The Thai Chicken Salad from Panera Bread Company is one of my favorite salads. It is fantastic. It has everything I look for in a great meal. Crunchy, a little heat, a little sweet, sour, tangy and lots of savory. The dressing, the peanut drizzle… nom, nom. I would say, I love this salad, so much so that I endeavored to make it at home. Low and behold, it wasn’t that hard and mine might, just might, even be better.
After a quick Google search, I came across a recipe that I based mine on. So hat tip to Cheerios & Lattes for their Panera’s Thai Chopped Chicken Salad post.
One thing I had to add was spicy pickled carrots. I know, I just know the carrots in Panera’s salad have a bunch of heat and sour. Another thing I tweaked was using jarred roasted red peppers, it was easier and added a little bit more sour. I also changed the vinaigrette to add more heat and the peanut sauce drizzle I used chocolate almond butter. Yep, you heard that correct, chocolate almond butter instead of peanut butter. I’m telling you, don’t knock it.
For my palette, this was perfect. It had all that I loved from Panera’s version but more of what I like. More heat, more sour. Even my happy mistakes like the chocolate almond butter and sambal oelek turned out fantastic. I can’t recommend this salad enough. Make it your own and let me know how you tweaked it in the comments.
Ingredients for Spicy Pickled Carrot
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, cut in quarters
- 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
Ingredients for Vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp sambal oelek
- 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for Peanut Drizzle Sauce
- 1/2 cup chocolate almond butter (or creamy peanut butter)
- 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for Salad
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 large head bibb lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup, edamame, thawed
- 3 roasted red pepper, drained and sliced in thin strips
- 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
- 1 cup fried rice noodles (the crunchy kind in the can
- Canola oil
- 3 green onions, sliced thin
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper
Directions for Spicy Pickled Carrots
This can be done ahead of time.
- Heat a sauce pot over medium high heat with rice wine vinegar, water, salt, carrots and jalapeno.
- Bring the mixture to a boil then remove from the heat.
- Allow to cool and place the mixture into a sealable jar (Mason Jar). Top off with water if need be and place in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- First make the vinaigrette. Add the rice wine vinegar, sambal oelek, sesame oil, powdered garlic in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Next the peanut drizzle sauce. Add the chocolate almond butter (or regular peanut butter), hoisin, rice wine vinegar, sriracha, soy sauce, water in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the canola oil and continue whisking. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet or grill pan to just past medium. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper (we’ve already added a lot of sodium). Cook the chicken to desired doneness and allow to rest. Once cooled, slice in strips or chunks.
- Start your ovens broiler. Toss the thawed edamame lightly with canola and place on a sheet pan. Broil until slightly charred. Set aside.
- To plate, add the chopped bibb lettuce to a large plate. Distribute the carrots, edamame and roasted red peppers evenly. Lightly dress with the viniagrette. Add the fried rice noodles. Top with the chicken, drizzle with the peanut sauce and garnish with the chopped peanuts, cilantro and green onions.
I love Bahn Mi sandwiches. Fresh, spicy, tangy, crunchy, all the good stuff. This may not be a traditional Bahn Mi but it tastes close to them. I used leftovers from several other meals listed below so this is one of the easiest meals you’ll see me post.
I had the pork loin, I had good bread and pickled carrots. I always have jalapeno, so this was a no brainer, its Bahn Mi time!
- Ingredients and directions for pork. (follow link)
- Ingredients and directions for pickled carrots. (follow link)
- Cucumber, sliced
- Jalapeno, sliced
- Crusty bread, warmed
- Greek yogurt/sour cream
- In a small mixing bowl, combine yogurt and sirachi to taste. Whisk and set aside.
- The beauty of this is at this point you must simply assembly. Slice bread, I like to hollow it out a bit. Add just a little of the sirachi/yogurt mixture (you could totally leave this out), sliced pork, carrots, cucumber and jalapeno to your liking and enjoy.
Who doesn’t love pizza? I eat it just about twice a week (make it one night and leftovers another). Infinite possibilities exist with pizza and I enjoy trying to sample all of them. I bet I haven’t ordered pizza delivery in eight years. With the availability of quality ingredients and the fact that most grocery stores carry fresh pizza dough, it’s cheaper, faster and better to make my own.
On this day I was craving heat and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my wife is now craving heat as well. Since I was craving Asian, I went with Thai Barbecue Chicken Pizza. I love, love, loved it. The heat from the sriracha, the sweet from the bbq sauce and peanut butter, the crunch/sour/heat of the carrots and read onions, the crunch and salt of the peanuts, the fresh cilantro and green onions, the…well everything. This is a keeper.
I’m not sure if they have it still on the menu but I used to get a Thai barbeque chicken pizza at the sandwich shop Schlotzsky’s. I think I had one at California Pizza Kitchens as well. Anyway, those were the original inspirations, my pizza was better than either of those.
- Peanut butter
- Dale’s steak seasoning (or regular soy sauce)
- Barbeque sauce (I used Jack Daniels brand)
- Low sodium soy sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- Granulated garlic
- Powdered ginger
- Pizza dough (I used store bought multigrain)
- 1 store bought rotisserie chicken, chopped in ½ inch pieces
- Spicy pickled carrots and red onions (click for recipe)
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped and to garnish
- 4 green onions, sliced on the bias
- 1 handful chopped cashews
- Shredded cheese (I used several different kinds)
- Place pizza stone in the middle rack and pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F. If you don’t have a pizza stone get one.
- First, cut the pizza dough in half. Set the cut side of each half down and push the edges in to form a ball. Flour your board well, and stretch. I use every method known to get the dough as thin as possible, including a rolling pin.
