Summer cooking begs to be carefree and easy. Who wants to be holed up in the kitchen when the sun is shining and outdoor activities abound?
Since you work so hard to get dinner on the table, why not let that dinner work for you a second night? The following super simple, wholesome meal offers a fabulous way to stretch a couple of leftover chicken breasts.
Last June, Fox 43 News asked me to do a cooking segment on their morning broadcast, and this was the first recipe that came to mind. When food is cooked on TV, many components have to be prepared in advance or hurried along so the finished dish can magically come together within three or four minutes.
I wanted to give the viewers something they could actually memorize and replicate in their kitchen, so I started off with my favorite marinade for chicken, which is simply equal parts soy sauce, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and olive oil. (Add an optional teaspoon or two of sesame oil for an equally delicious salmon marinade.)
Whenever I serve “a-third-a-third-a-third” chicken as we call it, I plan for a few leftover breasts. When shredded and tossed with a bag of broccoli slaw and a four-ingredient dressing, a second meal is mere minutes away.
While Thai-inspired sauces and dressings tend to be incredibly flavorful, they often require a long list of ingredients that can be hard to find. Not this one. Everything is easy to have on hand. As a bonus, the dressing can be prepared in advance and tossed with the salad ingredients prior to serving.
After my cooking segment appeared, I received lots of positive feedback from viewers who were able to remember or quickly jot down the ingredients they saw on the show. Many mentioned that even their young children enjoyed the flavor and crunch of this veggie-rich meal.
Keep this recipe in mind when you need a last-minute dish for a potluck or family get-together. Sometimes I even freeze two leftover grilled chicken breasts so I can literally assemble this salad in minutes. We all need a few recipes like that!
Yields 4 servings (and approximately 1/3 cup sauce).
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (use a gluten-free or low-sodium option, if necessary)
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar*
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- 1 (10-ounce) bag broccoli slaw
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (I love using leftover chicken cooked with this 3-ingredient marinade )
- 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds or 1/3 cup peanuts
- Optional extras: 1 small red bell pepper, chopped; 5-6 sliced radishes; 2 thinly sliced scallions; 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
In a small bowl, thoroughly combine all of the peanut sauce ingredients.** (If the peanut butter is cold, warming it slightly in the microwave or allowing it to sit at room temperature for a few minutes will allow it to mix more easily with the other ingredients.)
To a large bowl, add the broccoli slaw, chicken, and optional extras. Pour the sauce over top and toss to thoroughly coat. At this point, you may cover the salad and refrigerate until ready to eat. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds or peanuts just before serving.
- *I have used honey as a substitute for the brown sugar. I do prefer brown sugar but honey is a fine option if that is what you prefer or have on hand.
- **You can experiment using this quick sauce on other salads, chicken, pork, or anything to which you’d like to lend an Asian flavor, from pizza to sandwiches, pasta to lettuce wraps. Double the recipe, as needed.
- I particularly enjoy the flavor combination in the speedy sauce with broccoli slaw. As an option, a 14-ounce bag of coleslaw mix may be substituted. Because the bags of coleslaw mix are typically larger than the bags of broccoli slaw, you may wish to increase the dressing amount proportionately. (I have used the sauce recipe as written for a full bag of coleslaw. It works but my preference is to have a bit more sauce.) Also, chicken breasts tend to vary widely in size. Plan on about 2 slightly rounded cupfuls of chopped chicken or 8 to 10 ounces of cooked chicken.
- As mentioned, I think this salad is extra special when the chicken has been marinated in this 3-ingredient dressing. But plain grilled chicken—even rotisserie chicken—work well, too. For other ways to enjoy the leftovers from the 3-ingredient marinade, click HERE. Feel free to add you own suggestions if you try!