Thai Crunch Chicken Salad

I am catching up!  Yay!  Sort of.  In any case, last weekend finished with an amazing time at the Brad Paisley concert at SPAC with my sweet husband – who surprised me with lawn tickets.  Lee Brice and Chris Young (both of whom I love) were the openers.  “You” by Chris Young was on the track list for our wedding reception, and “The World” by Brad Paisley was our first song, and the song we walked up the aisle to after being pronounced husband and wife.  Not to mention, our wedding song (“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol) was played on the radio on the way to the concert!  It was a very wedding nostalgia event!  But that all being said, the concert was great, it stopped storming just in time for us to be out on the lawn (though was VERY humid), and it was our first concert together.

Onto the Thai Crunch Chicken Salad…I thought this was amazing.  AMAZING, I tell you.  I have this weird, newfound love for cabbage.  It’s very weird, I know.  Sadly, my husband does NOT have this weird, newfound love for cabbage.  Therefore, he was not the biggest fan of this dish.  However, you can’t really have “crunch” in the name of the recipe if there’s no cabbage – because that’s what provides it!  So if you are already not a cabbage fan, this may not be the meal for you.  But if you sort-of like cabbage, or really like it, then please make this ASAP!  It is also great as leftovers.  The photo below only shows less than half of the salad this meal actually produced.  I displayed it in this bowl, though, because it is the first time using the wedding gift that my boss and colleague got for me!  It is a gorgeous crystal bowl that we just haven’t had a need to use until now.

thai crunch chicken salad

Thai Crunch Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I only used one…so the chicken-to-salad ratio was way off, which was another reason why my husband wasn’t the biggest fan)
-1/2tsp salt
-1/2tsp pepper
dressing + marinade
-1cu sweet chili sauce
-1/2cu rice vinegar
-1/2cu lite canned coconut milk (I use the half gallon from the organic food section instead)
-6tbsp brown sugar (I used a bit less – that’s a lot of sugar!)
-4 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
-2tbsp creamy peanut butter
-2 tsp-sized knobs of ginger, grated
-2 limes, juiced
-1tbsp soy sauce
salad
-1 small napa cabbage, chopped (for green cabbage, I have started buying the coleslaw bag mix, instead of a green head of cabbage – much, much less work, and not that much of a price difference! Also, the mix has less, so I don’t need to find 100000000 other recipes that call for cabbage in order to use it all up)
-1/2 small red cabbage, chopped
6 green onions, sliced
1 large cucumber, peeled, sliced and quartered (I omitted this from it, even though I bought the cucumber, and my husband loves it – if anyone knows a good way to peel a cucumber that doesn’t take forever, please let me know!)
-2/3cu chopped or sliced carrots (again, shredded carrots in a bag – saves so much time!)
-2/3cu edamame (I omitted this, as I learned in a recent dish, I’m really not the biggest fan of it, so why spend $5 on a small bag of it?)
-2/3cu torn fresh cilantro
-2/3cu chopped peanuts (I usually mash them)

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then place in the baking dish. (I have to admit, I had already cooked the chicken, because I didn’t realize this recipe called for uncooked chicken, as most call for already cooked chicken).
-Combine chili sauce, vinegar, coconut milk, sugar, garlic, ginger, peanut butter, soy sauce and lime juice in a saucepan, whisking to combine. Bring to a boil, the reduce to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened.
-Remove from heat and pour half of the sauce over the chicken, turing chicken to coat completely. Set remaining sauce aside to dress the salad with. (Since I had already cooked the chicken, I shredded the chicken and put it in the sauce to marinade in the fridge for a few minutes)
-Bake chicken for 25-30 minutes, or until it is cooked through
-While chicken is cooking, combine all salad ingredients, except for peanuts, in a large bowl and toss.
-When chicken has finished cooking, let cool for a few minutes then either shred or cut into chunks.
-Serve salad, top with chicken, top with peanuts, then top with dressing.

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