When I worked on Michigan Avenue, in downtown Chicago, we’d frequently go across the street to Nordstrom for lunch. I know it’s rude, but I’ve always poked fun at one-dish people – you know, the people who go to a restaurant and always order the same dish time after time (but, yes, Melissa, I love you anyway). However, the Chinese Chicken Salad at Cafe Nordstrom is so very, very good that I order it every single time.
I’ve created my own gluten-free version. I feel funny calling it Chinese Chicken Salad, since there’s nothing Chinese about it, except the inclusion of bok choy (a Chinese cabbage) and a dressing made with rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce.
BTW, in case you didn’t know, soy sauce is a hidden source of gluten, since it is fermented with wheat. In fact, some soy sauces contain 50 percent wheat. Instead of soy sauce, I use San-J Wheat-Free Tamari, which is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. La Choy Soy Sauce is also gluten-free, though I’m not fond of some of its ingredients: hydrolyzed soy protein, corn syrup and caramel color.
This colorful salad is a great take-along dish for picnics and barbecues, and it makes a satisfying, no-cook summertime meal. For ease of preparation, I use rotisserie chicken, though you could grill a chicken breast and dice it. Most rotisserie chickens are gluten-free, but check the ingredients to be sure.
My kids will actually eat this green salad. The sweet mandarin oranges, crunchy almonds and abundant veggies camouflage the chicken sufficiently for my chicken-hating older daughter.
As a fun variation, I’ve added gluten-free chow mein noodles that I bought at Passover (I doubt you’d be able to find them now). Add them tableside, as you serve each portion, or else they’ll quickly turn into soggy strips.
Chinese Chicken Salad
- 10 ounces (about 1 head) romaine hearts, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces
3 ribs bok choy, sliced crosswise
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 red pepper, julienned
1 yellow pepper, julienned
1 cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and sliced crosswise
1 cup shredded carrots
1 (15-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
6 sprigs cilantro leaves, chopped
½ cup gluten-free chow mein noodles
Note: To make preparation easier, buy cooked rotisserie chicken, a seedless cucumber and packaged shredded carrots.
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a cruet, shaking to combine. (Or place all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.)2. Place romaine and bok choy in large salad bowl. Add chicken, red pepper, yellow pepper, cucumber, carrots, mandarin oranges, almonds and cilantro, and toss to combine.3. Pour about 1/3 cup of dressing on the salad, so that dressing clings to the leaves but does not puddle in the bottom of the salad bowl. Toss well.
4. Add gluten-free chow mein noodles to each individual serving plate immediately prior to serving.
Yield: 4 entrée-sized servings