Category Archives: Salads

Chicken adobo salad

Chicken adobo salad

Chicken adobo is often called the national dish of the Phillipines. The chicken is cooked with soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic. I thought this would be good for a salad.

The first recipe I found when looking for ideas online said that a distinctive aspect of adobo chicken is that the chicken is cooked in the liquid first and then browned at the end. This is just the opposite of many dishes such as chicken fricasee and coq au vin where the chicken is browned first. But other recipes did have you browning the chicken first, and still others didn’t brown at all. I decided to cook in the liquid and then finish with a quick browning under the broiler.

Then came the the question of what to do with the rest of the salad. I know nothing about Filipino cuisine, so back to Google for ideas. I found recipes for just about any kind of salad, many using familiar ingredients. I saw several recipes that combined cucumbers and carrots, both in a straight cucumber salad (with red onions) and in a slaw, with cabbage. I thought these would go well.

Vinegar is a primary ingredient for the dressings for some cucumber salads, so having the cucumber with the adobo chicken with the vinegar was a good choice. To emphasize the vinegar on the salad, I altered the proportions for my dressing, using equal amounts of oil and the soy-vinegar mixture from the chicken.

Chicken adobo salad

2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
5–6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
fresh ground pepper

spring mix lettuce and spinach
cucumber, sliced thin
carrots, sliced thin
red onion, sliced very thin

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Put the chicken thighs in a pan with the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, turning the chicken over once about half way through.

Remove the chicken thighs. Place them under the broiler for 2 or 3 minutes to brown. Then let them rest a few minutes before slicing.

Take 2 tablespoons of the soy-vinegar cooking liquid and combine with the oil for the dressing. Boil the remainder of the liquid down by at least half, until it starts to thicken, to concentrate the sauce for spooning over the chicken.

Arrange the cucumber, carrots, and onions on the lettuce and spinach. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil and soy-vinegar mixture. Spoon the dressing over the salad.

Slice the chicken. Place in the middle of the salad. Spoon the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken.

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

This is another one of my favorite pasta salads. It has the same ingredients as the artichoke and sun-dried tomato salad posted earlier, just substituting the farfalla for the lettuce. Actually, the idea for this combination came first for this pasta salad. I later adapted it to make the other salad.

Chicken artichoke farfalla salad

slightly less than 1 cup farfalla
1 cup cooked chicken breast, bite-sized pieces
1/2 large can artichoke hearts, cut into quarters or sixths
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon herbs de provence
3 tablespooons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cook the farfalla as instructed on the package, drain, and rinse to cool (or cook earlier and cool in refrigerator).

Combined the ingredients and toss to mix.

Mexican salad

Mexican salad

This is my take on a very common type of salad. Salads like this are often called taco salads, but I reserve that name for salads in a tortilla bowl, or at least with some form of tortilla along with the salad.

Use the seasoning of your choice with the ground beef. I use Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming, which is salt-free. But whatever you choose, use plenty of seasoning, as the very well-seasoned ground beef gives the character to the salad.

Mexican salad

1/4–1/3 pound ground beef
taco or other southwestern-style seasoning

romaine lettuce
red and green bell pepper
black olives, sliced
red onion, sliced thin

ranch dressing
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salsa or pico de gallo
sour cream

Cook the ground beef with a generous amount of the seasoning.
Start the salad with a generous amount of romaine lettuce. Add the avocado, tomato, red and green pepper, olives, and onion. Place the ground beef in the middle. Add modest amount of ranch dressing. Top with the shredded cheese. Add dollops of salsa and sour cream.

Teriyaki chicken salad

Teriyaki chicken salad

I always like pineapple with teriyaki chicken, so that was my starting point for this salad. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for their fuller flavor, but you could certainly use a piece of chicken breast instead. For the dressing, a vinaigrette with teriyaki sauce was an obvious choice. I included honey, as I felt that the sweetness would work well with the rest of the salad.

