Salad bar adds flavor and fun to celebrations

An Asian Chopped Salad bar can include Chinese Almond Cookies for dessert. Michele Howard photos
An Asian Chopped Salad bar can include Chinese Almond Cookies for dessert. Michele Howard photos

FALLBROOK – One way to celebrate the Chinese New Year, on Saturday, Jan. 28 this year, is to create an Oriental-themed menu for a party, or fix an Asian chopped salad for lunch with friends.

Fallbrook resident Michele Howard likes to make food to share with friends and family. Here is the recipe she uses for a colorful salad bar meal:

Asian Chopped Salad

Base of salad:

  • 1 head of each; green cabbage, purple cabbage, Napa cabbage: slice each head in half and remove core and stem. Make slices 1/4″ and then chop opposite to make small pieces, all should all be uniform.
  • 5-6 stalks of celery – cut lengthwise and 1/4″ slices
  • 6 carrots – use food processor thick shredder disc, trim off ends and peel before shredding

Toppings:

  • 3 bunches green onions, sliced, use white and part of green stalk
  • 1/2 lb. pea pods, drop in boiling water 1 minute, rinse cold water, drain, pat dry with paper towel, cool in refrigerator- slice in half
  • 2 large red and/or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • mandarin oranges, if in light syrup, rinse under cold water, drain, refrigerate
  • 1/2 lb bean sprouts
  • 1 to 2 bunches fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 package slivered almonds, roasted not smoked
  • Wontons, buy packaged as strips

Protein options:

  • 3 grilled chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise (should have 6 pieces) then sauté in olive oil and sesame oil medium high heat until just done, not to dry chicken out – or –
  • 2 lbs med/large grilled shrimp, tail and body shell removed
Asian Chopped Salad is a colorful meal; chopsticks are optional.
Asian Chopped Salad is a colorful meal; chopsticks are optional.

Dressing:

Any Asian ginger sesame dressing. Suggested dressing choices: Joey D’s has two kinds, or Annie’s organic Asian Sesame. Or, go online to Topsecretrecipes.com, search for Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad, see dressing:

  • Whisk or use mixer, all ingredients: May have to make 5 times this amount for the recipe amount above.
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

When preparing salad ingredients for the next day’s meal: Assemble base salad tossed evenly into large bowl and cover tightly or store in 2-gallon freezer Zip Lock bags and refrigerate. Do not place dressing on salad until ready to serve with toppings.

Toppings are stored separately as they will get mushy sooner than base salad if not eaten in one day.

When setting up the salad bar, put out individual containers of ingredients. This accommodates the guests who would rather pick what they like to put on their salads. The dressing can be tossed with the salad base right before serving, or the dressing can be put out for guests to decide how much they want to put on their salads.

Howard’s recipe ends with “Eat well my friends, as good food, company, conversation (leave the cell phones off) and a nice comfortable atmosphere make a great memory for all who attend!”

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