Thai Peanut Chicken Salad

Most of us aren’t quite accustomed to salad as a craveable food. Healthy? Sure. Totally pleasant and acceptable side dish? Absolutely. But a salad that stands on its own as something you long to eat… well that’s a little more rare. You’ll find that this Thai Peanut Chicken Salad is just that kind of salad. This vibrant, rainbow-colored salad is great for you, while still managing to taste so great that you’ll be thinking of it long after you’ve eaten it.

We use red and green cabbage as the base of the salad, which gives a much sturdier crunch than lettuce. That’s tossed with red, green, and yellow bell peppers, and some red onion, carrots, and cilantro. (See? We told you it was vibrant.) The dressing is a slightly sweet peanut-based one, backed by a little tang from lime juice, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar.

With just a quarter cup of peanut butter and no additional oil, the dressing here remains pretty light but still manages to provide a ton of flavor to the crunchy veggies it surrounds. It’s seriously so good that it’s pretty hard to resist just eating it by the spoonful. If you go that route, there’s nothing to feel bad about. It’s really a dressing that you can feel good about eating any time, even if it tastes rather indulgent.

1 pound chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders, cooked and shredded
1/2 green cabbage, sliced
1/2 red cabbage, sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, julienned/thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice and zest, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger. Taste and adjust as needed, then set aside.
In a large bowl, combine green and red cabbage, bell peppers, red onion, carrot and cilantro.
Add chicken on top, then pour dressing over everything, and toss together.
Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.