Build Your Own!
As we’ve mentioned previously, we’re big fans of Rustic Bakery’s lattés, pastries, and lunches. For awhile there when we first discovered Rustic’s Asian Chicken Salad, we were so addicted we wanted to have it multiple times a week. There were many reasons why this just wasn’t the wisest move, so we attempted our own version using most of their ingredients and some Napa Cabbage we had on hand.
We still like to hit up Rustic every once in a while (we can’t seem to break our weekend latté & pastry habit), but now we’ve got our own Asian Chicken Salad that’s about as rich and satisfying (thanks, peanut dressing!) and feel-good healthy (raw cabbage – how much healthier can you get?) as the official version.
This is a versatile recipe; you could easily amp up the “health” factor by including a more diverse mix of vegetables (e.g., julienned cucumber, red bell pepper, pea pods, or carrots) or substituting tofu for the chicken, but ours is an attempt to replicate Rustic’s, and we find its simplicity pretty great.
Asian Chicken Salad (serves 2)
½ cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tiny garlic clove, chopped
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
dash of hot sauce or pinch of cayenne
1 cup of shredded chicken (poached, baked, rotisserie, etc)
½ Napa Cabbage, shredded into tiny slivers
½ head of romaine, chopped
2-3 green onions, slivered
handful of mint, roughly chopped
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
¼ cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted seasame seeds
For the dressing:
Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Taste. May require additional tablespoon or two of lime juice or vinegar depending how tart you’d like it or 2-6 tablespoons of warm water depending how thick/thin you’d like it. This dressing keeps well in the fridge for up to a week (we’ve kept ours even longer). This makes more dressing than you’ll need. Leftovers are great on another salad later in the week, as a dip for vegetables, or even shmeared on bread with leftover chicken and lettuce.
For the salad:
This is a salad that’s best assembled individually rather than tossed in a large bowl. In each bowl or plate, arrange a layer of chopped romaine, shredded cabbage, and chicken. Drizzle or dollop the peanut dressing generously. Top salads with green onions, mint, cilantro (if using), chopped peanuts and toasted sesame seeds.