Teriyaki Chicken Chopped Salad
My mom makes a very particular pasta salad which she calls Asian Chicken Pasta Salad. There is grilled teriyaki chicken, nuts, pasta, snow peas, and mandarin oranges, and altogether its a salty-sweet, chewy-crunchy flavor bonanza. All of those different elements and textures come together and make something that’s really delightful and I love it. I love it so much that I’ve tried making it over and over for the past 10+ years but I can never seem to get it quite right. After getting myself all amped up about the fact that “this time” it’s going to be perfect and then find my soul crushed because once again it is missing some mysterious element that I can’t identify I have just given up entirely. I am putting my hand over my heart and solemnly swearing to the entire cyber universe that I will never attempt to make it again for as long as I live. My ego is rather fragile and I just can’t deal with any more pasta salad-induced disappointment. My only consolation is that I’ve never attempted to make the pasta salad at a time when Mom was going to eat it so until now she was blissfully unaware of the degree to which I have failed at this particular endeavor.
The combination of crispy snow peas, crunchy almonds, and sweet mandarin oranges cannot be entirely forgotten, however. The memory of it has haunted me over the years and so to save myself from going completely batty (Some might say it’s too late for that. They might be right.), I’ve taken the basic elements of Mom’s pasta salad and turned it into a chopped salad. For my purposes, chopped salad = pasta salad – pasta + cabbage, and it is otherwise the same. Except it’s not the same because I can’t make it the same, NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY. Grrrr.
This salad holds up fantastically for a few days, thanks to the sturdiness of the cabbage. I made up a batch over the weekend and then took some for my lunch for several days that week. If you want, add a few sprinkles of crispy rice noodles on top! No pasta, just loads of vegetables, lean protein, and heart healthy almonds. I marinated about 3 pounds of chicken with one batch of marinade. I used half for the salad and kept the other half for a second meal that week. Or, you could freeze the other half and save it for another batch of chopped salad in a few weeks!
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
Calories: 297 Total Fat: 18.3 g Cholesterol: 54.4 mg Sodium: 367 mg Total Carbohydrate: 13.36 g Sugar: 7.7 g Protein: 20.89 g
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 T. molasses
- 2 t. grated fresh ginger
- 2 t. spicy brown mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 lbs. boneless chicken breast
- 6 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup diced bell pepper
- 1 cup sliced snow peas
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 15 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/8 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 t. sesame oil
- 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 t. minced fresh garlic
- 1/2 t. grated fresh ginger
- 1 t. honey
- 1. Combine olive oil through garlic and mix well to combine. Add chicken.
- 2. Allow chicken to marinate several hours, preferably overnight.
- 3. Remove chicken from marinade, grill, and set aside to cool. Once cooled, take half of chicken and thinly slice it for the salad.
- 1. Place almonds in a dry skillet and heat on medium low, stirring occasionally. Keep stirring almonds until they become fragrant and start to brown. When you look at them and think they could use just another minute, remove them from the heat and set aside, otherwise you will inevitably burn them. Trust me, I know.
- 2. Combine carrots, snow peas, cabbage, pepper, green onions, oranges, and cooled sliced chicken.
- 3. Mix dressing ingredients well to incorporate all of the honey. Pour over salad and gently toss to coat.
- I always marinate extra chicken to use for a second meal that week, or to put in the freezer for another time. You can always halve the marinade recipe and stick with the 1 1/2 pounds of chicken needed for the salad alone.