Thai Crunch Salad

For the most part, I typically try to avoid chain restaurants because there are so many other wonderful restaurants out there to try. I love to eat local when I can. But sometimes when traveling – especially for hockey, eating at a chain restaurant is the only option. Whether it’s because there aren’t any other choices or the team chooses a chain for a team dinner, sometimes it’s dinner at a chain restaurant. I am never sad when we have ended up at the California Pizza Kitchen because I always know it means that I get to eat this Thai Crunch Salad.

A few years ago, I came across the California Pizza Kitchen Family Cookbook and I was thrilled to see that there was a recipe for the Thai Crunch Salad included! I have adjusted the recipe a little to use fewer ingredients and to make it a good bit healthier. The result is crunchy, fresh awesomeness!

If you are not interested in slicing and dicing cabbage and carrots, you can use a bagged chopped Asian salad that is made mostly of cabbage. Just save the dressing for another time. Bonus, the salad kid usually comes with fried wontons!

The Lime-Cilantro Dressing is easy to make in the blender, but feel free to use bottled Thai peanut dressing if you don’t want to bother with homemade. I use bottled peanut dressing about half the time.

As far as the crunchy stuff – the wonton crisps are mandatory, but the rice noodle crisps are more for an impressive presentation. Both crispy ingredients are incredibly easy to make, as you’ll see below. If I happen to have some rice noodles in the pantry, I usually make them because they are seriously no more trouble when the oil is already hot and they are totally cool to watch when they hit the pan.

Thai Crunch Salad

1 small head Napa cabbage, shredded

1/2 small head red cabbage, shredded

1 large carrot, shredded

1/2 cup sliced green onion

1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup shelled edamame

1/2 cup roasted peanuts

1-2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 medium Hass avocado, diced

Thai Peanut Dressing (recipe below or use store bought)

Lime-Cilantro Dressing (recipe below)

12 wonton wrappers, sliced into 6-8 strips

1 cup uncooked Rice vermicelli (optional)

Place cabbages, carrots, scallions, cucumber, cilantro, edamame and peanuts in a large mixing or salad bowl and toss ingredients to mix. Add chopped chicken.

Heat about 1/4 inch of canola oil in a small skillet until oil ripples, but not yet smoking. Once hot, add wonton strips to oil in batches until golden brown. Drain on a paper bag/towels. If using the rice noodles, fry uncooked noodles in small batches. They will expand very rapidly as soon as they touch the oil. Turn the noodles once and drain on a paper bag/towels.

Pour Lime-Cilantro Dressing over vegetables and toss mixture until thoroughly dressed. Gently toss in Fried Wonton Strips.

Divide salad among 4 large plates. Sprinkle Crisp Rice Sticks over salad and drizzle Thai Peanut Dressing over the whole salad. Top with avocado and serve immediately.

Lime-Cilantro Dressing

1/2 small red pepper, cut into approximately 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup cilantro

2 tablespoons honey

1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice (from one lime)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Combine ingredients in food processor or blender and process until smooth – approximately 30-60 seconds.

Thai Peanut Dressing

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 1/2 teaspoons water

1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

pinch red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon canola oil

Whisk ingredients in small bowl. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s