We’re in “return from vacation mode,” missing our Colorado friends and the mountains, doing laundry, easing back into work and re-stocking the fridge (my personal favorite job!). With Michigan offering lots of rain and wind to welcome us back yesterday and today, I was in the mood for bright, colorful food. I’ve made versions of this salad previously, but nailed the flavors I was looking for tonight. My crew loved the chicken, immediately naming it one of my better marinades.
As always, I think of salads as list of ingredient suggestions. I include measurements, but they are flexible. Add more of the ingredients you love; lighten up or omit the ones that aren’t your favorite (or you don’t have on hand).
I mixed a big bowl of this together, but also created a deconstructed version of the salad on the side for the kids (pictured below). Audrey loves edamame, but Aidan prefers cabbage. Aidan needed a bigger helping of chicken, and neither of them wanted their salad mixed with dressing. They both tried at least one bite of everything and peaceful mealtimes make for happier parents, so the little extra work it takes to do this is fine by me.
This salad is gluten-free, makes you feel amazing when you eat it and is totally delicious. I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s leftovers for lunch.
Crunchy Rainbow Salad with Sesame-Ginger-Honey Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos) **see note
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
10 – 12 grinds fresh black pepper
dash or two of sriracha
2 cups curly kale, shredded
1 1/2 – 2 cups green cabbage, sliced thin
1 1/2 – 2 cups purple cabbage, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
2 carrots, shredded
3/4 cup edamame, shelled
1/2 cup scallions, sliced thin
sesame seeds, add after mixing
cilantro, add after mixing
slivered almonds, add after mixing
Sesame-Ginger-Honey Salad Dressing
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon honey
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Mix chicken marinade together in a large ziploc bag. Add chicken breasts and massage the marinade into the chicken (from the outside of the bag, ensuring all of the chicken is coated). Marinate in fridge for at least two hours, and up to overnight. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 F. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet covered with a piece of parchment paper, with all of the marinade on the chicken. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, until cooked through but still juicy. Let cool enough to handle.
Start the chopping and shredding party – kale, both cabbages, bell pepper, carrots and scallions. As you finish each ingredient, toss in a large bowl. Add edamame. Prepare cilantro in a side bowl, and have sesame seeds and slivered almonds ready on the side if desired. Alternatively, make separate piles of each ingredient so people can assemble their own salad.
Meanwhile, add all dressing ingredients to a small glass jar with a lid. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, until the dressing is emulsified. Taste and adjust any of the ingredients to your preferences.
To assemble once everything is ready: Dice chicken and add to bowl with rainbow salad. Pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss well to coat.
Serve in individual bowls and add cilantro, sesame seeds and slivered almonds – these add an excellent crunch. Drizzle more dressing over the top if needed. This salad will keep well for a day or two, but I would still keep the cilantro and slivered almonds separate – these won’t keep well in the dressing. Hoping this salad brightens up your day like it did ours!