gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, grain free
The other night, we cooked a beautiful piece of grass-fed & grass-finished rump steak from our favourite butcher GRUB (click here to check them out!), along with steamed greens and sweet potato hash cakes. However, between repetitive attempts at resettling our baby (If you have any tips, then please send them my way!), our dinner went cold…. Sound familiar?
Well here’s a simple solution: make something which is best served cold…Hence my Vietnamese Chicken Salad. It’s perfect served at room temperature and while it’s quick to prepare, it’s also a dish that you can prepare element by element throughout the day too. Even better, it’s a one-utensil-wonder and can easily be devoured in front of the television, on the couch, with just a fork or a set of chop sticks…. (I love to use chop sticks when I eat anything remotely Asian – they tend to make me eat a little slower and enjoy my food more!)
So what’s in it? This salad is low on carbs and has lots of leafy greens. The chicken provides low fat protein and the dressing is plain, simple and sugar free, comprising equally conservative portions of freshly squeezed lime juice and fish sauce respectively. I’ve titled it a ‘chicken’ salad, but prawns or beef would be great alternatives. I used ‘Squid’ brand fish sauce. This is the brand that super-chef Neil Perry recommends in his book titled ‘Balance & Harmony – Asian Food’.
I don’t know if it’s the pale colour or just the crepe-paper-like curl of the leaves, but I am in no way a fan of chinese cabbage. As such, I’ve actually added a couple of large dark leafy greens (DLGs) to enhance the colour and nutritional quality of this salad. The darker your DLGs, the healthier they are for you, so perhaps that may be where my aversion to Chinese cabbage lies and hence why you will seldom see any recipes using ‘iceberg’ lettuce on my blog too!
Getting back to how to enjoy it – If you don’t eat it all in on go, then you can use the leftovers to fill rice paper rolls for lunch the next day – now how’s that for a great ‘sandwich’ idea!? I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we did!
- Chopping Board
- Kitchen Knife
- Salad Bowl
- 240g chicken breast, steamed, then shredded*
- 1/4 Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 large peeled carrot, spiralled or grated
- 1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
- 1 cup coriander leaves, loosely packed
- 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 lrg kale or cavolo nero leaves, finely shredded (optional)
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
*You can steam the chicken in a regular vegetable steamer or bamboo steamer for approximately 10-15 mins, leaving it to rest in the steamer with the lid on, for a further 15-20 mins. (While resting, we want to keep the heat in, so don’t remove the lid!) Following resting time, shred the chicken into as many thin strips as possible, noting that the finer you shred it, the further it will appear to go.
- Add the chicken, cabbage, carrot, mint, coriander, chilli and kale to a large salad bowl and toss to combine.
- In a separate small bowl, mix the lime juice with the fish sauce and set aside.
- When you’re ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over and toss through the salad.
- Need more carbs? (FYI vegetables are carbs – yes even the even the green ones!) but if you need something more substantial, you can serve this salad with a side of steamed brown rice.
- Jazz it up – Use the salad as filling for rice paper rolls. Note that rice noodles, nor anything else need be added. (Rice and bean curd noodles are a cheap nutrient-poor filler, which take-up space that could be otherwise filled with far more nutritious ingredients. Think avocado, prawns, fried shallots etc…)
- Chillies – are totally optional – add more or less as you see fit.
- Peanuts – are also totally optional, but they give a good crunch.
- Allergic to, or don’t like nuts? Sprinkle some fried shallot over the top instead.