I remember distinctly when the “Chinese” Chicken Salad was on every cool menu in So. Cal. back in the day. “Lunching at Bullock’s Tea Room?…you must order their famous Chinese Chicken salad!”, friends would tell you. It even made it to the Los Angeles Times’ recipe section so that you, too, could have their “secret” recipe.
If I was going to Cheesecake Factory with the girls, the murmur, “I’ll have what she’s having” was heard several times over; of course, without fail, it was THE SALAD. One of my favorite little cafes where I’d sit in the sunshine and enjoy typical California cuisine was Green Street in Pasadena, and their take on the salad was way out there. Theirs had slivered almonds, was chopped into tiny bites and included their breathtaking zucchini bread on the side. Honestly, that was the best take ever on this retro salad.
But then the news came out…you know that puff kind of journalism piece meant to make hairs stand on end—and the horror was revealed. The Cheesecake Factory’s version was over 1000 calories and something like 30 grams of FAT! Many a lunching lady passed out that day and smelling salts were all the rage.
I’m not sure how any restaurant managed to squeeze 1000 calories into what could be a very healthful salad, and I am here to share my version, updated with some healthy additions and some (not all) bad boy ingredients left OUT.
Just in case you are keeping score of my many rants on weather over here at S&C…it has officially hit the fan so to speak and was 110 F. here in the valley of He!!. So, once again, this baking blog is back to salads because that’s just about all I can bear. But as salads go, this one is pretty irresistible so I don’t even feel a little bit badly about posting it.
Asian Inspired Shrimp Salad with Soy and Citrus Vinaigrette
Serves 4 main salads or 6-8 side salads
1 head of Romaine lettuce torn or chopped into large bites (washed and thoroughly dried)
2 T. cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions
1 – 1 1/2 c. of edamame beans (purchased cooked frozen or fresh)
1 1/2 c. string cut carrots (already cut from prepared salad area of store)
1 15 oz. can of mandarin oranges
1/4 c. dry roasted peanuts, no salt added
1 can of sliced water chestnuts
3/4 – 1 lb. of cooked medium shrimp or bay shrimp (we actually had medium shrimp but for the photo I only had bay shrimp left)
optional additions: 1/2 c. mung bean sprouts (I would have added these if my market had them that day), Chow Mein noodles…sprinkle some over to your liking, 1/2 c. udon noodles (cooked according to package directions), and or 2 T. sesame seeds
Soy and Citrus Salad dressing
2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
2 T. lime juice
2 T. orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 T. rice vinegar
1 T. dark sesame oil
1/4 c. olive oil
2 t. +. agave nectar or honey, to taste
optional: 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
salt and pepper to taste
To make the salad: Rinse, dry and chop the Romaine into large bites and put them into a large salad bowl. Chop cilantro and green onions…add to bowl. Toss in the carrots and defrosted and shelled edamame beans. Drain the Mandarin oranges and sliced water chestnuts and add to the bowl. Throw in the peanuts and shrimp. Add any of the optional ingredients such as the sprouts. Toss and sprinkle with crispy Chow Mein noodles.
For the dressing: Simply whisk all of the ingredients together and serve with or over the salad. I prefer to serve on the side so my left overs are not soggy. Enjoy!