Chinese Chick’n Salad: A Flavor Explosion

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Sometimes you get a very serious craving and nothing else can get done until it’s satisfied. That happened to me with this Chinese Chick’n salad. Whether you chose to use faux chicken, some sesame baked tofu, or no protein at all, the salad itself also shines bright all on its own. I just love Gardein crispy tenders. They are like crack. Trader Joe’s makes a version of them as well. What can I say, I’m a sucker for vegan junk food.

I swapped out the traditional romaine for lacinato kale to give it some richer color and a formidable CRUNCH! The great thing about this salad as well, is that it holds up in the fridge, even if it’s already been dressed. This makes it a great leftovers-for-lunch-the-next-day meal. It’s also quick to throw together. And since we already have the faux chicken strips, this salad needed some healthy upgrades to off-set the greasy breaded tenders. This updated version of the salad gets a lot of added pizazz with a generous amount of fresh herbs. Gone are the canned syrup-soaked mandarin oranges and deep fried wonton strips. In their place we have fresh tangerine segments and crushed peanuts. Spicy, cool, nutty, crunchy, tangy, sweet, and refreshing, try the flavor explosion for yourself!

Chinese Chick’n Salad: A Flavor Explosion

Makes about 4 servings

1/2 head of green cabbage, finely shredded

10 leaves of lacinato kale, stems removed and finely shredded

1 cup shredded carrots

1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and leaves chopped (about 12 sprigs)

1 bunch mint, stems removed and leaves chopped (about 12 sprigs)

1/2 bell, finely chopped

1/2 cup peanuts, crushed

12 gardein crispy tenders, or protein of your choice

1-2 tangerines, peeled and sectioned

Chinese Chick’n Salad Dressing:

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2.5 tbs peanut butter

2 tsp hot sesame oil

2.5 tb agave

1 tb coconut oil

Cook the Gardein strips according to the package. I put mine on a foil lined pan in the toaster oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Taste it and adjust any flavors as needed. Pour the sauce over the salad and toss really well. The salad will shrink a bit in size as you toss so don’t worry if it seems like a huge amount of veggies when you start!

Once cooked, slice up the chicken strips.

To serve, put a big heap of salad on each plate. Top with chicken strips and tangerine segments. Sprinkle the crushed peanuts on top. DIG IN!

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BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sliders with Creamy Coleslaw

pulled jackfruit sliders

I love the Super Bowl! Not because I enjoy watching football, (well the Puppy Bowl, yeah, of course) but because I love cooking Super Bowl food! I don’t dislike football, I just… well, I just don’t care. (Sorry husband!) I probably should have posted this before the big game day, but I didn’t know what I would make until the last second. Plus, there is no reason to only enjoy these sliders once a year! These make great party food. I actually have requests to make them again tomorrow night. I made these in the morning and sent them off with my roommates who went to a friend’s party, and later I got messages from the party-goers saying, ‘Wait, you mean those weren’t pork!?’

Muahahaha, success.

Jackfruit is awesome, you’re not going to get 37% of your required vitamin C from pork, lemme tell you. We also had black bean chili, guacamole, chips, and plenty of beer.

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sliders with Creamy Coleslaw

makes about 16 sliders

1 can of Jackfruit, canned or fresh (about 1 pound)

1 shallot, finely sliced

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 splash of beer

2 tbs olive oil

1 cup barbecue sauce

1 loaf of french bread, sliced and toasted

 

Creamy Coleslaw

1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup vegan Mayo (like Just Mayo or Veganaise)

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp mustard

a sprinkle of garlic powder

lots of salt and pepper

Rinse the jackfruit and use 2 forks (or fingers) to shred it up. Combine shallots and jackfruit in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Stir it every 10 seconds or so, until it starts to dry out, turn brown around the edges, and stick to the pan– about 10 minutes. Splash the beer in there to unstick everything, and keep stirring until it drys out again. Add the salt, pepper,  garlic powder, and olive oil, and cook a few minutes longer. Add the barbecue sauce, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Cook a couple more minutes to caramelize the sauce a bit, and remove from heat.

Combine all the coleslaw ingredients in a big bowl and toss to thoroughly combine.

I toasted my bread in a panini press to flatten it down a bit, because my slices were too thick! So slice your bread appropriately. 🙂

Scoop a few tablespoons of pulled jackfruit onto one slice of bread, some coleslaw on another, then slap em’ together, using a toothpick to hold it all together.

Go team! Or whatever! (Oh look, food!)

 

 

P.S. this is what a jackfruit looks like!

P.S. this is what a jackfruit looks like!

Mushroom Tapenade Toasts

Mushroom Tapenade Toasts

In the mood for something savory? These flavorful little appetizers are rich and intense, with lots of herbs and umami flavors. Serve them as tapas, hors d’oeuvres, or even have them as a brunch item like I did. There is something about the combination of mushroom, olive, and rosemary that is so delightful. You don’t have to serve these open face either, make a whole sandwich and then press it with a panini press for a deliciously crispy sandwich.

Mushroom Tapenade Toasts

Serves 2

2 tbs first cold pressed olive oil

8 ounces crimini mushrooms, finely chopped

12 pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped

8 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

1 tsp fresh thyme, minced

2 fresh sage leaves, minced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup white wine

8 slices crusty bread (I used Kalamata olive bread)

1/2 cup tahini (you can also use hummus if you prefer!)

white truffle oil for drizzling

 

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the mushrooms and olives, stir them around to coat then let them cook for a couple minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add the garlic, herbs and spices. continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes, or till all moisture has evaporated, being careful not to burn the garlic. Pour the white wine into the pan to deglaze and scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir it in. Continue to cook until the wine is evaporated. Toast the bread either in a toaster or on a hot grill and spread a dollop if tahini on each piece. Then top each piece of toast with a scoop of the mushroom-olive mixture, then drizzle with the white truffle oil.

Truly decadent little morsels!

 

Mushroom Tapenade Tapas