I can’t decide if the Star of Thai Peanut Chicken Salad is the complex-flavored sauce, the delicious crunch from the fresh vegetables, or the fact that it makes A LOT and is super economical (Only about $2.50 per serving). This salad serves 10-12 people so it’s perfect for a party or potluck. Or just make it for your family and have some left over to snack on for lunch. I was thrilled the lettuce was still crisp even after two days in the fridge with the sauce already on it. Speaking of the sauce, what a perfect blend of powerhouse tastes in your mouth! It does calls for Asian chile sauce, like Sriracha, which on its own is VERY spicy. But it is imperative you add at least the minimum I recommend in this recipe. The minimum gives no heat at all and in fact, is not enough in my book. I’ve served this to kids as well as a few spice-pansies. No one mentioned heat.
Crisp red peppers and English cucumbers add a satisfying crunch and the lettuce and noodles bring a variety of textures plus hold the dressing perfectly. For a vegan option, substitute the chicken with extra-firm tofu and it will be incredible.
If any of your guests or family is a spicy food aficionado, just mix a little extra soy sauce with Sriracha in a small dish and serve it on the side for them. They will love the personalized attention and it is effortless on your part.
- 8 ounces fresh or dried linguine or Chinese egg noodles, cooked to al dente and chilled
- 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
- ¾ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons dry cooking sherry
- 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Asian chile sauce, such as sambal oelek or Sriracha
- 2 heads hearts-of-romaine lettuce, chopped or 1 head regular romaine, chopped
- 1½ pounds cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced crosswise into ¼-inch slices and chilled (I boiled my chicken breasts for moist results, and cut after cooling)
- 2 medium red bell peppers, diced
- 1 large English cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices
- ⅛ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional
- Unsalted cashews for garnish, optional
- Whisk peanut butter, vinegar, sesame oil and sherry in a bowl until smooth. Add scallions, soy sauce and hot sauce, and stir to blend. (The sauce can be made several days ahead and refrigerated until the day of assembly, if desired)
- Combine the lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, ¾ of the noodles and all the chicken. Add three-fourths of the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Taste at this point and if salad needs more heat, add an additional tablespoon Sriracha and tablespoon of soy sauce to remaining ¼ of sauce. Then stir remaining sauce into your salad and mix well. Add more noodles at this point, if you like.
- Serve with sesame seeds and cashews on the side, if desired.
Nutrition per serving (without cashews): 242 calories; 11 g fat (2g sat, 5g mono); 34 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 18 g protein; 3 g fiber; 312 mg sodium (if using low-sodium soy sauce); 386 mg potassium. Vitamin A (69% daily value), Vitamin D 48% dv), Folate 19% dv).
Recipe adapted from Simply Ming One-Pot Meals.
Cook’s note: You can make this ahead as follows: Either make dressing several days ahead of time and refrigerate. Or make all salad ingredients ahead of time minus the lettuce and combine. The day of serving, add lettuce and dressing with other ingredients.