Asian Chicken Salad with Crunchy Ramen Noodles and Honey-Sesame Cashews

Today was one of the first hot days of summer in Osaka. We rushed home from our evening kids’ ESL classes and felt like something that was fast and refreshing. After looking over a few recipes for Chinese Chicken Salad on this is what we came up with. The addition of the instant ramen noodles was inspired by a whitewater rafting trip my family and I took a few years ago in Oregon. The cute, young river-guides prepared a salad reminiscent of this one, while the rest of us waded in the water of the Rouge River. Oh, and we made the cashews because I love something sweet and spicy to eat alongside the salad. They compliment the Asian flavors well!

What we drank: 2004 Luna Bianco, Italy

For the Dressing:

2 teaspoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons rice (or sushi) vinegar

For the Salad:

A little less than half of a head of lettuce, chopped
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, boiled and shredded
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 green onion, chopped
1 small can of mandarin oranges
1 package of instant ramen noodles (discarding the seasoning packet)

For the Cashews:

a few handfuls of salted cashews
sesame seeds
chili powder

  • Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Taste and adjust to your liking and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • In a large bowl place the lettuce, green onion, sesame seeds and chicken. Toss with your fingers. Place in fridge to cool for 10 minutes.
  • While the salad is chilling, spread the cashews onto a cookie sheet. Drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chili powder to taste. Mix with your fingers, coating all the cashews. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir. Bake for 3-5 min. more or until just barely golden. Remove while hot to a non-stick surface and allow to cool.
  • Take the salad out of the fridge and add the ramen noodles. Dress, toss, arrange mandarin oranges, and serve with cashews on the side (or feel free to sprinkle on top if you desire)!

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