When it spring rolls around and the weather starts to heat up here in San Diego, my cravings shift from warm soups to summer salads. One salad that is usually one of the first to be made is Vietnamese Chicken Salad. A slaw type salad topped with a mix of brightly colored herb, tossed in a tangy/saltly/spicy dressing, and topped with crushed peanuts. It’s a lot of textures and a lot of refreshing flavors. Perfect as a side salad or even an entire meal.
The beauty of this salad is that you can cut all the ingredients in advance. When it’s time to eat, you assemble it any way you want, any sized portion you want, any proportions you want. If you are a mint type of person, or don’t like onions, no worries. Everyone can build their own personal salad however they want. All the ingredients store well in the fridge after it has been cut.
For this recipe, I use cabbage, carrots, white onions, mint, cilantro, and crushed peanuts for the toppings. You can us whatever toppings you like. Some other toppings suggestions are Vietnamese Coriander, crispy fried shallots, red onions or green onions. My only suggestion, don’t be shy with the herbs (mint/coriander) and peanuts. They are what makes this dish so refreshing.
For the protein, I do cheat a little bit, but in a good way. You can thank me for this later. When I buy whole rotisserie chickens from Costco, I always plan on making a Vietnamese Chicken Salad the next day. This is the perfect use for the leftover white meat. Shred it up by hand, toss it in this salad and no one will know.
- 8 oz chicken breast, poached then shredded
- ½ head cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, julienned
- ½ white onion, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup mint, roughly chopped
- ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- ½ cup peanuts, chopped or crushed
- ¼ cup Nuoc Cham (prepared fish sauce)
- Combine all the ingredients except for the peanuts and fish sauce.
- Dress it with the prepared fish sauce, then top with peanuts.