Chinese Chicken Salad...

The girls in my 'hood are all abuzz with clean eating.  We mostly eat very clean, minus the occasional dessert here and there.  We also have been mostly sugar free for the last 10 years.  I say mostly because one: I love chocolate, and two: I really, really love chocolate, and three: I really love to bake.  It's terrible!  I have good days and weeks and then I have a particularly stressful week and the chocolate resurfaces or I get the itch to bake something divine, and I dive in.  Then I have to start all over.  It's a battle...

I thought I would share a healthy recipe that has been a staple in our family for years.  This is loosely based on Ina Garten's Chinese Chicken Salad.  I modified it years ago to clean it up and my family instantly fell in love.  My kids gobble this like they haven't eaten in weeks.  Clean plates, full bellies, and a happy mama (in fact, I couldn't even photograph this without little hands sneaking in the frame!).  It's easy to modify as well, you could add shredded broccoli or cold soba noodles, sometimes I add all different colors of peppers.  This recipe has a ton of asparagus in it, which is in season and inexpensive right now.  I have a major asparagus fetish, so this is a springtime favorite for me and it doesn't take long to make.  I pruned my wisteria while the chicken cooked and then came in and tossed it all together... easy peasy!

adapted from the barefoot contessa

Serves 4

4 split chicken breasts, skin on, bone in
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound asparagus, ends removed, cut into 1/3 diagonally
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 scallions (white and greens), sliced diagonally
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup assorted sprouts (we sprout a bean/wheat grass mix - this is optional but it is really good)

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
1/2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup smooth peanut/almond/tahini butter (optional)
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken into large bite-sized pieces.

Blanch the asparagus in a pot of salted boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp tender.  Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain.  Cut the peppers in strips about the size of the asparagus pieces.  Combine the cut chicken, asparagus, peppers, and sprouts in a large bowl.

Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the chicken and vegetables.  Add the scallions, almonds, and the sesame seeds and season to taste.  Serve cold or at room temperature.


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