Vietnamese Chicken Salad

If I could only eat two types of cuisine for the rest of my life it would be Mexican and Vietnamese. Heavy, cheesy food and then, when I inevitably got sick of that awesome feeling of being absolutely stuffed after every meal, I'd turn to the delicious, fresh flavors of mint, cucumber, lime and rice wine vinegar. These are the types of things I think about. Practical, I know.

This recipe is about as light and fresh as it gets: crisp cabbage, sweet carrots, fresh lime and herbs, salty peanuts and a splash of fish sauce. OK, the fish sauce may sound and smell fish, but it's delicious, just trust me. And this is one of those recipes that will leave you feeling satisfied without feeling stuffed. It's filled with protein from the chicken and fiber from the cabbage, which in incidentally a great source of vitamin C, K and B6 (nutrition data).

Speaking of nutrition data, I'm sure you have noticed by now that I use nutritiondata.com as my primary source for information. It's brilliant for finding out a breakdown of calories, vitamins and minerals as well as how complete of a protein is, how filling/nutritious a food is and its glycemic score. They make it simple for you. They even provided nutritional data on foods in various states (raw, cooked, boiled, etc). This is extremely helpful, because we often forget that cooking foods alters their nutritional content significantly.



3 chicken breasts, shredded (how to: here)
1/3 cup peanut or almond butter, warmed
2 carrots, grated
4-5 cups green and/or red cabbage, shredded
2 spring onions, chopped
2 T. sesame seeds
1/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped or toasted slices almond 
1 garlic clove
1-inch chunk ginger, peeled, grated with zester (optional, but gives a great kick)
Chopped cilantro, thai basil and/or mint for garnish


1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/3 cup sour cream, mayo or greek yogurt (something a little richer)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1-2 T. fish sauce (again optional, but adds so much flavor)
1 T. honey
Zest and juice of half a lime
1 tsp. sesame oil

In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken and warm peanut butter using a fork. It won't be perfectly distributed, but don't worry. Add cabbage, carrots, spring onions, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt and the other, richer diary product with rice wine vinegar, lime juice, zest, fish sauce, sesame oil and honey until smooth. Pour desired amount of dressing over salad and toss. I used all the dressing and then some, but past experiences tell me that not everyone likes their chicken salad the same. So play with the amounts until you find the consistency you like best! Garnish with freshly chopped herbs and serve as a side, on a sandwich, in pita bread or wrap it up in a iceberg lettuce like I did for a light lunch.

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