Sunday, February 11, 2018

Cashew Chicken Salad with Mandarin Oranges

Two Protein Salads: Chicken and Chickpea
A Salad for All Seasons

Recipe Inspired by Cooking Light

In the middle of winter, comfort foods abound. Yet, after months of hefty fare, along comes an unseasonably warm and sunny day, and we suddenly crave fresh raw veggies. This winter veggie salad is a nutritional powerhouse, good for boosting immunity during the winter months. Cabbage is high in Vitamins A, K, and B6, plus 20 flavonoids and 15 phenols. Carrots are loaded with beta carotene and antioxidants. Bean sprouts contain lots of iron, copper, and other minerals. Ginger aids digestion and warms the body from within, a good addition to a wintertime salad.

Cashew Chicken salad tossed in single serving bowl
Toss Your Own
At any time of year, but especially in winter, we can make our own fresh veggies by sprouting beans. Shades of the 1970s, when sprouting jars were everywhere! Sprouting your own makes sense, as evidence for E. coli and Salmonella contamination of commercial sprouts continues to mount. Plus, it’s rather magical when ½ cup of dried beans becomes 1 quart of sprouts in just a few days (instructions here). If you don’t have time to sprout your own, canned mung bean sprouts are a safe, if somewhat less nutritious, alternative.

Though canned mandarin oranges are consistently available and always look perfect, in winter you can substitute any kind of fresh oranges or tangerines. If you have any of these citrus fruits on hand, give them a try to top the salad. Almonds or hazelnuts can be substituted for the cashews if needed.

This bright salad is perfect in winter, but can be prepared with fresh ingredients at any time of year. Multi-seasonal availability is the beauty of cabbage, carrots, and ginger, and also homemade bean sprouts.

Large Bowl of Salad with Smaller bowls of Oranges, Cashews, and Dressing
Tossed Salad Plus Toppings
Cashew Chicken Salad with Mandarin Oranges
serves about 5

5 cups shredded green and purple cabbage
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 cup julienned carrots
½ cup sliced green onions
2½ cups roasted skinless boneless chicken, cut into strips
4½ tbsp. rice vinegar
1½ tbsp. soy sauce
1½ tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1½ tbsp. minced fresh ginger
3/8 tsp. salt
1 large (15 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
¼ - 1/3 cup dry roasted cashews

Combine cabbage, bean sprouts, and carrots in large mixing bowl and toss. Add green onions and chicken strips and toss again. Set aside.

Prepare dressing: stir together rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, hoisin sauce, and salt. Stir in minced ginger.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss lightly to coat.

Put salad into serving bowl or individual bowls. Top with mandarin oranges and cashews.

Large bowl of Green and Purple Cabbage and mung Bean Sprouts
First: Cabbage and Sprouts

Large Bowl of Cabbage, Sprouts, and Julienned Carrots
Second: Add Carrots

Large Bowl of Cabbage, Sprouts, and Carrots, Topped with Chicken Strips
Third: Add Chicken

Large Bowl of Salad Topped with Ginger Dressing
Fourth: Add Dressing

Single Serving Bowl of Salad with Mandarin Orange and Cashew Topping
Last: Add Cashews and Mandarin Oranges

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