Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ginger Chicken Salad (or Tacos)

When I was working in Hillsboro several years ago, the big to-do was an outdoor mall that was being built right near my house, with high(ish) end stores and eateries galore. One of the restaurants was P.F. Chang's, and people were excited. After trying to eat there a few times, I was not super impressed because the food was so salty. However, there was one appetizer that I always liked, minus about 5000 mg of sodium (actual sodium count is only 650/serving, but it tasted like much more the few times I tried eating there).

The last few times I've eaten at a chain restaurant (never our first choice, but sometimes those are the options) All I can think is 'Man, I've become a really good cook!' The dishes I used to be perfectly satisfied with when I ordered them are now just, meh, and the price tag makes them taste worse. 

So, when my friend posted a recipe on her facebook page that was similar to the Chang's Chicken Lettuce Cups and said that her kids liked them as 'Chinese Tacos' I knew I'd add it to my rotation for the week. I generally do some version of Taco Tuesday, but I'm not jazzed about eating plain jane beef simmered in taco seasoning every single week so I've tried to put a twist on it every week. Taco inspired meat loaf, taco soup and now Chinese Chicken Tacos.  I was planning to sub in ground turkey, but on my last shopping trip, I found that Safeway is now carrying an all natural ground chicken so I picked up two packages. The recipe calls for a pound, but the pacakages were 13.5 ounces each, so I used two and bulked up the ginger and garlic, but left the proportions of the sauce the same. I used about a teaspoon of salt with the chicken and onion while they browned, and a good inch and a half of fresh ginger. 

I served the meat in a tortilla for the kids, but mine was served over a bed of romaine and spinach, and the beauty of this dish is that it requires no extra dressing to make a super flavorful salad because of the sauce. The big boys ate two tacos each, and Jack gobbled up a bowl of the filling. Being freshly prepared, and with minimal salt, (I used low sodium soy sauce) the ginger really had a chance to shine and the chopped cashews added another dimension of texture and flavor. At under twenty minutes from heating the pan to 'dinner's ready!', this recipe is a keeper that will stay in my meal rotation.

Ginger Chicken Tacos/Salad

1 lb ground chicken (can substitute ground beef, turkey or pork)
1/2 minced onion
salt and pepper
2 minced garlic cloves (I used 4)
1″ knob ginger, peeled and minced (I used 1.5-2 inches)
2 1/2 tbsps. tamari (or soy sauce) (I used low sodium soy sauce)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp almond butter
1/2 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp honey
2 tsps. sriracha sauce
dash of pepper
3 chopped green onions (I omitted because I didn't have them on-hand...well, I did but they were no longer edible ;))
small can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped cashews
lettuce leaves
1. Heat a large pan on high and add ground chicken, onion, salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is nearly done. Add garlic and ginger, then continue cooking until meat is no longer pink.
2. In a bowl combine, tamari, vinegar, oil, almond butter, water, honey, sriracha and pepper. Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir until smooth. Add to the meat.
3. Add green onions, water chestnuts and cook for another minute or two.
4. Sprinkle with cashews and serve over lettuce leaves or on top of a salad. (Or in tortillas for kids who would likely cry if I made them eat salad for dinner.)

1 comment:

Violingirl76 said...

Sounds really yummy! Thanks!