We all know that classic “Chinese Chicken Salad” flavor… that sesame-ginger-honey sauce that’s oh so good. But I have two qualms.
1- I’ve never been to China -some day- but I have this sneaking suspicion that there is no such beast there. What we know to be the “Chinese Chicken Salad” we all love in the States is thanks to… Costco, Applebee’s, maybe P.F. Chang’s? I love that Americanized classic as much as the next gal, but since I get a lot of comments when I post recipes pertaining to a certain region or ethnicity, I’ll just say it now. No, I do not believe this is authentic Chinese in any way. 😉
2- That classic dressing, while I love it so, is usually filled with quite the hunk of crap. I try not to let such thoughts take my joy away when it comes to food, but dudes, have you ever seen what’s in the typical dressing you there these days? Makes me grateful I grew up on homemades. So I figure, why have junk-sauce when you can have a totally delicious one that’s made with simple clean real food?
So earlier this week when I busted out a little Asian-inspired chicken salad- with marinated chicken thighs, mandarins, cucumber, carrots, red onion, avocado, red bells, cilantro, and some slivered almonds- I knew just what I had to do. Come up with a clean version of that “Chinese Chicken Salad” dressing we all love. I make a lot of dressings, but I have to say, this one pleased me more than most. ♥
Here’s how it goes down…
- Make salad with all the goodies you like. I used iceburg this time, ’cause I wanted that extra refreshing crisp crunch. My chicken thighs were marinated in a ginger-garlic-coconut aminos sauce. (I like coconut aminos because it’s slightly less salty and more sweet than regular tamari or soy sauce.) I tossed my sliced cukes in a little rice vinegar beforehand too… but that’s totally unnecessary, unless you’re bored and love pickled tasting things like I do. 😉
Oh and psst, a little sprinkle of sesame seeds over the top makes for a beauteous touch.
2. Decide if you want crunch. We’re huge fans of crunch around here- my hubs loves toasted ramen noodles (if that’s not your thing just skip right along) and I love toasted sliced or slivered almonds. You could also add green onions, sliced cabbage, or other nuts you like- like toasted cashews. Love me some toasted cashews. Anything for crunch.
3. Whip up your dressing by adding all the ingredients together, blending until smooth, then making sure it’s to your liking. I like a little spice, so add 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper- you may want to start with just 1/8 instead. Get it however you like it. 🙂
5. Toss and dig in! If you think they’ll be leftovers, I’d dress in small portions instead (who likes soggy salad the next day?), but we never have leftovers when we make things like this. 😉
makes 4 oz dressing
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic, 1-2 cloves
1 tbsp chopped green onion
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp avocado oil (or subtle tasting olive oil)
1/4 cup rice vinegar (see note below)
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp coconut aminos
1/8 to 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, to taste
*I prefer rice vinegar for this, but you can use ACV instead.. start with 1/8 cup and work your way up, to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a blender until smooth (I use my NutriBullet)
Taste and adjust flavors as desired
Pour over your fave salad, toss, and gobble!
- 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp chopped garlic, approx 2 cloves
- 1 tbsp chopped green onion
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp avocado oil (or subtle tasting olive oil)
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos (if using tamari, use half since it's saltier)
- ⅛ to ¼ tsp crushed red pepper, to taste
- Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
- Taste and adjust flavors as desired.