Plant Based 411
Chinese Chicken Salad – Hold the Chicken!
By Nancy Eisman
The plant-based food industry is growing in double digits, with a current market value of $4.5 billion, outpacing overall grocery sales across the board. Whether for health, environmental, or animal welfare concerns, this trend has been embraced by millions and is definitely here to stay.
Today, supermarkets throughout America are continually adding to their plant-based offerings, with substitutions for just about anything you can think of. And eating plant-based is easy when you start with recipes you already really like. The example here is the classic and much loved Chinese Chicken Salad, simply swapping out the bird with some savory, seasoned pan-fried tofu.
Originally created in Santa Monica, California, this salad is lunch, dinner and potluck perfect for Spring or anytime of year. As a side or main dish, CC Salad is light and hearty at the same time. Fresh, colorful, and full of easy to find ingredients, this salad is packed with nutrition and great flavor in every bite.
Start with a base of shredded savoy cabbage and Rosso Tardivo radicchio or purple cabbage, and then add carrots, green onions, tender fried tofu, crunchy, toasted walnuts, and crispy wonton strips. Juicy Ojai pixie tangerine segments add seasonal sunshine and a tart sweetness. A ginger-sesame dressing deliciously coats the veggies, resulting in a supremely satisfying superstar salad that perfectly aligns with today’s plant-based food explosion.
Chinese Chickenless Salad
Pan-Fried Tofu Ingredients:
1 package Melissa’s Super Firm Tofu
Poultry seasoning (thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, and nutmeg)
Vegetable oil for pan-frying
Coarse sea salt
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Ojai pixie tangerine juice
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
5 cups savoy cabbage, shredded
1 ¾ cups Rosso Tardivo radicchio or purple cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup green onions, sliced
3 Ojai pixie tangerines, peeled and segmented
¾ cup red or organic walnuts, lightly toasted
2 cups wonton strips
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
To pan-fry the tofu, blot the tofu with paper towels to remove any residual moisture.
Slice the tofu into strips (2” x 1/2” x ¼” thick) or cut into cubes. Lay these out on a sheet of parchment paper. Spray with cooking oil and sprinkle with the poultry seasoning.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for about 1 minute. Add in vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan and when the oil sizzles carefully add the tofu pieces, seasoned side down. Be sure to leave space between each piece, and pan-fry for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle poultry seasoning over the top of the tofu and then turn over each piece. Pan-fry another 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove the tofu to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain off the excess oil. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the tofu and set aside.
To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together, and set aside.
To assemble the salad, in a large bowl combine the cabbage, radicchio, carrots, green onions, walnuts, pan-fried tofu, and Ojai pixie tangerines, and toss together. Pour the dressing over the salad. Add the won ton strips and toss to combine. Garnish with the cilantro and sesame seeds.