Ginger Cashew Chicken Salad
This bright and fresh Ginger Cashew Chicken Salad makes an easy meal!
Bring the Zing
Salads are a go-to dinner and a fast pain-free meal in summer, or really any time of year. It is easy, however, to fall into a rut of making the same type week after week. Greens and chicken, greens and steak, greens and fish.
Solution? Bring some zing! Three easy ways to do that are toppings, dressings, and a special root: ginger.
Benefits of Ginger
Fresh ginger, the root of the flowering plant called zingiber officinale, has been used for centuries in cooking and traditional medicine. One of its main benefits: settling the tummy. It aids in digestion, bloating, and nausea.
If you have stomach issues or have ever been pregnant, you know this.
There is also some evidence that ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. In addition to supporting gastrointestinal and general well-being, it is a delicious addition to food and beverages.
Sweet, warm, and zesty, ginger appears in both sweet and savory dishes. In this salad, ginger shows up in the marinade and dressing.
Homemade Ginger Cashew Chicken Salad Dressing
Anything that doubles as both marinade and salad dressing earns heart eyes in my book. And that is the case here. One batch of dressing, two uses. Pour some over the chicken and save the rest to dress the salad.
Two surprise ingredients that make this dressing different are fresh minced ginger and mild molasses. Whaaat? Yes, my mind went down the gingerbread trail too, but really, it works here.
Depending on the type of salad person you are, you either love toppings or think they are just meh. Salad toppings are worth their weight in gold at my house. They can make or break a salad.
This particular salad has crunchy, tender, salty, and sweet toppings. Scattered over fresh greens, grilled chicken, and the zingy ginger vinaigrette, they offer something different in each forkful.
Plus, they are pretty.
- Cut the chicken breasts lengthwise into two thinner cutlets. This gives you a piece of chicken that cooks quicker, soaks up more marinade, and is more likely to be the recommended 4-ounce single serving size.
- Don’t marinate the chicken overnight. This marinade/dressing contains vinegar and an overnight soak will break down the connective tissue in the meat making it tough once cooked. Marinating anywhere between 3 and 8 hours is perfect!
- Cashews add a subtle buttery-ness and soft crunch, but if you don’t like them substitute another type of nut.
Many thanks to Taste of Home for their recipe!Print
- ½ cup cider vinegar
- ½ cup molasses
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 2 Tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 10 cups of greens (spring mix, spinach, arugula, etc)
- 1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion, soaked in water and drained
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- ¾ cup roasted salted cashews
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl or mason jar and mix to incorporate. Measure out ¾ cup of the dressing to use as a marinade. Cover and refrigerate the remaining dressing until ready to use.
- Cut one of the chicken breasts lengthwise and horizontally into two cutlets of equal thickness. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. The thinner cutlets will soak up the marinade and will cook more quickly.
- Pour the reserved ¾ cup of dressing over the prepared chicken. Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.
- Preheat the grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Once the grill is hot, cook the chicken for 4 minutes on each side or until the inside temp reaches 165 F.
- Arrange the greens, mandarin oranges, cabbage, carrots, and red onion on a serving platter or individual plates. Slice the chicken against the grain and place it on top of the salad greens.
- Drizzle the salad with the dressing and garnish with green onions and cashews.