Chopped Vietnamese Salad with Grilled Chicken
We eat a lot of Asian flavors in our house. (Well, if I'm being honest; we eat a lot of everything flavors… But Asian is one of our mainstays.) I have a thing for food that has crunch, acid, spice, and a good level of salt. The fifth flavor profile of umami really captivates me (shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, etc). I also try and eat as many colors as I can everyday. Fruits and vegetables make up the vast majority of my diet, and you can see in the picture below that THIS particular salad is brimming with color and texture! I hardly ever make a recipe again. Not because my recipes are bad and aren't deserving of a reprise, but because I seem to have cooking ADD. I want to try as many dishes and flavors as I can, and there's a constant list of things to try in my head. THIS salad is an exception. (Along with my tomatillo, cilantro, jalapeño braised pork shoulder- that one seems to come out a few times a year as well.) I've actually made this salad three times now! (Potential personal record holder here!) Its really so addicting I can't stop eating it. As long as I get the right balance of salty/spicy/sour I can just eat it all night. Technically, this salad should feed 4. But in our house, it will generally feed just Sean and I, with very little leftovers. At least if I'm overindulging, I know it's on healthy, good-for-me food. Try this salad and see what I mean. I would be surprised if you weren't hooked as well!
- 2 heads of baby bok choy
- 1/4 head red cabbage
- 1 carrot
- 1 bell pepper of your choosing (I go for anything non-green)
- 1/2 English cucumber
- 4 radishes
- 1/4 head napa cabbage
- 1 bunch mint
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 Serrano pepper
- 2 grilled chicken breasts
- 2 limes
- 2 inches of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (I use what-free tamari)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 red onion, roughly chopped
- Pinch salt
Thinly slice the bok choy stems and roughly chop the green leaves. Slice the cabbage, cut up the carrots. I actually just kept peeling and loved the look - do whatever works for you. When I grow my own carrots or buy locally - I don't even normally peel them. Do what you know, and have fun with it.
Chop your bell pepper.
Slice your cucumber.
Slice your radishes. I prefer to cut them i half and then thinly slice them, but small diced squares would be a great added crunch as well. Every time I make this salad, I use different vegetables (what's in season, what I have on hand…) so just use whatever you bought at the Farmer's Market today. : )
Chop your napa cabbage.
Roughly chop your mint and cilantro.
Thinly slice your pepper. I prefer the whole pepper slice, as that way I KNOW when I'm about to eat one. If you prefer, fine dice them and they'll be even more incorporated into every bite. (And a fun hit of spice surprise!)
Get in there! Dig your hands in (I once had a sous chef tell me those are God's spatulas!) and mix it all up! Make sure all the veggies are evenly dispersed. Thinly slice your chicken breast.
Assemble all of the salad dressing ingredients in the immersion blender. (As you can see, I use this thing almost daily!)
Blend it all up, and taste for seasoning. I doubt you will need salt with the soy and fish sauce, but it may need pepper.
Pour the dressing over the salad and thoroughly mix it all up.