Grilled Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad

If you have gotten this far in your summer without making a grilled salad, I'm so sorry for not putting the idea out there earlier. There's no time like the present to start though, right? And if you think a grilled salad is as simple as a salad with some grilled chicken or steak on it, you're in for a culinary adventure!

When I'm looking to add extra pizzazz to my main course salads, I definitely think about searing some protein (think shrimp, pork, chicken, steak, tofu, etc.) to include. But I don't stop there. Vegetables are fantastic on the grill and everything from zucchini to peppers to cabbage are amazing when grilled. If that last one had you tilting your head, this recipe is for you.

When grilled, vegetables like cabbage, fennel, and radicchio soften slightly and their flavors become more complex, a little sweet, and more than a little smoky. They become salad stars and this clever salad boasts both grilled cabbage and fennel. Now, if you are like my husband and don't care for fennel, try grilling it anyway. It happens to be the only way he likes it! Combine the chopped grilled vegetables with beautiful, hearty herbs and greens and give them a generous splash of dressing that has it all. Spicy, sweet, salty, and more drizzled over fresh and grilled veggies, bright herbs, some grilled chicken, and even peanuts makes this a busy salad to delight all your senses.

For me, I like to make this the main course and serve it with summer rolls and/or dumplings and tall glasses of iced tea. I know summer is nearly at an end, but if you're like me, you'll be firing up the grill for the rest of the year and making salads part of that process only gets sweeter as summer gives way to fall!

Grilled Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad

For the salad:
  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium-sized green cabbage, cut into quarters
  • 3 fennel bulbs, sliced in half on the diagonal
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup chopped mint leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped basil leaves
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1 cup finely chopped rainbow chard
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • ⅓ cup roasted peanuts
For the dressing:
  • 2 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tamari
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix the tamari with one tablespoon of the olive oil and pour over the chicken breast (in a dish) turning chicken to coat. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes (up to 4 hours), while the grill is being prepared. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, until it reaches about 400°F internally.

Brush the cabbage and fennel pieces with olive oil and salt. Grill the cabbage on all sides, about 3 minutes each side. Move the cabbage to the side of grill where no flame has been ignited to allow it to cook further using the indirect heat cooking method. Remove the fennel to a heat proof dish and allow it to cool.

Add the chicken to the hot side of the grill. Allow it to sear by not moving it and letting it cook on one side for 4 minutes. Then flip chicken breast, and cook for another 8-10 minutes, depending on thickness of the chicken, until internal temperature reaches 160°F. Remove the cabbage and chicken from grill, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Cut out the core from each cabbage wedge and thinly slice the cabbage leaves. Chop the grilled fennel into bite-sized pieces. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the chicken.

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large glass pan or bowl.

In a jar with a resealable lid, combine all of the dressing ingredients, affix the lid, and shake vigorously to form a smooth dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to combine.

  • Yields: 10-12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes, plus marinating time