Vietnamese Shredded Chicken Salad

October 23, 2015


The weather around here recently has been pretty wonky. Like it has a split personality or something. Seriously…I was pretty sure we were doing the Fall thing around here and the next thing I knew was the mercury shot up to 80°F only to plunge down to 43°F the following evening! What the what! And it wasn’t done there. Nope…it plunged down to scarcely above freezing. Had me scrambling to get the plants inside. But now we’re back up into the mid-70’s. It is a wonder my head hasn’t totally exploded. Not to mention, while all that roller coaster weather nonsense is happening, I’m in the midst of a big house renovation. Nothing like walking through a fog of dry wall dust every day! But the good news is that I will finally have a master bathroom again. Ours burned up about 1 1/2 years ago now. (Time for my own little Public Service Announcement: If your bathroom exhaust fan was made prior to 1990 – it does not have a thermal fuse in it, which means if the bearings seize up, the fan can become so hot that it can catch the surrounding insulation on fire!) Our reaction? The husband and I just nailed up some plywood, boarded that thing up and have been using the guest bath down the hall ever since! Pretty pathetic huh? We just couldn’t decide what we kind of renovation we wanted to do. Oh well – we did finally get it together and in a few weeks I’ll be soaking in my glorious new bath tub! But in the meantime, this place is a complete shambles! So I’m going to share a wonderful recipe with you today which not only comes together quickly and easily with minimal preparation but also tastes fantastic and refreshing. Vietnamese Shredded Chicken Salad.


This delicious dish comes from one of my favourite blogs Once Upon a Chef. Every recipe of Jenn’s that I’ve ever made has been a winner. And this was no exception! So if you’re having a rather hectic day, this salad, which is just bursting with fresh Asian flavors, is just what you need to help you deliciously reign in some of that chaos.


Vietnamese Shredded Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Once Upon a Chef


For the Salad:

  • 2 heaping cups cooked shredded chicken, from one store-bought rotisserie chicken
  • 4 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated or matchstick carrots
  • red bell pepper, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 -2 thai red peppers, chopped (optional: add if you like it spicy!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, from about 3 limes
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (preferably a brand imported from Thailand or Vietnam)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


In a large salad bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients except for the peanuts. In a separate bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing; whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Right before serving, toss the dressing with the salad. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the peanuts. Serve cold.


Vietnamese Shredded Chicken Salad brought to you by: Runcible Eats (

Italian Lentil Salad over Crusty Mozzarella Toasts

February 1, 2014


This Italian Lentil Salad, spooned generously over toasted crusty bread topped with melted fresh mozzarella, may have kept me alive last week. I kid you not. This meal is so incredibly hearty and delicious, it kept me going on the night that our furnace gave up the ghost and the temperature outside plunged to a bone-chilling 8° F (-13° C). Yup…Oh and the wind chill made it feel like 1°F (-17° C). Well, it didn’t get that cold here inside, but I was really freaking out that it would get just cold enough that all the pipes in the house would burst. Just two days before hand we had been dealing with a frozen sewer pipe. Needless to say, tension was running high around here that night. Luckily we had a gas fireplace in the living room that we were able to huddle around and big servings of Italian Lentil Salad which helped to not only warm us but to also fortify our souls for what further, yet unknown calamities were certainly lurking right around the frigid corner. And I should also mention that we had a big bottle of wine (or two) that perhaps helped to sooth our cold shattered nerves!


I am happy to report that not only did we survive the most recent arctic blast unscathed, but our pipes held out like champs! Normally a big fan of Winter, this Virginia winter has proven quite bizarre for me. We have endured multiple days of temperatures which were only able climb to a high of 20° F (-6° C), and you can imagine where they headed once the sun went down.  However, even thought the temperatures are lingering in the polar vicinity, we haven’t had much snow (which I actually like), just the glacial cold. I was visiting Iceland in December and believe it or not, I feel I need to return if only to warm up! So it seems good old Virginia has become a land of the extremes; sweltering, miserable humid and sweaty summers followed up by bitter, raw Siberian winters. Hmmm….


Frozen Virginia Vista

That most famous of groundhogs, Punxsutawney Phil, is scheduled to make his yearly appearance on Sunday.


The critter himself!

I never thought I’d say it, but I hope he does not see his shadow and Winter is over. I do declare that with some trepidation because even though it was cold, and I do mean somewhat glacial, without a furnace the other night, I was able to put on enough layers and pile on enough blankets that I was comfortable. If not for my extreme dread over burst pipes, all would have been well. However, it is often so hot here when it does deign to “warm up” that I can’t get comfortable, no matter how nekkid (that’s a word right?) I get.


Thinking back to those steamy Virginia summers, that is when I originally found this recipe on Pinch of Yum ( I did modify it somewhat). You see, I had planted an incredibly over active cherry tomato plant and was scouring the intertubes (my word for worldwide web) for recipes in which I could use my bumper crop. I made this salad quite a few times back then. Mind you, since we were at the opposite end on thermometer from where we are now, I served it cold, as a side salad, or sometimes over a bed of lettuce or if I was on the go, rolled it into a wrap. No matter which way I served it, it was absolutely delicious and refreshing. So, there you have it. This gem of a recipe is very versatile temperature wise and it certainly must be good for you, chock full of lentils, bulgur wheat and veggies as it is. No meat in sight. It will not only delightfully satisfy your hunger, but will also even allow you to feel somewhat virtuous as you tuck into a big plate of it. You really should add this one to your recipe box. You never know, it might just save your life!


Italian Lentil Salad

recipe adapted from: Pinch of Yum

yield: 8 – 10 servings


  • 1 cup dry green (brown) lentils
  • ½ cup dry light bulgur
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 3-4 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/4 grated parmesan cheese
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • toasted slices of crusty bread


Cook the lentils and the bulgur according to directions, using vegetable/chicken broth instead of water. When cooked, combine and set aside.

Saute the onion in the olive oil until it softens a bit and then add the tomatoes and garlic to the pan. Saute over low heat for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes and garlic are soft and fragrant. Remove from heat. Add the lentils, bulgur, basil and parmesan to the pan and stir to combine.

Season with dressing and salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold.

If serving over toasted bread, toast bread slices. Place slices of fresh mozzarella on toasted bread slices and stick under broiler until cheese is melted. Top bread slices with heaping spoonfuls of warm lentil salad.


P.S. Thanks to all you folks out there reading my blog! I have been at the food blogging thing for 3 years on February 1st and am so thankful anyone is actually paying attention! I hope I can continue to inspire you with my culinary adventures in the upcoming year.

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