Kung Pao Chicken Salad with Sichuan Dressing

Kung Pao Chicken Salad with Sichuan Dressing
Summer is salad season and if you are board with plain old lettuce, tomato and cucumber salads with ranch dressing or italian dressing, etc., then try this salad inspired by the flavours of your favourite Chinese takeout dish, kung pao chicken. The salad itself is pretty simple with lettuce (I like to use kale sometimes), chicken, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, green onions and peanuts but it's the tasty dressing that really makes this salad shine! The sichuan flavour inspired dressing starts out with the usual suspects including rice vinegar, oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and some sesame oil for that amazing aroma. The main focus of the dressing is of course the sichuan chili oil which is an oil that is infused with chilies and sichuan peppercorns where the chilies provide the spicy heat and the sichuan peppercorns add their signature mouth numbing effect in addition to a fabulous aroma. (You should be able to find the sichuan peppercorns at your local asian grocery store or you can order them online or you can just omit them.) The dressing is finished off with some sesame paste or peanut butter making it nice and thick and creamy! When you combine the tasty and spicy dressing with the cool and crunchy salad it's like a magical symphony of flavours and textures in your mouth! The next time you have a craving for kung pao chicken, try this salad instead; it's lighter, healthier and it can be made in just 15 minutes!

Note: The recipe as written gives a very mildly spicy dressing so if you don't like heat it's perfect for you! If you do like things spicy, add as much sambal oelek or sriracha as desired! (I add a lot! :)

Kung Pao Chicken Salad with Sichuan Dressing
A nice and clean presentation.

Kung Pao Chicken Salad with Sichuan Dressing
Add dressing.

Kung Pao Chicken Salad with Sichuan Dressing
Mix everything up and enjoy!

Kung Pao Chicken Salad with Sichuan Dressing
Kung Pao Chicken Salad with Sichuan Dressing

Kung Pao Chicken Salad with Sichuan Dressing

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes Servings: 4

A kung pao chicken inspired salad with a tasty, spicy and creamy dressing with sichuan Chinese style flavours including sichuan peppercorns.

    For the sichuan dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon black rice vinegar, aka Chinkiang or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon sichuan chili oil*
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame paste or tahini or peanut butter
  • For the salad:
  • 6 cups salad green such as romaine, kale, etc, sliced
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 2 carrots, julienned or sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
    For the sichuan dressing:
  1. Mix everything well.
  2. For the salad:
  3. Toss everything with the dressing and enjoy!

Note: Make you own sichuan chili oil by heating 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat, turn off the heat, add 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon sichuan peppercorns, let cool and strain the solids from the oil. You can also replace the sichuan chili oil with 1 teaspoon sambal oelek and 1/2 teaspoon ground sichuan peppercorns or you can omit the sichuan pepper altogether.
Option: Increase the amount of the sichuan chili oil or add some sambal oelek to make things a little spicier!
Nutrition Facts: Calories 276, Fat 15g (Saturated 2g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 52mg, Sodium 195mg, Carbs 13g (Fiber 4g, Sugars 6g), Protein 22g
Nutrition by: Nutritional facts powered by Edamam


Heather Christo said...

this is exactly the kind of summer food I'm craving right now!

Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom said...

Kevin, I love this salad!!!!!

Jenny said...

Gorgeous gorgeous salad!!!

marla {Family Fresh Cooking} said...

Now this is my kind of healthy salad!

Christina said...

This looks amazing. I love "meal salads" and especially one with Asian ingredients. Can't wait to give this one a try!

Diane Young said...

I just found dinner for tonight. Looks so yummy.

Elaine said...

We enjoyed this wonderful, flavorful salad last night for dinner. So fresh and delicious!! I did double the dressing as we like plenty of dressing. Thanks, Kevin, for yet another awesome recipe!!!!!!!!

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