This fairly well-known salad is one of our summer favorites.
It has been known to be eaten by the bowl-ful at our house, out of Ziploc bags on the beach: (can I get an amen, long-lost Rocky Point ladies?), and out of large styrofoam cups and emesis basins at night-shift potlucks.
It is super-easy. Just chop, shred, drizzle, mix. Even easier if you take a short cut or two… use your imagination.
Here is the straight-up traditional version I begin with:
Asian Chicken Salad
- 4 cups chicken shredded into long strips
- 1 head of cabbage sliced thin
- 4 green onions chopped
- 4 ounces sliced almonds toasted
- 4 tablespoons sesame seeds toasted and ground
- 2 packages top ramen uncooked and broken up (save flavor packets)
Mix all together.
- 2 packages top ramen seasoning
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons vinegar
- 1/3-1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
Pour dressing over. Mix. Refrigerate over night. Check seasoning. Add vinegar, sugar, oil to taste.
And here is how we make it our own (mostly by not being so precise):
- I usually just bake a bag of frozen boneless chicken thighs or breasts, drain them, and shred them. (You can even put the juice in the dressing instead of some of the oil). We prefer dark meat, but the breasts probably shred a little more easily and aren’t too dry when mixed in. Last time, the husband grilled them and added yet another layer of flavor.
- I do a whole head of cabbage (or two for a double batch), but once used bagged shredded cabbage and it did save a bunch of time.
- Green onions- yup.
- I’m generous with the almonds, especially since they come in a 6 ounce bag. I just toast the whole bag in the toaster oven (it really brings out the flavor) and throw them in.
- The sesame seeds I toast, but don’t bother grinding.
- The ramen is all the same- just with different flavor packets. I usually buy one Chicken flavor and one Oriental flavor. Again- DO NOT COOK!
The dressing- where I really rebel 😉
- I use a lighter touch with the ramen seasoning. I put in most of it- but not all. Sure wish there were a healthier alternative…
- Light touch with the sugar too.
- Generous with the pepper.
- I use balsamic vinegar because we prefer the flavor. The salad is darker (see above) and not quite as pretty as the original, but we think it is tastier and you can save on the sugar.
- I tend to substitute 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- I don’t usually have sesame oil hanging around, so I use the vegetable oil here. I’ve also experimented with other oils such as grape seed or almond, and they added nice flavor elements.
There you have it. Whether you asked for it or not.
I would love to hear your variations. Anyone found a healthier ramen noodle or seasoning packet alternative?