Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sweet Chili Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

Sweet, spicy, crunchy salad alert! This salad is so super tasty, you can almost forget that it's a salad. Which is, quite frankly, the best way to eat a salad. 

My Sweet Chili Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing is packed with so many flavors and textures that are ta-dieee for! I'm sure I've mentioned once or twice before that my favorite type of salad is one in which there is very little lettuce. That's why. although this recipe starts with a bed of mixed greens, it's the extra accoutrement that separate it from the rest!

Let's talk about the veggies quick. Lots of good ones, including cucumber, carrots, red bell pepper, scallions and sprouts. Big crunch factor, and each one will hold up well to our addicting-ly thick and creamy peanut dressing. This dressing is so simple to make and a little goes a long way. It's just creamy peanut butter mixed with soy sauce, lime juice, a pinch of red pepper flakes plus some water to thin it out. I give it a quick zap in the microwave to make sure it's totally combined and perfectly pourable.

This salad, however, is nothing without this sticky, spicy and sweet chicken. I used a very similar method to the chicken in this super popular ramen recipe. The key is to really caramelize the chicken, which marinates for just a few minutes in a sweet chili glaze. I start by searing it on the stove in a cast iron skillet for about 5 minutes on each side, then transfer it to the oven to cook through (and brown a bit more). Because we are really cooking the meat, chicken thighs are much preferred as they aren't as prone to drying out as chicken breasts.

You could also cook up the chicken out on your grill, which makes this an all-around summer recipe winner in my book. I hope you enjoy!

Here's what you need for Sweet Chili Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing* (Print Recipe!)

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha
1/2 teaspoon ground garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon lime juice
pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
water as needed - I used a little over 1/4 cup
3 cups mixed greens
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 cucumber, seeds removed and sliced into half moons
1/2 cup sprouts
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
Sunflower seeds and fresh basil, for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste

Here's what you do

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a zip-top bag, combined the sweet chili sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, oyster sauce, sriracha, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel then add to the marinade. Close the bag and shake/massage the marinade onto the chicken. Set aside (now is a great time to prep the veggies).

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a couple teaspoons of vegetable oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven to finish cooking, about 10 minutes more.

Prepare the dressing. In a microwave-safe bowl, stir together the peanut butter, remaining tablespoon of soy sauce, lime juice and red pepper flakes. The peanut butter might appear as if it's curdling, and that's ok. Add about 3 tablespoons of water to the bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth and creamy. If you feel the dressing isn't pourable, add more water a tablespoon at a time and microwave in 15 second increments. Allow to cool slightly.

Divide the mixed greens, red pepper slices, carrots, cucumbers, sprouts and scallions between two plates. Top each salad with a piece of chicken. Drizzle a bit of dressing on top. Finish each plate with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds plus some torn fresh basil and enjoy immediately.

-You will likely find yourself with a bit of peanut dressing left over. I recommend dipping celery in it as a snack, or cooking up chicken satay skewers for dipping as well.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe

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