and lettuce, ratio about 50/50. Slice up several green onions and add to lettuce mix. Finely dice cilantro, stems and all… there’s so much flavor in the whole herb (unlike some other herbs that have very woody stems). Toss it in w/ the green onions and lettuce mix.
When ready to serve, layer on platter: lettuce mix, toasted almonds, salad topper, marinated chicken and dressing. Do not dress until ready to serve – dressing lettuce mix ahead of time will make it wilt.
enjoy your time in the kitcen…