I'm not quite sure why this is, but I really get a kick out making a salad out of pretty much anything that I can.
I mean, why not? Right?
I totally adore a “main-meal” type of salad; so if a main-meal dish can be turned into a salad, even better—leave it to me to find a way to do just that.
Take Kung Pao chicken, for example: I love that flavorfully spicy and peanut-y dish, and order it whenever we go to a favorite Chinese restaurant, or get a little Chinese take-out.
So with all of those zippy and amazing elements, and tongue-tingling tastes, it was a dish that I thought could very nicely and very easily be turned into a entree-style chopped salad.
You can just taste it now, can't you?
Spicy, Asian-style food is one of my favorite types of food. I love the sauciness, the spicy savory-sweetness, the depth of flavor—it entices me whether it's the middle of summer, or the dead of winter.
Always something I crave!
So with summer being an ideal time for a hearty-yet-cool salad, tossing together some crisp, chopped romaine greens with chicken breasts, cool veggies, a sprinkle of peanuts and a liberal drizzling of a glossy, flavor-packed Szechuan-style dressing was just the ticket.
A delectable way to get my greens and my Kung Pao “fix” on!
So if there's a will, then there's definitely a way to turn a beloved entree into an awesome and deliciously-satisfying chopped salad that'll provide a new take on an old fave, which makes that old fave that much more fun, surprising and enjoyable.
So grab a fork, or even a pair of chopsticks, and dig into a bowl of fresh, crunchy goodness, for goodness sake!
It's the salad's answer to making a favorite take-out dish something to stay in for.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Kung Pao Chicken Chopped Salad with Sweet-Spicy Szechuan Dressing and Roasted Peanuts
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 2
• 4 chicken tenderloins, cooked and cooled, then cut into small cubes
• 2 romaine hearts, chopped finely
• 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, then finely diced
• Sweet-Spicy Szechuan Dressing (recipe below)
• 2 green onions, sliced
• ¼ cup (heaping), roasted peanuts
-Add all ingredients from the chicken up to and including the bell pepper into a large bowl, and toss to incorporate; drizzle in as much dressing as you desire, gently toss to coat, and divide among two plates to serve; garnish with the green onions and the peanuts.
Sweet-Spicy Szechuan Dressing Ingredients:
• ¼ cup rice vinegar
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
• 1 teaspoon creamy peanut butter
• ½ teaspoon sesame oil
• ½ teaspoon sambal oelek (chili garlic sauce found in the Asian foods section of the market)
• ½ teaspoon grated ginger
• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or desired amount)
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ cup canola oil
-Add all ingredients up to and including the garlic to the bowl of a food processor, and process to blend; with the processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil, and process until fully emulsified; use immediately, or keep in a covered container in fridge.