ASIAN SESAME CHICKEN SALAD

One of Junior Too’s favorite salads is Panera Bread’s Asian Sesame Chicken Salad. Several years ago, I set out to duplicate it and this recipe resulted. Granted, Junior Too still puts his thumb a bit higher for Panera Bread’s version, but my version is a close second. Note: Senior and I like the addition of Craisins, whereas Junior prefers to stick with the original non-Craisin version.

Asian Chicken Sesame Salad

Asian Chicken Sesame Salad with Craisins

1 tbsp olive oil

2 chicken breasts, sliced into thin, bite-sized pieces

sea salt

ground black pepper

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sesame seeds (I used duo–white and black mix)

8 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 cup rice noodles

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup Craisins (optional)

1) 60 minutes before assembling salad, add olive oil to large skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken pieces, lightly season with salt and pepper, and cook 2 minutes each side until lightly golden and cooked through; transfer chicken to paper-towel lined plate and chill in refrigerator

2) 45 minutes before assembling salad, prepare dressing: whisk vegetable oil, rice vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds in small bowl and chill in refrigerator

3) Assemble salad, dividing ingredients between 4 plates in this order: romaine lettuce, chicken, rice noodles, sliced almonds, and Craisins (optional); serve with dressing

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions; 8 side-salad portions

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