Friday, January 3, 2014

Peanut Salad

Why is it that my dishwasher breaks at the most inconvenient times.  (Is there really ever a convenient time for the dishwasher to break?)  We had a dishwasher malfunction in early November, during homecoming weekend while my parents were visiting.  The good news is that we happened to have a big stack of paper plates AND everyone chipped in to help wash the dishes that we did use.

While the dishwasher was out of commission, (for 7 weeks!)  I learned to be very conservative with the number of dishes that I used while I was preparing dinner.  I think food bloggers use even more dishes than the average Joe cook because we're constantly moving food to clean dishes so it can be photographed.  I had never given it too much thought because I would just put all those dishes in the dishwasher.  Now that I have to wash them all by hand, I'm much more conscious of the ridiculous amount of dishes that I use to create and photograph one meal. 

My non functioning dishwasher has caused me to reevaluate my dish use so my blog posts are going to look slightly different until the dishwasher gets repaired.  Fewer dishes to wash equals a happier food blogger. 

Ryan is well into his wrestling season and he is trying to maintain his weight so we've been opting for more salads for dinner.  I found this recipe on and since Ryan is such a big peanut fan, I was hoping that he would appreciate this salad.

I changed the recipe from the original quite a bit.   I didn't marinate my chicken but I put about 8 chicken breasts (enough for the whole week) on the Big Green Egg and grilled them with a little salt and pepper.  I left the instructions for the marinade from the original recipe because I think that it would be even better with marinated chicken.  I also couldn't find Thai sweet red chili sauce at my Wal Mart supermarket and I was not in the mood to go to another grocery store so I decided to just leave it out.  I ended up combining the dressing and the peanut sauce into one peanuty vinaigrette.  It was yummy.  As you can see, this is one of those salad recipes that you can change and adjust and adapt to your own taste.  It would be hard to mess this one up. 

Peanut Chicken Salad
(recipe adapted from Taste and Tell)
serves 8

Chicken marinade
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 Tb rice vinegar
1/4 C sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
dash of salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - about 2 1/2 pounds total

2 hearts of romaine, chopped
1/2 large head of napa cabbage, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 C salted peanuts

1/4 C rice vinegar
1/4 C Thai sweet red chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt and pepper

Peanut Sauce
1/4 C natural peanut butter
2 Tb soy sauce
1 Tb rice vinegar
1 Tb Thai sweet red chili sauce
2 Tb water

In a ziplock bag, combine all the ingredients for the chicken marinade.  Mush it all around, then place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours to marinade.  Cook the chicken either on a hot grill, 6-8 minutes a side or in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Allow it to cool a bit, then chop up all the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Cut lettuce and cabbage and add to a big bowl.

Add cucumbers.

Add carrots.

 Add red bell pepper.

Add green onions.

Add cilantro.

Add peanuts and toss.

Combine all the dressing ingredients then pour over the salad.

Stir together the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a small bowl.  If the sauce is too thick to drizzle, add a bit more water.
I combined the peanut sauce and the dressing.

Generously drizzle the peanut sauce over each serving of salad then top with the peanuts and chicken.

This salad was crunchy and nutty and delicious.  Ryan loved the chicken with the peanut vinaigrette.  He didn't eat a lot of the salad but he did pack some for his lunch for the following day.  I thought this was a really delicious salad and I am definitely going to try it again with marinated chicken and some Thai sweet red chili sauce.


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