As a meal plan service that caters to so many taste preferences around the world, we don’t expect every single meal to become a hit with everybody. Sure, there are those meals that are instant favorites with mostly everyone. (Think: Chicken with Honey Lemon Butter and Portobello Pesto Pizzas.) These recipes found their way onto our ‘Favorites Week’ meal plans.
Then there are those meals that we won’t think of being a hit, but ended up being a total winner. These surprise meals happen to be entree salads, and you can’t imagine how happy this makes us, since we’re all about veggies, and we love that everyone is so excited about a veggie-loaded dinner!
Our own Kitchen Hero Lili was just as surprised when her favorite Cook Smarts meal became the Rotisserie Chicken Chopped Salad. She said, ”I took one bite and realized, ‘Hey, I might actually enjoy this salad thing!’”
“Loved this! So good! Made for an excellent meal that has a lot of vegetables.”
It seems like everyone else seems to be enjoying this salad thing as well! Not only are entree salads healthy and good for you, they are made flavorful with awesome vinaigrettes or sauces, and they are also very filling. (Which is why we think that salads make great breakfasts, too!)
In addition, entree salads are quick to throw together for a fast and tasty weeknight meal. They usually only require chopping, but that’s a great way to practice your knife skills. Whip up a quick vinaigrette and you’re ready to eat!
However, when creating this recipe, we wanted everyone to enjoy an entree salad that could be made ahead of time – dressed and ready to eat without everything getting soggy.
We came up with this Asian Rotisserie Chicken Salad that uses Napa cabbage, crunchy veggies, and rotisserie chicken, and everything gets tossed together in a savory, sweet, tangy nuoc nam sauce. Nuoc nam is a classic Vietnamese sauce that is made from fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and water. A lot of people are skeptical about fish sauce, and we’re not going to lie – the smell is pretty strong! But one taste of this sauce and you’ll want it over everything.
“Was dubious about nuoc nam…never should doubt Jess. Great!”
So all of the shredded cabbage soaks up this delicious nuoc nam, and the good thing is that it won’t get soggy. In fact, this salad is meant to be made ahead of time so that everything can marinate and the flavors can really meld together.
Using rotisserie chicken also cuts out the cooking time, and you know how much we love using rotisserie chicken for short cuts! (Nothing wrong with that!) So make this salad a day before, and all you have to do when you get home after a long day is kick up your feet and enjoy your dinner.
(P.S. Don’t forget the basil and crushed peanuts. They really make the dish from ‘yum!’ to ‘out of this world!’)
Can’t get enough of entree salads? Try these other delicious recipes:
For More Smarts:
If you don’t like fish sauce, you can substitute with soy sauce instead, which is just as savory and tasty.
Put your knife skills to practice by chopping these veggies and herbs ahead of time:
But of course, use the food processor when you can! It’s perfect for grating carrots:
The only tools needed for this salad are a good knife…
…and a food processor. How easy is that?!
For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our ‘Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools’
- Nuoc Nam (3/4 cups):
- Water – 1/2 cup
- Sugar – 2 tbsp
- Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
- Fish sauce – 2 tbsp (Red Boat brand has the fewest additives)
- Lime juice – 2 tbsp
- Hot sauce (opt) – to taste
- Asian Rotisserie Chicken Salad:
- Rotisserie chicken – 1/2, shredded
- Red peppers – 2, sliced thinly
- Napa cabbage – 1/2 head, sliced thinly (~6 cups when sliced. Sub green cabbage)
- Carrots – 1/2 lb, grated
- Basil – 2 sprigs, chiffonade
- Cooking oil – 1 1/2 tbsp
- Peanuts – 1/2 cup, crushed
- Rotisserie chicken – Take meat off the bone and shred. Use knife and fork or just hands. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Red peppers / Napa cabbage / Carrots – Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Make nuoc nam – Combine sweetener and water and boil (or heat in a microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, until water is bubbling). Mix with remainder of sauce ingredients and season to taste with hot sauce. Adjust taste as needed – use fish sauce for more savory, more lime juice for tartness, more sweetener for sweetness. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Basil – Chiffonade.
- Toss chicken, peppers, cabbage, carrots, and basil with nuoc nam and cooking oil. If possible, cover and refrigerate for ~30 minutes before enjoying. This will give the salad some time to marinate in the dressing’s flavors.
- Top with peanuts before serving.