Dinner
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Chinatown Chicken Salad

Today’s recipe was inspired by a local cafe in my hometown that unfortunately closed a few years ago. It was called the California Cafe and my family and I used to go for lunch and have this salad with amazing right out of the oven hot rolls–I can still taste it now! I created this recipe and make it whenever I’m craving California Cafe and want a taste of “home”. 

The recipe is meant to be a base for you which you can customize for yourself. You can make it vegetarian and add tofu or more nuts, substitute the chicken for shrimp, fish or beef, substitute or add veggies or make it gluten-free without the chow mein noodles. I also searched online and found a few gluten-free chow mein noodles options. (Here and Here).  

I like using Napa cabbage over green or red cabbage because the leaves are a bit more tender and it has a milder taste. I also find the other cabbage leaves are a bit waxy so I think dressing sticks to the Napa cabbage better than the other cabbages.

Salad Ingredients:

  • Small Napa Cabbage 
  • 1/2 Bag Arugula (or other lettuce of choice; I also like using butter lettuce)
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Carrots
  • 1/2 – 1 Bell Pepper (I like to use Yellow or Red for a pop of color)
  • 2 Scallions
  • A generous handful of fresh Snow Peas
  • 2 Cups Shredded Rotisserie or Large Chunks of Chicken (or protein of choice)
  • 3/4 Cups Chow Mein Noodles
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 Small Can (about 11 ounces) Mandarin Oranges, drained
  • 2 TBSP Toasted Sesame Seeds

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP Honey
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Freshly Squeezed Lemon or Orange Juice
  • 1 TBSP Dijon Mustard
  • A pinch of Salt & Pepper

Instructions:

  • Peel off a few of the outer leaves to discard any discolored or bruised leaves.
  • Slice in half long way, place cut side down, cut the stem off (about an inch of the bottom), then chop cabbage in about an inch to an inch 1/2 thick strips.
  • Place strips in the bowl you’ll be using to make the salad and slice the second half. (You don’t have to cut the entire cabbage, depending on how many you will be serving and how large the cabbage is).
  • Open and dump 1/2 bag of arugula (or other lettuce you are using) into the bowl.
  • Add carrots to the bowl.
  • Remove top and bottom of bell pepper (about an inch on top and half an inch on bottom). You’re removing just enough to make the pepper into an even rectangle or square after the next step. 
  • Slice in half and place the pepper skin side down and run your knife close to the pepper but under the white part and seeds–be careful of your fingers! Or if you aren’t comfortable with this method, you can stand the pepper up and run the knife down to the board, removing the white part and seeds on the way.
  • Julienne the pepper, which means cut it in skinny strips.
  • Add as much pepper to the bowl as you want.
  • Next up, the scallions. There is a skin on the outside of the scallion that is a bit slippery. Remove it by simply peeling it off.
  • Now, remove the top layer of the scallion by gently slicing—the goal is to just cut through the top layer. Peel the scallion back and discard.
  • Using kitchen shears, cut the root off of the scallion and discard. Then, cut the scallion in 1/8 inch disks over the salad bowl. I cut mine until there is about 3-4 inches of the greens left. 
  • For the snow peas, there is a fibrous string along the top that needs to be removed before cutting the peas. There are a few ways to tip or remove:
    • Dig your nail into the string and peel back.
    • Slice the top of the pea at an angle with kitchen shears and then peel the string back.
    • Cut the string with a pairing knife and peel back. 
  • Repeat with all peas and place on cutting board.
  • Cut peas at an angle 1-2 times so all pieces are about the same size and add to bowl.
  • If you haven’t already, shred chicken or chop protein into large chunks and set aside.
  • Add the sesame seeds and 3/4s of the noodles, almonds and oranges to the bowl.
  • Add all dressing ingredients to a jar with a lid or Pyrex measuring cup and shake or whisk.
  • Pour 1/2 of the dressing over salad and toss until veggies are evenly coated. You can add more dressing if you want, but make sure your greens aren’t swimming in dressing. 
  • Plate salad, top with protein and garnish with remaining noodles, almonds and oranges.

Chinatown Chicken Salad

Prep Time 20 mins
Course Salad
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

Salad Ingredients

  • Small Napa Cabbage 
  • 1/2 bag Arugula (or other lettuce of choice
  • 3/4 Cup Cup Shredded Carrots
  • 1/2 - 1 Bell Pepper
  • 2 Scallions
  • A generous handful of fresh Snow Peas
  • 2 Cups Shredded Rotisserie or Large Chunks of Chicken (or protein of choice)
  • 3/4 Cup Chow Mein Noodles
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 Small Can (about 11 ounces) Mandarin Oranges, drained
  • 2 TBSP Toasted Sesame Seeds

Dressing Ingredients

  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP Honey
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Freshly Squeezed Lemon or Orange Juice
  • 1 TBSP Dijon Mustard
  • A pinch of Salt & Pepper

Instructions
 

  • Peel off a few of the outer leaves to discard any discolored or bruised leaves. 
  • Slice in half long way, place cut side down, cut the stem off (about an inch of the bottom), then chop cabbage in about an inch to an inch 1/2 thick strips.
  • Place strips in the bowl you’ll be using to make the salad and slice the second half. (You don't have to cut the entire cabbage, depending on how many you will be serving and how large the cabbage is).
  • Open and dump 1/2 bag of arugula (or other lettuce you are using) into the bowl.
  • Add carrots to the bowl.
  • Remove top and bottom of bell pepper (about an inch on top and half an inch on bottom). You're removing just enough to make the pepper into an even rectangle or square after the next step. 
  • Slice in half and place the pepper skin side down and run your knife close to the pepper but under the white part and seeds--be careful of your fingers! Or if you aren't comfortable with this method, you can stand the pepper up and run the knife down to the board, removing the white part and seeds on the way.
  • Julienne the pepper, which means cut it in skinny strips.
  • Add as much pepper to the bowl as you want.
  • There is a skin on the outside of the scallion that is a bit slippery. Remove it by simply peeling it off.
  • Now, remove the top layer of the scallion by gently slicing—the goal is to just cut through the top layer. Peel the scallion back and discard.
  • Using kitchen shears, cut the root off of the scallion and discard. Then, cut the scallion in 1/8 inch disks over the salad bowl. I cut mine until there is about 3-4 inches of the greens left. 
  • For the snow peas, there is a fibrous string along the top that needs to be removed before cutting the peas. There are a few ways to tip or remove. 1. Dig your nail into the string and peel back. 2. Slice the top of the pea at an angle with kitchen shears and then peel the string back. 3. Cut the string with a pairing knife and peel back. Repeat with all peas and place on cutting board.
  • Cut peas at an angle 1-2 times so all pieces are about the same size and add to bowl.
  • If you haven't already, shred chicken or chop protein into large chunks and set aside.
  • Add the sesame seeds and 3/4s of the noodles, almonds and oranges to the bowl.
  • Add all dressing ingredients to a jar with a lid or Pyrex measuring cup and shake or whisk.
  • Pour 1/2 of the dressing over salad and toss until veggies are evenly coated. You can add more dressing if you want, but make sure your greens aren't swimming in dressing. 
  • Plate salad, top with protein and garnish with remaining noodles, almonds and oranges.

Stay hungry…

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