Welcome to the sixth installment of Seasonal Food Friday! This weeks featured recipe is for Asian Chicken and Noodle Salad. There are probably a thousand variations out there for this salad, but that's the beauty of a dish like this. It's so versatile that you can make it 50 times and never have it exactly the same way twice!
Soba Noodles for this salad. They're made from buckwheat flour and are high in fiber and jam packed with essential amino acids and antioxidants. More importantly... They're delicious! I just break them in half or in thirds before cooking them to keep things bite-sized. If you don't have ramen or soba noodles on hand, linguine, fettuccine or any long or even "cut" pasta you have on hand will be just fine.
Now, what would you say was the most versatile component of this salad? Yep... you guessed it. The Veggies! I change up the vegetables that I use based on availability, either here in my kitchen or from the Farmer's Market or grocery store. In the original recipe the ingredients for the dressing call for the contents of two of the seasoning packets from the noodle packages. Since I don't really use the ramen packs anymore, I've come up with my own blend of seasonings that come close to the "Oriental" flavor packets. I'll post that for you below the salad recipe. You can also substitute almost any meat or seafood for the chicken, or go completely "meatless" if you're a vegetarian or vegan.
Asian Chicken and Noodle Salad
(aka Chinese Chicken Salad)
- 4 Pkgs Oriental Flavor Ramen Noodles, cooked and drained
- 4 Stalks Celery, chopped
- 8 Scallions, chopped
- 2 Cups Mixed Sweet Bell Peppers, chopped
- 2 Cups Chicken, cooked and cubed or shredded
- 1/2 Cup Real Mayonnaise (no Miracle Whip, please)
- 4 Tsp Light Soy Sauce
- 4 Tsp Lemon Juice
- 2 Packets Oriental Flavor Seasoning (or 1/2 recipe of the homemade mix**)
- 1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Cook noodles in boiling, salted water. (only 3-4 minutes for the ramen style) Drain and set aside to cool. In a small mixing bowl, combine Mayo, Soy Sauce, Lemon Juice and the seasoning packets from 2 of the Noodle packages (or recommended amount of the homemade**). In a large mixing bowl, gently toss Bell Peppers, Chicken, Scallions and Celery with the cooled Noodles. Add the dressing to the bowl and carefully mix it into the salad so that the Noodles, Chicken and Vegetables are well coated. (be gentle when mixing because the ramen noodles tend to break apart easily) Place the salad in a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Serves 4 - 6)
**Homemade "Oriental" Seasoning
(equals 4 Seasoning Packets)
- 1 Tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Five Spice Powder (available in the majority of grocery chains)
- 1 Pkt Chicken Bouillon Granules (or 1 Tsp)
- 1/2 Tsp Sugar
Some of the additions and changes that I make are:
In place of the 2 cups called for in the basic recipe, I add a total of 3 cups of fresh, coarsely chopped vegetables, including: some of the originally called for bell pepper, plus one or more of the following: carrots, green or red cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower florets, seeded cucumber, fresh green beans, fresh asparagus, sugar snap peas, fresh corn from the cob, water chestnuts, fresh bean or pea sprouts. AND, fruits such as mandarin oranges, sliced green grapes, chopped fresh pears, lychee fruit.
I've substituted many protein options for the chicken, including: cooked shrimp, lump crab meat, shredded pork, thinly sliced steak, toasted almonds, avocado, hard boiled eggs, steamed and cooled edamame.
I really hope that you give this delicious salad a try and that you use the ingredients that best suit the needs and appetites of the people you're cooking for! I'd love to hear your version of it!
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