With summer already feeling underway and technically beginning in a couple days, we are probably all enjoying fresh produce more and main dish salads with creative ingredients and homemade dressings aren't hard to find. This one is one of my favorites because it brings to much to the table. Lots of color, crunch, varying textures, and so very much flavor. It's definitely a recipe for a regular menu reprise.
There are a lot of ways to tweak this recipe and I won't list them all here. Needless to say, if you have fresh produce on hand that you'd prefer to use, go for it. Favor varieties of colors and flavors to keep things interesting. If you love heat, add some hot sauce or more red pepper flakes to the dressing. If you don't have rotisserie chicken, use chopped leftovers (even pork or shrimp will work) or cook a chicken breast or two and chop it for this salad. Or use tofu or skip the main protein and use multiple seeds and nuts in the mix. You get the idea.
This salad can stand on its own, but I rather enjoy making some egg rolls or potstickers to serve alongside it. Then you've got a combination of cold food and hot food going on and the result is even more variety on your plate. Enjoy!
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons less sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ lime, juiced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 8 ounces 3-color coleslaw mix
- 3 green onions, chopped
- ½ cup coarsely shredded carrot
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken breast meat, chopped
- 1 package instant ramen noodles
- 1 avocado, chopped
- ½ cup roasted pepitas, peanuts, or soy nuts
Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 2 minutes, or until smooth and emulsified. Set aside, or if making ahead, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large serving bowl combine the romaine, coleslaw mix, green onion, shredded carrot, red bell pepper, and rotisserie chicken. Break the ramen noodles and reserve the seasoning packet for another use (try it over popcorn). Add the crushed noodles to the bowl with the vegetables. Toss well to combine. Drizzle about ¾ of the peanut dressing over the salad and toss well. Add the avocado and pepitas and toss lightly. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top and serve immediately.
- Yields: 4-6 servings
- Preparation Time: 20 minutes