chicken pad thai salad

I love summer, but I hate cooking in the summer! It’s just too hot to have the oven or stove on for very long, and some days are definitely too hot to eat a hot meal. That’s one of the reasons I love this lighter, fresher, veggie-packed version of the classic Thai dish.

chicken pad thai salad

time saverAnother nice thing about this recipe is that it can all be prepped ahead of time, which makes it great for taking to a summer picnic or barbecue, or just for those days that you won’t have time to cook for dinner. Just don’t pour on the dressing until you’re ready to eat it, and the salad should stay nice and crisp for up to about 24 hours. ¬†You can also marinate the chicken for up to about 24 hours, so you can get it ready when you have time and then just leave it until it’s almost time to eat!

its good for youBy replacing the noodles with cabbage and carrots, you’re eliminating processed carbs and trading them for fresh vegetables packed with nutrients and vitamins! And cabbage is one of many vegetables that may help with lowering cholesterol and preventing some types of cancer!

For the chicken, put the raw chicken in a gallon-size bag, pour in the soy sauce, squeeze in the lime juice, crush in the garlic, and toss in some salt and pepper. Then just squish everything around for a minute until it seems mixed and the chicken coated, and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the chicken.

chicken pad thai salad recipe

(Mmm… delicious! Is there any way to make raw chicken not look disgusting? If so, I certainly haven’t figured it out. But trust me, once it’s cooked it will taste great!)

Now you just need to chop up the cabbage, peppers, green onions, peanuts, and cilantro, and shred the carrots.

pad thai salad recipe

I layered the salad (I thought it looked pretty) but you can just toss it in a bowl if that’s easier. You can chop the veggies while the chicken’s marinating, or wait until it’s cooking.

pad thai salad

You can also mix up the salad dressing while you wait for the chicken. Just mix the soy sauce, oil, vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, and cayenne in a bowl. You’ll want to mix it up again (I’ve found forks work best) just before serving – the oil tends to separate.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, you can either chop it up and cook it in a frying pan on the stove, or grill it and chop it up after it’s cooked. Then add it to the salad, top with the dressing, and enjoy!

pad thai chicken salad

Chicken Pad Thai Salad

For the chicken:

1 lb raw chicken
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 lime
1-2 cloves garlic
pinch salt and pepper

For the salad:

1 head green cabbage
2 carrots
2 green onions
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro

For the dressing:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 lime
1 tsp brown sugar
pinch cayenne pepper

1. Put all the ingredients for the chicken in a gallon-size plastic bag and seal. Squish it around to make sure the ingredients in the marinade are mixed, and place in the refrigerator for at least half an hour and up to 24 hours.

2. Chop up all the vegetables (I shredded the carrots) for the salad, and layer on a platter or mix in a large salad bowl.

3. Mix all the ingredients for the salad dressing in a small bowl. Be sure to mix again before pouring on the salad, as the oil tends to separate.

4. Cook the chicken either on the stove or on the grill. If on the stove, I recommend chopping it up first. Allow to cool a bit, then add to salad. Pour dressing on top and serve.

Crispy Cajun Chicken with Creamy Avocado Pasta

Apparently I’ve gotten really lazy about posting new recipes lately… I’ll blame it on the fact that I’ve had allergies or a cold for about a month now. But really, I’m probably just lazy. I have several new recipes that I’ve even taken pictures of, I just haven’t gotten around to sorting/editing the pictures and writing up a blog post. Maybe I’ll get a burst of motivation and have lots of new posts soon! Or more likely they’ll trickle in eventually…

But here’s a recipe for the delicious Cajun-inspired meal I made last night. It was so simple, and so delicious, I had to share it!

Cajun chicken pasta with creamy avocado sauce

Crispy Cajun chicken, pasta with a creamy avocado sauce, grilled corn, and all topped with sharp white cheddar.

To get started, put a pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta. Then flatten out the chicken breast with a meat mallet.

time saverI love meat mallets! Seriously, one of my favorite kitchen gadgets! Cooking a whole chicken breast on the stove or grill can take a long time, especially the huge, thick ones you always seem to get these days. And cutting raw chicken is 1) gross and 2) time consuming. But flatten it out a bit with a meat mallet, and it cooks so much faster! Then if you need it in smaller pieces, slice it up after it’s cooked.

crispy Cajun chicken recipe

Then rub the Cajun seasoning and corn meal into the chicken, and toss it in a pan with a little olive oil.

crispy Cajun chicken

Once the bottom side is nice and crispy and browned, turn it over and keep cooking until golden, or even slightly blackened. The corn meal gives it a nice crispy texture on the outside.

While the chicken is cooking, get the pasta cooking, grill or pan-roast the corn, and make the sauce. To make the sauce, put the avocado, tomato, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and Cajun seasoning in the blender, and puree until smooth. (I love using avocados to make “cream” sauce – they’re so creamy, but with that delicious avocado flavor!)

creamy avocado Cajun pasta

When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and return it to the pan. Stir in the sauce, and heat through. It doesn’t need to really cook, just heat.

crispy Cajun chicken pasta

Slice the chicken, cut the kernels from the corn, and shred the cheese.

grilled corn

Serve the pasta onto plates, and top with chicken, corn, cheese, and a few extra sprigs of cilantro. Enjoy!

crispy Cajun chicken with creamy avocado pasta

I also make my own Cajun seasoning because the packaged stuff is soooo full of salt and other random preservatives, which is silly because it’s just spices and spices don’t have them. Anyway, you can just use a store-bought Cajun seasoning, or make your own. This will make more than you need for this recipe, but you can save it for other recipes, like Cajun fries!

Cajun Seasoning

1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp bay leaves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp pepper

And now for the main event:

Crispy Cajun Chicken with Creamy Avocado Pasta and Roasted Corn

1 large chicken breast
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 Tbsp corn meal
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup dry pasta, such as bow ties or shells
1 large avocado
1 small tomato
1 lime
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 ear corn
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar

1. Put a pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Flatten the chicken with a meat mallet, and rub with the Cajun seasoning and corn meal, and add to the frying pan. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, then turn and continue cooking.

2. When the water come to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

3. While the chicken and pasta cook, grill the corn. (I used a George Forman grill, but you can just put it in a frying pan and turn it occasionally.)

4. Make the sauce by putting the avocado, tomato, cilantro, lime juice, Cajun seasoning, and garlic in the blender. Puree until smooth.

5. When the pasta is done, drain and return to pan. Stir in the sauce and heat through. Slice the chicken and cut the kernels from the corn.

6. Serve the pasta onto plates and top with chicken, corn, and shredded cheese.

Makes about 4 servings.

One note – because the sauce is avocado-based, it doesn’t reheat very well. It can be saved and reheated, but it’s much better eaten fresh!