Teriyaki chicken salad

1 or 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs, depending on size and appetite
teriyaki sauce

baby spinach
mushrooms, sliced
scallions, sliced, including plenty of the green part

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed, or 1/2 of a large clove
fresh ground pepper

Marinate chicken thighs in teriyaki sauce in a plastic bag for an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken thighs on a rack in a baking pan. Brush on bit more of the teriyaki sauce. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn on broiler and place the chicken under broiler for about 3 minutes to further brown to tops and finish cooking. Watch closely to not burn. Check that the thighs are cooked through by slicing in or reading a temperature of 160 to 165 on an instant-read thermometer. The thermometer is likely to be practical only for thicker thighs, inserted from the side into the middle. If not cooked through, you can just leave them in the oven for a few more minutes.

You want to let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing, so there is no need to start the final assembly of the salad before you take the chicken out.

Put mushrooms and scallions on the spinach, reserving some of the green parts. Whisk or shake in a jar the oil, vinegar, honey, teriyaki sauce, ginger, garlic, and fresh ground pepper. Pour over the salad. Slice the chicken thighs and place in the middle of the salad. Top the chicken with the remaining green parts of the scallions. Put chunks of pineapple on the salad.

Barbecue chicken salad

Barbecue chicken salad

From barbecue chicken to barbecue chicken pizza to barbecue chicken frittata to barbecue chicken salad. My wife thought I was being terribly derivative and uncreative. I think there’s something to be said for adapting an idea from one type of food to another totally different type of food. You decide.

The ingredients are essentially the same as for the barbecue chicken frittata, substituting the lettuce for the eggs.

I struggled with the dressing for this salad. My first thought was to make a barbecue vinaigrette, adding perhaps a tablespoon of barbecue sauce to a vinaigrette, and carrying the barbecue sauce flavor throughout the salad. Then I thought that this would be too much, that a nice creamy vinaigrette would contrast nicely with the barbecue-sauced chicken. I even contemplated the idea of making the salad with half of each, to see which I liked better. I finally came up with the idea of making the creamy vinaigrette with a small amount of barbecue sauce. I liked the way this worked.

Barbecue chicken salad

1 cup cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
barbecue sauce, enough to coat the chicken breast pieces

romaine lettuce
red onion, thinly sliced
olives, sliced
1/3 to 1/2 cup smoked Gouda, cut into pieces (I did a fat julienne)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1–1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon barbecue sauce
fresh ground pepper

Mix the chicken with enough barbecue sauce to coat.

Put the onions and olives on the romaine. Whisk, or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, barbecue sauce, and pepper. Spoon the dressing over the salad.

Put the chicken in the middle and the smoked Gouda around the sides.

Indian salad

Indian salad

This salad was inspired by dishes and flavors of India.

I started with the idea of using tandoori chicken for the salad. Indian food includes so many great vegetable dishes, which I looked to as a complement to the chicken. Gobi aloo–cauliflower and potatoes–is a very common dish which I have made. I thought the cauliflower prepared that way might go well. (I didn’t want the potatoes on the salad.) And the dressing is a vinaigrette seasoned with garam masala, the common Indian spice mix.

For the tandoori chicken, I strongly encourage using the boneless skinless thighs. I think their more robust flavor works better here than chicken breasts. I used the tandoori spice mixture from Penzey’s spices, but you could certainly make your own mixture of spices. Just google tandoori spice for ideas (which vary greatly from recipe to recipe).

Garam masala is another spice mixture and is commonly used in South Asian cuisine. Once again, you could make your own, but this is more widely available and certainly worth the effort to try to find it if you plan on making even a few Indian dishes.

When I had the idea for the salad, I was confident that the various elements would be good, as I had made the tandoori chicken and the gobi aloo before. But I wasn’t sure how well they would work together as a salad. I really liked the result and will definitely be making it again.

Indian salad

1 or 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs (depending on size, appetite)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon tandoori spice
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1–1/2 cups cauliflower in bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 heaping teaspoon ginger paste
1/8 heaping teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 heaping teaspoon paprika
1/4 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 heaping teaspoon garam masala

lettuce (I used a combination of spring mix and baby spinach)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 clove garlic, pressed (or less if large clove)
fresh ground pepper

Mix yogurt, tandoori spice, and lemon juice in a plastic bag. Add the chicken thighs and mix together. Marinate 4 to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken thighs on rack in a baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes (but check earlier if thighs are small and thin) until they reach an internal temperature of 160–165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Turn on the broiler and place the chicken under the broiler for a few minutes to further brown the tops.

