Fruit stars in tropical chicken-mango salad

Chicago TribuneJuly 31, 2012 


Cue the Hawaiian music for tropical chicken-mango salad.


  • Tropical Chicken-Mango Salad Dressing: 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 2 tablespoons fish sauce 2 tablespoons sesame or olive oil 1 tablespoon honey or sugar 1 teaspoon ginger paste or 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled, finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon each or to taste: crushed red pepper, minced garlic Freshly ground pepper COMBINE all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl; whisk until combined. Set aside. Salad: 2 bags (6 ounces each) romaine lettuce, iceberg shreds or shredded cabbage 1 cup chopped mint, basil or cilantro, or a combination 1 pound precooked or rotisserie chicken, chopped or shredded 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced 1 large mango, diced 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts or to taste 1 lime, quartered TOSS lettuce with the herbs; divide among four shallow bowls. Divide the chicken, bell pepper, mango and peanuts among the bowls. (The prettier you arrange these ingredients, the more it will look like this salad took a long time to make). Place lime quarter, for squeezing, on each dish. Stir dressing before passing to serve. Yield: 4 main-dish servings PER SERVING: 502 calories, 28 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 25 g carbohydrates, 40 g protein, 975 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.

Asian chicken salads get a lot of play in restaurants, cookbooks, magazines. With their tangy dressing and light profile, they’re refreshing main-dish summertime salads.

We took a few liberties with ours. First, many versions star shredded cabbage, which some of us have a hard time viewing as anything but a side dish. Romaine is the green of choice here, because it’s crispy enough to hold up to the acidic dressing. (Iceberg would work, too – and, sure, a bag of shredded cabbage/coleslaw mix.) Anything more tender, though, and the greens will turn to mush.

With no apologies, this is summer-lazy, using as many convenience foods as possible without compromising the flavor. The list includes ginger paste, which is sold in the Asian section of many supermarkets or specialty markets. (You can sub with grated ginger root.)

Fruit also stars. Because mangoes have been so delicious lately, they’re here. But many tropical fruits or seasonal berries – anything with a tangy profile – will complement this salad. Consider pineapple, sliced fresh peaches, raspberries, blueberries. Just make sure the fruit is super-ripe and sweet.

For a printable copy of the recipe, click the link:

Tropical Chicken-Mango Salad

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