Tag Archives: salads

Chinese Chicken Salad

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.

Click for Chinese Chicken Salad recipe

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Colorful Quinoa Salad

quinoa salad

Colorful Quinoa Salad

Now, I love overcooked Jewish food as much as any good Jew. I look forward to Passover seders full of Eastern European food that my family has made for generations: brisket, turkey, gefilte fish, kugel, tzimmes. But I have to admit that after a few days of all that heavy stuff, I’m ready for some lighter fare for the rest of Passover, an eight-day holiday.

Quinoa has been a more recent addition to our Passover repertoire. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is an ancient South American grain that’s high in protein and nutrition. Grown in the Andes mountains in South America, quinoa bears no relation to chametz grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt), making quinoa kosher for Passover and gluten-free.

Ancient Harvest says that its quinoa is grown in the high Andean Altiplano regions of Bolivia at 12,000+ foot elevations where the arid conditions will not support traditional gluten-bearing grain production. So there’s no possibility of cross-contamination in the fields.

The ancient Incas revered quinoa as sacred. It’s not only high in protein, calcium and iron, but it’s a complete protein, since it contains all eight essential amino acids.

I make the following gluten-free Colorful Quinoa Salad during the year, but it can also be a refreshing addition to a Passover table. Chock full of healthy quinoa and antioxidant-rich veggies, fruit and nuts, it’s particularly good to pull out for a brunch buffet, since you can make it in advance and serve it at room temperature. The recipe is adapted from “Let’s Dish,” a cookbook from my kids’ school.

Click for Colorful Quinoa Salad recipe

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Tu B’Shevat Orange and Walnut Salad

tu b'shevat orange walnut salad

Tu B'Shevat Orange and Walnut Salad

Next week is the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat, which is the New Year of the trees. On this holiday, trees are counted as another year older. Also, in Israel (certainly not in Chicago), trees are beginning their new fruit-bearing cycle.

We celebrate Tu B’Shevat by eating fruit and planting trees.

In school, my 8-year-old was assigned to learn about orange trees. As part of that, she asked me to create a gluten-free recipe with oranges.

The following Tu B’Shevat Orange and Walnut Salad is sticky sweet, which is why she liked it, though the sweetness is offset by tangy fresh lime and ginger. It can be served as a side salad accompanying a savory chicken entree or nestled on a bed of greens.

Click for the recipe

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