Spicy Asian salad

spicyasiansalad

I picked this is as one of my first recipes to post because it’s one of our go-to meals—quick, healthy, satisfying. If you’re making it as your whole meal, it serves 3. If you’re making it as a salad course it can serve 6-8. You can stretch it out even further by adding cooked, shredded chicken breast. Most of the ingredients we’re always stocked in–only things we need to make a special run for are cilantro and ginger.

There are tons of variations on this out there but this is my favorite because the dressing packs big flavor and the noodles soak it up a little to give a unique contrast against the crunch of the salad. This is a knock-off of Carlisle Pennsylvania’s California Cafe’s spicy peanut chicken salad back when the cafe was owned by Oliver Hazan and Tom Hall. The cafe has since changed hands and closed (a bit of the cafe’s history is in this article announcing the closing).

1/2 cup sesame oil (not 100% approved on our ALS diet but we cheat for this recipe)
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 chopped garlic cloves
5-10 chopped spring onions
3 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 head of cabbage
1 chopped (julienne) red bell pepper
1 cup of chopped peanuts (not approved for our ALS diet, but recipe works without these)
1/2 cup of peanut butter (not approved for our ALS diet, but recipe works without this)
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup of soy
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper
juice of 1 large lime
1/2 box of angel hair pasta (not approved for our ALS diet, but you can use spaghetti squash or spiralized zuchini)
Cooked, shredded chicken breast

  1. (Here’s where I start the water boiling for the pasta, but you can make it ahead of time).
  2. Chop the onion, garlic, and ginger and set aside. Chop the cabbage, cilantro, and red pepper and set aside. Chop the peanuts and set aside.
  3. For the dressing, add about 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil to a skillet, saute the ginger for about a minute, then add the garlic and most of the spring onions (set aside about a tablespoon of the spring onions). Saute for another minute or two and set aside.
  4. (Here’s where you can add the pasta to the boiling water & raise your glass to multi-tasking!)
  5. Toss the lettuce, cabbage, and red bell pepper in a large bowl.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, lime juice, and honey until the honey is dissolved.
  7. (This is when the pasta’s usually done. Drain it, then put it back in the warm pan with a couple splashes of sesame oil and soy sauce.
  8. Put the skillet back on med-low heat and add the remaining sesame oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the peanut butter, soy, and cayenne pepper. Stir as the peanut butter melts. Then add the vinegar mixture and water and stir until the consistency is smooth except for the lumps of ginger, onion, and garlic.
  9. Put a tablespoon or two of the dressing in the skillet into the pasta.
  10. I like to plate the servings so everyone’s sure to get a bit of each layer (cabbage mixture, noodles, and toppings), but you can also serve it in a big bowl. In either case, toss the cabbage mixture with the dressing, then add these layers on top: noodles, optional chicken, chopped peanuts, cilantro, and remaining onions for garnish. If the dressing soaks up quickly or if the salad has been sitting for a while, drizzle on a mixture of soy, vinegar, and sesame.

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