Banh Mi Chicken Salad

Banh Mi Chicken Salad

Salads are always a great way to get more vegetables into your diet and I am always looking for creative ways of turning salads into light meals. Not too long ago I came across the idea of a banh mi salad on A Spicy Perspective which sounded pretty amazing given how much of a fan of banh mi sandwiches that I am and the salad would definitely eat like a meal! This salad starts out with a base of lettuce to which is added common elements of banh mi sandwiches such as cool and juicy cucumbers, sweet and salty pickled carrots and daikon radish and spicy birds eye chilies for heat. Of course this salad would not really be a light meal without some protein and chicken is always a great way to go for salads. I have always enjoyed using meat cooked in a Vietnamese caramel sauce that nicely blends aspects of sweetness, saltiness, sourness and spiciness in my banh mi sandwiches so a Vietnamese caramel chicken was definitely the way to go. With all of this the banh mi salad was just about ready; it just needed an insanely tasty banh mi dressing and the dressing had to include the final aspects of a banh mi sandwich such as the mayonnasie. (See below for the dressing.) This salad takes a bit of work to make from scratch but it is definitely worth the effort and you can make things easier by making some of the sub-recipes a day or more ahead of time. The final result is one extremely tasty salad that truly does remind you of a banh mi sandwich!

Banh Mi Chicken Salad
Add the banh mi dressing and toss.

Banh Mi Chicken Salad
Ah, I can finally enjoy a plate of this fabulously tasty salad!

Banh Mi Chicken Salad

Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken

Banh Mi Dressing
Of course for a banh mi inspired salad I was going to need a banh mi inspired dressing! To me this meant including elements and flavours of a banh mi and trying to create a nice balance between sweet, salty, sour and spicy. I started out with a Vietnamese caramel sauce for the sweet and bitter elements followed by fish sauce for saltiness, lime juice for sourness and birds eye chilies for spicy the heat. I was still missing one element of a Banh mi sandwich, the mayonnaise and adding it to the dressing seemed like the perfect way to work it into the salad! I filled out the flavours of the dressing with garlic, ginger and shallots creating a super tasty dressing that really does remind one of a banh mi sandwich!

Vietnamese Caramel Sauce

Banh Mi Chicken Salad

Banh Mi Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Servings: 4

A salad inspired by the flavours on Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches with chicken in a Vietnamese caramel sauce, lettuce, cucumber, pickled carrots and radish and a tasty dressing!

  • 2 medium Vietnamese caramel chicken breasts (see below), sliced
  • 6 cups lettuce, sliced
  • 2 cups cucumber, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled daikon radish
  • 1/4 cup pickled carrots
  • cilantro to taste, torn
  • 2 birds eye chilies, sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup banh mi dressing (see below)
  1. Assemble the salad, toss in dressing and enjoy!

Tip: Throw this salad onto a bed of rice vermicelli noodles to make it more hearty.
Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken

Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes Servings: 2

Chicken breasts cooked in a sweet, sour, salty and spicy Vietnamese caramel sauce.

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (~1 lime)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 birds eye chili, sliced or 2 teaspoons chili sauce (such as sriracha)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  1. Heat the water and sugar in a large frying pan over medium heat and simmer until it turns a deep golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Mix the fish sauce, lime juice, and water and carefully add it to the pan, then heat until the caramel dissolves.
  3. Add the chili, garlic and shallots and simmer until tender, about a minute.
  4. Add the chicken and simmer until cooked, about 4-6 minutes per side and set aside.
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer the sauce until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Serve the chicken topped with the reduced caramel sauce.
Banh Mi Dressing

Banh Mi Dressing

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes Servings: 1

A dressing inspired by Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches.

  • 1/4 cup Vietnamese caramel sauce (see below)
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (~2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 birds eye chili, sliced or 2 teaspoons chili sauce (such as sriracha)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  1. Mix everything and enjoy.
Banh Caramel Sauce

Vietnamese Caramel Sauce

Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Servings: 1

A bittersweet Vietnamese caramel sauce used in various dishes.

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Heat the water and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat and simmer until it turns a deep golden brown with hints or reds and blacks, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Carefully add the water and stir until the caramel has melted into it.

Note: Vietnamese caramel is generally cooked more than a sweet caramel sauce; until it reaches a deep amber with hints of red, to give it a bitter sweet taste but without burning it.
Tip: This will keep in a sealed container on your counter for months.


Christine @ Cooking Crusade said...

Oh snap! I actually have taken to ordering banh mi chicken salads from my fave places for a gluten free version - plus its soo tasty! I definitely will give this a go at home!

Anonymous said...

Kev... You take the best pics!! Even if I don't find the ingredients appealing, I find the recipe's picture attractive... LOL


Gloria @ Simply Gloria said...

I just showed my teen son your pics and he's begging me to go the store and get the ingredients asap so we can make this dish! (=

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A scrumptious salad! Simply perfect.



Foodycat said...

Good idea! It means you get more of everything than you can fit on a sandwich too.

Little Kitchie said...

Don't know how I've never thought of a banh mi salad?! That dressing sounds fabulous!

Sarah said...

The dressing sounds so good!

marla said...

Love all the flavors in the salad Kevin!!

Aimee @ Simple Bites said...

I can't wait to fill my face with this! I'd settle for just the chicken, but the whole package looks incredible.

Julie @ Table for Two said...

I love the flavors in this! Awesome way to deconstruct the sandwich and make it into a salad! Yummy :)

Maria said...

Great flavors!

Gina @ Skinnytaste said...

Seriously love this!!!!


Awe Kevin,I'm honored you like my salad. Your version is STUNNING!

Kelly Senyei (Just a Taste) said...

What absolutely stunning photographs, Kevin! I'd love to have this for lunch today. Do you deliver to midtown Manhattan? :)

Pam said...

What a beautiful salad that sounds so tasty! Great flavors Kevin.

Gaby said...

I've never made Banh Mi anything at home. I need to change that STAT!

Monet said...

What a great recipe, Kevin. Ryan and I love Vietnamese food and banh mi sandwiches. I'd love to try the salad version. Thank you for sharing, my friend. I hope today and this week brings many blessings and more good food!

Jenny said...

Loving everything about this salad Kevin! Two thumbs up!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I love Banh Mi sandwiches and even make them sometimes! I will definitely have to try this...

Neil said...

You and I are clearly living on a different planet. Banh mi, !! And, in the real world, who on earth is going to seek out a Vietmanese chicken ? And who has ever measured their lettuce by the cup !? Did your grandad run up the beach in Normandy so that you could 'deconstruct' a sandwich ? Good Grief...

Neil said...

You know.. I'll be back here to check...N

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