Note: We'd like to introduce you to a new weekly column around these parts that's devoted to salads. Salads aren't just rabbit food—they can be colorful, crunchy, vibrant, filling, and exciting. Jennifer of the blog Once Upon a Chef will show us how to toss up a tasty one each week. Take it away, Jennifer! —Mgmt.
This main-dish-salad is everything you want a summertime meal to be: flavorful, light and totally satisfying. Shredded roasted chicken and soba noodles are tossed in a punchy soy, ginger and peanut dressing, then brightened up with a colorful mix of red peppers, scallions and cilantro. Chopped peanuts and sesame seeds add welcome crunch.
Feel free to make the chicken and dressing ahead of time but cook and dress the noodles at the last minute so they don't get soggy. Soba noodles, the buckwheat noodles native to Japan, are available at Asian markets and many grocery stores but if you can't find them, spaghetti makes a perfectly fine substitute.
- For the chicken:
- 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or 2 cups of cooked shredded meat)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the salad:
- 10 ounces soba noodles (or spaghetti)
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- For the dressing:
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a foil lined sheet pan. Rub the skin with vegetable oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions, stirring occasionally so they don't stick. Drain and rinse well under cold water.
Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Blitz until mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, you can whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl; just be sure to mince the garlic and stir until peanut butter is completely dissolved.)
Remove skin from chicken breasts and shred meat into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss shredded chicken with noodles, dressing, bell peppers, peanuts, scallions, cilantro and sesame seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.