Summer has hit Houston with a vengeance, and all I want to eat is cereal and ice cream (not together... though that is an idea). Turning on the stove seems like a very bad idea, so I've turned to using some convenience foods.
If you know me, you know that I try to eat as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible. However, sometimes factors (like 103 degree heat) conspire to make that more difficult. I created this recipe (a play on the Thai Crunch salad at California Pizza Kitchen and the Sausalito Chicken Crunch salad at Barnaby's, a Houston staple) using a few convenience items, like rotisserie chicken and pre-made broccoli slaw. I named it Houston Crunch, because the restaurants named their crunchy salads after places, so I thought I would too.
Here are a few ways you can make your convenience shopping a bit more sustainable:
- Look for the "plain" or "original" version of foods. Often, it's the flavorings that add weird chemicals to foods. For this salad, I used a "naked" rotisserie chicken. Ingredients: Chicken.
- Check the label. Look for few ingredients and make sure they are recognizable. This recipe uses broken up ramen noodles (that's the crunch part). Without the flavor packet, the ingredients list on ramen noodles consists mainly of things recognizable as food.
- Make sure the packaging is recyclable or buy from the bulk section.
- For produce, buy local or organic, and if possible, use reusable produce bags.
And now, the recipe! This is a cool and substantial Asian-style salad with a few twists. The recipe is for 1 large or 2 smaller servings, but can be easily altered.
For vegetarians: because this has protein (peanuts) and fat (avocado), you could skip the chicken altogether. Or you could use sliced Gardein chick'n filets (meatless but having a very chickeny texture), cubed tofu, or sauteed seitan strips.
Houston Crunch Salad
1/4-1/2 chopped chicken from a plain rotisserie chicken that has been chilled
1/2-3/4 cup chopped Napa cabbage
1/2-3/4 cup pre-made broccoli slaw
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/3 of a poblano pepper, chopped small (you could use a jalapeno if you want more kick)
A big handful of chopped cilantro
A handful of roasted, unsalted peanuts
About 1/2 a handful of broken up ramen noodles (put the unopened package on the counter and pound it with a fist. This is a fun way to break the ramen and release pent up rage)
For the dressing:
Either use a couple of tbsp. "versatile peanut sauce", or if you're in a hurry, a tbsp of peanut butter whisked together with soy-ginger vinaigrette or other Asian-style dressing
Mix all of the ingredients together in a big bowl.
There is no step 2. Just eat the salad.