Lighter on the waistline: the ode to spring as it quickly tumbles into summer.
I’m more excited for Smudge’s weeklong spring break than I ever was for mine back in the day. My spring break as a kid comprised of maybe, just maybe, the Thursday and Friday prior to Easter. This is the same state that gives grade school children a weekend off in the fall for “Deer Hunting” season. Hey, we take the vacations we can get, right?
Then when college rolled around and we did get a mini-vacation, blowout trips that involved an airline were rarely in the cards thanks to my schooling it in a small farming town at 4500 feet elevation and a trek to the nearest airport. The mere whisper of 45 degree weather brought out flip flops, Bain de Soleil and off-the-shoulder sweatshirts. Yes, it was the nineties my friends. MTV beachhouse? Not so much.
This year won’t involve checked baggage fees or biscoff cookies either, but we will be making a spring pilgrimage to soak in some much craved sun, warmer climes and pool lounging.
And thus, it’s prep time folks. Goodbye triple cream French brie, see you soon my beloved sourdough, hello gym and Lose It.
This Chinese Chicken Salad is a healthy alternative to heavier versions at popular food chains and hardly a hinderance thanks to the wonton and almond crunch, protein-packed chicken breast and a flavor-flav dressing.
I CRAVE this salad. And since I don’t live near the restaurants where I used to pick them up for lunch anymore, I’ve created a tasty combination homage to two of my favorite chinese chicken salad spots: a recipe I based on Feast from the East‘s sesame salad dressing and their lightly fried and highly addictive wonton strips added to California Chicken Cafe ‘s addition of pasta noodles. At one time a few years ago I found the dressing at Costco, but its been a few years and I haven’t seen it since. Good thing I had it still on my taste buds so I could replicate.
I know this may not sound 100% diet food, but so long as you watch your portion size, the amount of dressing you use and the number of crunchy wontons you top it with, you’ll still be in the zone and your cravings will be satiated.
This time around I used a grocery store rotisserie chicken to save me a few minutes in the kitchen. I used just one chicken breast for the salads and saved the rest for the lunch leftovers. But if you want to create this dish from scratch, check out Vered of Healthy Recipes’ instructions for the perfectly baked chicken breast.
- 12 3-inch wonton skins, sliced into ¼″ strips
- ¼ cup canola or corn oil for frying
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 chicken breast, shredded
- 2 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted lightly
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 cups cooked fusilli pasta noodles, cooled
- 1½ tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
- 6 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (add more to taste if you prefer a strong sesame taste)
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Heat canola or corn oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, fry wonton skins in batches of 5-7 strips for 30 seconds each side or until lightly browned, working quickly so they don’t burn. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels until cooled.
- In a large bowl, combine lettuce, chicken breast, green onion, almonds and pasta.
- Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well until sugar dissolves. Dress lettuce mixture with 2-3 tablespoons of sesame dressing and top with sesame seeds and wonton strips and serve.
Chicken, green onions and almonds are the link between the salads below, and of course their simplicity. A twist to the dressing and you have a whole new taste.
photo > Egg Wan’s Food Odyssey
Liv melds spunky watercress with springy spinach dressed up with a classic coconut-based dressing in this tasty Thai Chicken Salad from Egg Wan’s Food Odyssey
photo > Kohler Created
Jessica and Neil of Kohler Created keep a busy life (and its all on their blog) but keep weeknights simple with recipes like Almond Crusted Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
photo > Eating and Living
And for our veg friends, here’s a tofu based version from Hyoson of Eating and Living with her similarly dressed Dubu Korean Tofu Salad