Years ago this was the salad I would always order on a menu (pre-vegan, of course), and my favorite version was from a restaurant in LA called Chin Chin’s. It was a totally addictive salad, and had a super gingery red hued dressing, and was covered in fried wonton crisps.
Now flash forward about 30 years (wait, what?? I know I can’t be that old!), and here is my new favorite version. It’s got all of the delicious gingery punch, lots of crunch, beautiful color, but is so much healthier! I’ve been working on this salad for years with different versions, but this is hands-down my new favorite!
So I know you’re asking yourself, what I do differently now. Well kids, I’ll tell you. First off, I used vegan chicken from Beyond Meat. It’s delicious here, and adds a flavor pop plus a big punch of protein. You can also sub in grilled or sautéed tofu too or Soy Curls. Then for crispness I went all out. I’ve got red cabbage, chopped Persian cucumbers, organic baby romaine lettuce, peanuts, and sesame seeds. I skipped the crispy fried bits all together, but you can certainly sprinkle some fried rice noodles on top. Oh, and the oranges! It’s got fresh Mandarin orange segments instead of canned. So much fresher tasting! And then for the piece de resistance…. a super charged ginger garlic dressing! It is so good, and one I’ve been using in a couple different recipes that I’ll share soon. It’s so much lower in fat than regular dressing, and only has 2 tablespoons of oil in it (plus peanut butter powder to make it thicker and add another protein punch). Hi-ya (karate chop)!
Now go make this salad!
This salad is so good! I like to make a double batch of the dressing and keep extras in my fridge for quick salads.
2 cups vegan chicken strips (Beyond Meat Grilled Chicken strips) or sautéed tofu
2 teaspoons olive oil or pan spray
6 cups romaine or iceberg lettuce, thinly shredded
2 cups red cabbage (about 1/4 head red cabbage), shredded
3 Persian cucumbers, sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 3)
4 seedless Mandarin oranges or tangerines, peeled and separated into segments
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts or cashews or sliced almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup peanut butter powder
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (or regular)
2 tablespoons agave nectar
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- In a large skillet add 2 teaspoons oil and heat over medium heat. Add the vegan chicken and sauté about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the shredded lettuce, red cabbage, cucumber, carrot, scallions, Mandarin oranges, cooled vegan chicken, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
- In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter powder, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, agave, garlic, and ginger. Whisk until smooth. Pour dressing over salad, toss to combine and serve.