After taking the chicken breasts out of the oven (you want to give them time to rest), start the cauliflower. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds, garlic, and ginger and cook for about a minute. Add the cauliflower and turn the heat down to low. Sprinkle all over the cauliflower the mixture of the tumeric, paprika, ground cumin, and garam masala. Cover the pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning over once or twice, until the cauliflower is just starting to soften. (You still want to retain some of its crispness for the salad.)

Place the cauliflower on the lettuce. Whisk or shake in a jar the oil, vinegar, garam masala, garlic, and fresh ground pepper. Pour over the salad. Slice the chicken thighs and place in the middle of the salad.

Scallops and spring vegetables salad

Scallops with spring vegetables salad

My daughter and I have each made, multiple times, a wonderful scallops with spring vegetables dish from the Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. This is a hot entree, with the scallops and vegetables coated with a great saffron sauce. This recipe was the direct inspiration for this salad. The salad includes pretty much the same ingredients, though obviously prepared and assembled differently.

A key to this salad (as to many things) is to make sure none of the ingredients are overcooked. The cooked vegetables should remain crisp. And with the scallops, yes, the 30 seconds for cooking is all that the slices require.

For dressing the salad, I made a saffron vinaigrette. I started with oil and lemon juice, since lemon always goes well with seafood. When cooking with saffron, the cooking causes the flavor and color to be released throughout the preparation. I wondered about how this would work with a saffron vinaigrette. My solution was to make the vinaigrette, with the saffron, an hour before I would finish the salad. I beat the mixture vigorously not just to mix the oil and lemon juice (even then, of course, only temporarily) but to break up the saffron threads and mix them up. It worked. The flavor and color of the saffron was gradually infused in the dressing. I could see it getting more yellow over time.

Of course, if you don’t have saffron, the straight oil and lemon juice vinaigrette would work just fine.

Scallops with spring vegetables salad

3–4 sea scallops, sliced into thirds
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup haricots verts cut into about 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
butter lettuce

3/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup water
1 small shallot or 1/2 larger shallot, minced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
several saffron threads

The scallops, peas, and haricots verts need to be cooked ahead of time so they can cool before making the salad. They don’t have to be refrigerator temperature. Somewhat warmer than that is actually better. I would say doing this a hour or so before you plan to have the salad would be fine. Of course it could be much earlier. But then I would take these ingredients out of the refrigerator a little before making the salad so they would not be as cold.

To cook the scallops, put the wine, water, and minced shallot into a pot, bring to the simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes to combine the flavors. If the scallops are frozen, thaw under running cold water. Cut off the little muscle on the side of the scallops if present. Slice the scallops crosswise into thirds, giving 3 nice rounds about 1/4-inch or so thick. Put the scallops into the wine, water, and shallot mixture. When it returns to the simmer, which should happen quite quickly, time the cooking for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, and take out the scallops with a slotted spoon.

For the peas and haricots verts, bring 2 more pots of water to the boil. Add the peas, bring back to the boil, and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. For the haricots verts, add to the pot, bring back to the boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Again drain and rinse with cold water.

An hour or so before the final preparation, mix the oil, lemon juice and saffron threads. You only need a few threads. How much is really a judgment call–something of a guess as far as I’m concerned. Whisk this very vigorously for 30 seconds to a minute. The object here is to break up the saffron threads and get them to started infusing their color and flavor into the dressing.

For the final preparation, cut the butter lettuce into small pieces–you want this mixed up with the other vegetables, not dominating. Add the peas, haricot verts, and carrots, tossing everything together. Now whisk the vinaigrette, pour about 2/3 over the salad, and toss again.

Put the salad on the plate. Lay the scallop slices on top. Spoon a little of the remaining vinaigrette on top of each scallop slice.