Let me just exclaim to the world – I love a great salad. Boy that felt good. With so many choices and variations of salad, it is sometimes a bit overwhelming to choose. Today is your lucky day. The amazing folks at Dole Salads have now made our busy lives just a touch easier with the introduction of their Chopped Salad Kits and Salad Blends. These salad kits come with a theme and you simply add your favorite ingredients to make your own unique customized salad. The possibilities are boundless and only limited by your imagination and creativity. I can only imagine the amount of creativity out there. Smile.
Back in May I was honored with an invitation to attend Dole’sSalad Summit and quickly learned how Dole differentiates itself from other brands in the market place. After reflecting on the summit, the way Dole distinguishes itself from their competitors was quite clear. First, they partner with local farmers around the county to bring the freshest produce to their production facilities so you have the best of the best that the market can offer. In fact, within fours hours of picking lettuce, it is in the sealed salad bag. Second, they have produced an innovative package and process that keeps the salad fresher longer without adding harmful preservatives. Lastly, each employee of Dole has such a high regard for quality along with ensuring they are consistently exceeding their consumers expectations along with building brand loyalty.
When I received a note in my inbox from the folks at Dole asking me if I would like to try their New Chopped Salad Kits and Salad Blends, there was no hesitation on my part. A few days later, a large box arrived at my office with 15 bags of salad. You heard me right, 15 bags. The expiration date was a good week and half away, but I also knew I could not possible devour that many bags of salad. I wanted to get as many “taste testers” as possible and spread the word in such a way that others could experience the suburb quality of these salads. Beyond, Hubby and I, there were a few others who would report back on their taste experiences.
The taste testers were excited to share their feedback and not surprising, glowing remarks. Hubby loved the crunch and his favorite was the Chopped Bacon & Blue Salad Kit. I added some grilled chicken to the top and instantly had a low carb dinner after a busy day at work. One of my managers absolutely adored the Chipotle & Cheddar Salad Kit. She shared that she was amazed how it stayed fresh in the bag and she served it at a dinner party for her friends. All of the dinner guests raved with a resounding – delish. Another person in the office had the Chopped BBQ Ranch Salad Kit and could not believe how tasty the dressing was and that crunch factor. Are you seeing a theme? If you like crunchy, this is the salad for you.
Our very first salad was the Summer Garden Blend which I added a homemade Blue Cheese Dressing along with some grilled chicken and a few sprinkles of crumbled blue cheese on top. It was incredibly delicious. One of our dear friends was over for dinner that evening and simply loved it. The last flavor was the Asian Blend. I wanted to kick this one up quite a bit and feature in this post for all of you. It did not come with dressing or accoutrements, so this was the perfect canvass to create a masterpiece.
One of my all time favorite salads is the classic Chinese Chicken Salad. There are a number of variations on this classic and I am excited to share my spin with all of you. I utilized the wonderful Chinese Five Spice as the ingredient to elevate the chicken and crunchy wontons to adorn the top of the salad. The wontons have a Chinese Five Spice Salt that I made and seasoned them right out of the hot oil after frying. The dressing is a spicy peanut dressing that I created and simply rounds out the Asian flavors along with making one heck of a tasty salad. A BIG THANK YOU to the folks at Dole for sending me these divine salad kits!
Asian Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
Serves 2 large or 4 small sized portions
1 (12 oz) Bag Dole Asian Blend Salad Mix
½ Cup Asian Pea Pods, trimmed and cut in half on the diagonal
4 Scallion, sliced thin
¼ Cup Cilantro, tightly packed then rough chopped
½ Large Red Bell Pepper, julienne cut
6 Radishes, trimmed and sliced thin
2 Chicken Breasts cut in half lengthwise
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice
2 teaspoons Rice Wine Vinegar
In a medium bowl, add oil, vinegar and Chinese Five Spice and stir. Place chicken breast in bowl and completely coat with the marinade. Let sit for at least 15 minutes. Grill outdoors or indoors until fully cooked. Let rest for 5 minutes to have the juices absorb back into the chicken. Slice into thin slices.
Crispy Chinese Five Spice Wontons
12 to 14 Wonton Skins
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
Add about a cup of vegetable oil to a medium frying pan. Heat on medium or until it reaches about 330 degrees. Slice the wontons into ½ inch strips. Add the Chinese five spice and salt to a small bowl and stir. Cook the wontons in small batches. I would recommend testing the oil by frying a wonton strip. Adjust the temperature up or down to prevent burning. Remove the cooked wontons and add to a large plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle the wontons with the seasoned salt while hot. Repeat until all wontons are cooked.
Spicy Peanut Dressing
½ Cup Peanut Butter, Creamy Style
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoon Sriracha
2 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to your palate. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.
Use a large bowl and add all of the salad ingredients then add dressing. Start with about ½ cup and add to your desired taste. Transfer to a large bowl or individual bowls. Top with chicken and garish with the crispy wontons. Enjoy!