- Once you have the first half as thin as you like it, put it on a sheet pan and bake in the pre-heating oven until slightly browned. Remove and set aside. Repeat this for the other piece of dough. BTW, I usually make a different pizza with the other dough, but that’s another post.
- Combine the first 9 ingredients in sauce pan over medium-low heat. Whisky and reduce until desired consistency, it won’t take long. Sorry for the lack of measurements but I encourage you to combine this to your tastes. If you want more heat, add more sriracha. Want more sweet, add more bar-b-que sauce or honey.
- Add chicken to half the sauce and toss to coat. Set aside.
- Spread some of the remaining sauce over the pre baked crust.
- Sprinkle a light layer of your favorite shredded cheese (I used a combination of mozzarella, seven cheese Italian and fontina).
- Next, add a layer of carrots and onions, a layer of chicken. Sprinkle cilantro, green onions and peanuts. Finish with more shredded cheese.
- Cut oven temperature down to 400 degrees F and place the pizza on the pizza stone. Cook until cheese is melted and the crust is to your liking (I’ll like my crunchy).
- Sprinkle with more cilantro and green onions. Enjoy.
On Saturday’s my wife and I love to go to Northampton Wines and Café. We eat lunch and enjoy a glass a wine (or two). The lunch menu is usually only four items each week and they usually fill us up just right. With that said, it is generally a more lavish mid-day meal than either of us is used to. I tell you this because usually after a lunch like that, I crave something light. On this particular Saturday, we visited The Fresh Market and found beautiful Atlantic salmon.
While I was craving light, my wife was craving heat. (Shhhh…Since we first met, I’ve been secretly increasing her heat tolerance which was non-existent. Now she loves almost as much heat as I do.) To satisfy both of our cravings, I decided on Asian Salmon with an udon noodle stir-fry and spicy pickled carrots. The meal did not disappoint, although I might have gone a little overboard on the heat, it was delicious. I think it worked because of pickles had a sour heat and the marinade had a sweet heat.
I apologize for the measurements (or lack thereof). I do this quite often, the whole point of this blog was to remember recipes, I just hate measuring anything. Make enough marinade for the udon as well.
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Dale’s steak seasoning (or just add more regular soy sauce)
- Fish sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- Maple Syrup
- Granulated garlic
- Powdered ginger
- Crushed red pepper flake
- 2 salmon filets, skin on
- Vegetable oil
- 1 bunch of carrots, cleaned, 1/2 cut in thin julienne, 1/2 sliced
- 1 red onion, 1/2 thinly sliced, 1/2 sliced
- Assortment of bell peppers, sliced
- 2 serrano and 2 jalapeño chili, 1 each sliced in thin strips and 1 each sliced in rings
- 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 4 green onions, sliced on the bias
- 1/2 package of udon noodles (spaghetti will work)
- Kosher salt
Spicy Carrot Pickle Directions
- Combine salt, sugar rice wine vinegar, water and the sliced rings of serrano and jalapeño peppers in an air tight container and shake to disolve salt. Again, no measurements here, just taste it and adjust to how you like your pickles.
- Add the julienne sliced carrots and thinly sliced onion to the container. If necessary, add more vinegar or water to insure all vegetables are covered.
- Place in the refridgerator. You can do this days in advance. The longer they sit, the spicier they will be.
- In a whisking bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Again, sorry for the lack of measurements here. I would say make it to your taste. If you like it sweeter add more syrup, more heat add more sriracha or crushed red pepper.
- Make several incisions in the salmon, against the grain. Place the fish in a large flat bowl and spoon marinade over. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook udon per instructions on the package. Once done, drain, rinse and set aside.
- Bring an oven safe pan to medium high heat. Add vegetable oil. Sear salmon on both sides finishing with the skin side down. Baste with extra marinade from the flat bowl. Cook through to desired done-ness.
- Meanwhile, heat a wok over medium high heat.
- Add remaining vegetables with vegetable oil and cook until desired done-ness.
- Add remaining marinade and udon noodles. Toss until coated and mixed.
- To serve, place serving of noodles topped with salmon and pickled carrots. Enjoy.
This was inspired by VeganReader’s article: “Quick Pickles – How To Make Pickles Yourself For Dinner Tonight“. If you are like me and love pickles but aren’t patient enough to wait for the actual pickling process, these are for you. Honestly, I like these better because they are fresh and crisp.
The beauty of these pickles is they are so easy and you can put whatever you want in them. I love jalapeño, dill and I love garlic so that’s what I put in them. Also, I choose rice wine vinegar because it’s my favorite. There is a lot of science as to why you are not supposed to use it for actual pickling (acidity levels, blah blah blah). The first time I made these I used all vinegar and they were good but the water helps cut a little of the sourness.
As you can see from the picture above, these go quickly so make two jars. Also, they are supposed to be eaten with a 7-10 days, but I highly doubt they will last that long.
- 3-4 small cucumbers
- 1 bottle rice wine vinegar
- 1 large jalapeño
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 bunches of fresh dill
- 2-3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 mason jars
- Place mason jars, fully submerged, in boiling water for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using a mandolin slicer cut cucumbers in thin slices. If you don’t have a mandolin, get one but you can use a knife. Cut the jalapeño in thin slices.
- Mix the rice wine vinegar with the salt. I add some water here just to balance the mix maybe 1 part water to 3 parts vinegar.
- With some tongs, remove the mason jars and lids from the boiling water. Fill the jars with cucumbers, jalapeño, garlic and dill and pour in the vinegar mixture.
- Seal up the jars and place in the refrigerator. Let chill for at least 4 hours, if you have an iron will, I suggest letting them chill overnight. THAT’S IT, start eating.