Salads come in so many different varieties these days. All you have to do is browse the cold, prepared food section of your local health food store to see the gorgeously textured and rich offerings provided there. No longer are salads thought of solely as leafy greens topped with some dressing and the token cherry tomato and cucumber slice; these days, they are becoming more sophisticated, and what is being considered a “salad” continues to evolve.
Modern salads are hearty and packed with textures and flavors. They often contain different types of whole grains, nuts, proteins, herbs and spices, and provide us with new choices that are far more interesting. As we become increasingly conscious of our health and what we put into our bodies, we’re continually looking for creative, new ways to implement some of the better options that are more readily available to us now, without sacrificing the pleasure of eating utterly delicious food. Really, it’s quite simple: anything goes. All that is needed is a dash of inspiration and a pinch of creativity.
Inspired by the flavors of Chicken Fried Rice, I began making this Asian-Style Brown Rice Salad every once in a while for my clients to enjoy straight out of the fridge on those days that I wasn’t there to cook for them. Tossed with the delicious, savory flavors of sesame and soy; with fresh, crisp veggies for crunch; and shredded chicken for protein, it’s a good example of the modern salad. And when salad is as healthy, hearty and delicious as this, it’s hard not to love it.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Asian-Style Brown Rice Salad in Orange Sesame-Soy Dressing with Baby Bok Choy Greens, Carrots, Petite Peas and Shredded Chicken
(Serves about 4)
4 cups brown rice, cooked and cooled
1 ½ cups cooked and cooled shredded chicken breast (about 2 small chicken breasts)
1 ½ cups shredded carrot
3 baby bok choy, thinly sliced with leafy greens
½ cup frozen petite peas, thawed at room temperature
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
• Orange Sesame-Soy Dressing (recipe below)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
-In a large bowl, add the brown rice and all of the ingredients through the chopped green onions; toss gently to incorporate, then drizzle in the Orange Sesame-Soy Dressing, and toss again to coat all ingredients; check the seasoning and adjust if necessary; serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to serve, and garnish each serving with a sprinkle of the sesame seeds.
Orange Sesame-Soy Dressing ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1teaspoon sesame seeds
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup canola oil
-In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well combined.