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!
October 2, 2012 at 11:00 am
You keep on rockin’ with the yummy recipes!! This will be a great lunch for Lee & I!! Miss you!! xoxoxo
October 2, 2012 at 11:22 am
The soya vinaigrette pairs so well with the shrimp salad. And a salad with 1000 calorie sounds horrible…I meant unless it’s a huge portion good for 4 persons..then I would understand. I definitely go for yours, healthy and tasty. Who said that you can’t have it all?!
October 2, 2012 at 11:54 am
The shrimp look plump and delicious.
October 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm
A retro Asian dish? I like it 😀
No wait, love it!
Choc Chip Uru
October 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm
Love this salad, and holy cow, you need a cool salad after those temps! Where’s autumn? This looks so delicious, Geni!
October 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm
I can’t believe this heat you guys are having! It’s crazy! Salads are definitely the perfect remedy and I’ll take your version over the Cheesecake’s take any day of the week!
October 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm
Nice! Looks gourmet to me and yet so delicious!
October 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm
October 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm
I can’t have shrimp but that dressing sounds like something I must try out! Homemade dressing is so economical and healthy!
October 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm
Looks delish and refreshing! I can’t believe they got 1000 calories in one salad, seriously, sometimes I wonder if they’re secretly just spooning lard in or something when you see the calorie counts they get up to. I’m looking forward to making this in summer, which is just around the corner now.
October 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm
I always thought the weather patterns traveled from West to East across the country. Things seemed to be reversed this year, unfortunately for you on the West Coast. I hope it breaks soon for you all. Your salad, Geni, would make a perfect meal – or 2 – in that heat. Ease to prepare, simple to serve and, best of all, no cooking. If you’rea at all like me, the last thing I’d want to do is to fire up the oven or stove during a heat wave! You didn’t and just look at the beautiful dish you prepared. Nice. 🙂
October 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm
What a good salad recipe, I am in the hunt for some and this is definitely a keeper
October 2, 2012 at 10:35 pm
What horrible weather for October! Thankfully we’re not that bad today but I think we hit 100… But awesome salad! I can’t believe how unhealthy Cheesecake Factory managed to make a salad. Yours looks so bright, fresh, and delicious.
October 3, 2012 at 5:44 am
I think your version looks best! Delicious! It is unbelievable how they can pack the calories in what you would think is a healthier choice.
October 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm
What a beautiful salad. I really like your version.
October 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm
Your version looks completely decadent and tempting, without the calories too! I can’t believe how hot it is there!! We’ve got snow, aaaakkk!!!
October 4, 2012 at 4:15 am
I definitely ate a LOT of Asian chicken salad back in the day…LOVE those flavors! SHrimp sounds like the perfect recipe redo.
October 7, 2012 at 10:34 am
What a splendid “make over”! The salad is just irresistible! What a great weeknight dinner recipe.
October 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm
I went through a huge Asian salad kick when I was in high school. They were all I would eat, and I even made the dressing from scratch. My dressing was nothing like this though. This sounds amazing.
October 10, 2012 at 6:52 am
What a great lighter version! Hope things cool down for you guys over there. It’s cooling off over here and all I want to do is eat comfort foods. Thanks for this post cause now I want to try this irresistible salad! Now I have that Bear Naked Ladies song in my head, “One Week!” LOL
October 12, 2012 at 2:30 am
Wow! Your Asian Salad looks phenomenal. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Will definitely try out your recipe on our upcoming cookout with my in-laws. Good stuff!
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