Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

One of my all time favorite salads that I make is my Spring Roll Salad with Thai Dressing. It is the perfect salad to make when herbs are springing forth from the ground in full force. It’s packed with fresh mint, fresh cilantro, and fresh basil.  I jam all of those fresh beauties in the salad and top with carrots, cucumber, and spring onions and just POUR that beautiful thai dressing in my mouth..I mean, on the salad. But seriously, I could totally gorge myself on that stuff.

If you don’t have fresh herbs growing, you can totally grab some at the farmers market in large beautiful bunches. But I recommend growing some in pots. Super easy and incredibly rewarding to be able to use fresh herbs in a flash. They are easy to grow from seed or purchasing starters at your local gardening store.

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Anywho, I decided to take my amazing herbalicious spring roll salad to a new level. I topped it with grilled chicken that had been marinated in a thai flavored marinade for an hour. My husbands words after eating this salad were “This is the best salad I’ve ever eaten in my life.”  Who can’t love a great juicy grilled chicken and amazing peanut sauce! Heaven.

So this is seriously an easy peasy dinner, folks. Maybe not as easy as scrambled eggs but soooo much more tasty. Marinate the chicken for at least an hour or as long as overnight. You can use bone in or boneless, heck you can even go with breasts, thighs, legs, wings…whatever you want. I want judge if you’re a thigh person over a boob person. It’s cool. We are being super easy over here. Note: if you choose bone in breasts or thighs, it will take longer to grill than boneless. But who cares…we are grilling. Grab a brew, throw your meat on the grill, cheers to summer. That stupid winter is over. And here comes that ungrateful sticky humidity. Get ready!

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

While the chicken is grilling, throw your greens, herbs, and veggies together in separate bowls or one massive bowl. Whip up the Spicy Peanut Dressing. Add water to the peanut dressing as needed to get it to the consistency that you want. Set it aside and let everyone pour the sauce at their leisure. You may want to make extra!

Pull the chicken off the grill, let sit for a few minutes, then cube it up. Add it to the salads.

Pour dressing. Pour some more. C’mon!

Done.

Eat.

Lick bowl.

Dream about peanut dressing until the time you get it. Or is that just me? Life sure is better with fresh herbs and peanut dressing!

Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Chicken Marinade Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 lbs chicken breasts or chicken thighs (I used 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
  • 2 Tablespoons nam pla (thai fish sauce) (I use red boat…great write up on it here)
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free tamari (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste (red or green works)

Spring Salad Ingredients

(basically this Thai Spring Roll Salad of mine)

  • Mixed greens (lettuce, baby kale, arugula, etc)
  • shredded carrots
  • cucumber
  • green onions
  • red bell pepper
  • avocado
  • fresh limes
  • fresh mint, cilantro, and basil
  • Thai Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing (substitute peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter in the dressing depending on your dietary needs)

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag or shallow glass dish. Mix marinade ingredients in a small dish and pour over the chicken. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator or an hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat the grill (or preheat oven to 425 F). Remove chicken from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drain. Place chicken on hot grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until a thermometer reads 155 F within the thickest part of the chicken breast or thigh. If baking, place the chicken on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove cooked chicken from grill or oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. Mix ingredients for the spicy peanut dressing together in a small bowl or small food processor. You can use almond butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter based on dietary needs. Add water as needed to obtain the consistency that you desire for dressing. Set aside.
  4. Assemble salad ingredients in separate bowls or in a single bowl. Top with cubed grilled chicken. I like mine with extra herbs, sliced avocado, and a big squeeze of lime too. Then pour the peanut dressing on top. I even go for an extra dash of siracha to boot. Mmmm. Enjoy!

 

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Creamy Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup (Gluten Free, Vegan, and Paleo-Friendly)

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I have a divided house when it comes to silky smooth soups that only contain vegetables and no cream. Pureed smooth, they show off the amazing flavor of just the vegetables without anything masking their natural deliciousness. I love them…a lot. They are creamy without being loaded with cream. They are smooth and comforting and light. I want them in my belly.

The other person in this house does not like them because, well…they are creamy without being loaded with cream and they are smooth and light and in his words, “like baby food”. He wants heartiness. He wants carbs. He wants meat. He wants cream. He wants butter. He wants bacon. Do I live with Paula Dean?

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

And I craaaave creamy soups that have NO cream but are just ALL vegetables. I love smooth and creamy tomato soup, or carrot soup, or butternut squash soup. And every time I make them, my poor hubs has to eat this nourishing amazing bowl of yumminess and smile and leave ALL the leftovers for me. GOOD. Best lunches EVER. He can have his can of tuna and weird packages of sardines for lunch. Meanwhile, I will enjoy my creamy roasted soups and everyone at work will smell them and say “whoa…what are you having?”. In a good way. At least, that’s how it plays out in my head.

I stumbled on this Parsnip and Apple soup the other day on the most beautiful blog called Golubka Kitchen and I instantly began drooling. I couldn’t get the soup out of my brain box. I adapted it to roast the parsnips and I swapped out the potatoes for cauliflower. I found fennel on sale at the store and so I through it in as well to round out the awesome white soup. I recommend saving some of the fennel fronds and some thyme for topping these delicious bowls of comfort. The soup is also yummy with a good drizzle of olive oil.

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So despite knowing that I have a divided house on smooth and creamy dreamless soups, I MADE it. and I loooooved it. I recommend you do the same, because then you will have a few days worth of amazing lunches and they get stuck with canned tuna.

Creamy Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup (Vegan, Gluten Free, and Paleo-Friendly)

Adapted from Golubka Kitchen

Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main dish

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb, sliced into 1/2-inch wide slices
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for drizzling on finished soup bowls)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (plus more for garnish)
  • 3 to 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Toppings: thyme leaves, olive oil, yogurt, quinoa

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Place chopped parsnips, cauliflower florets, fennel slices, apple slices, and garlic cloves in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Toss to coat evenly and then spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing at 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven. Place half of vegetables into a blender or food processor along with half of the chicken stock, cumin, and thyme. Blend well for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the pureed mixture to a medium stock pot. Blend next batch of roasted vegetables and remaining chicken stock for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer remaining soup puree to stock pot.
  4. Heat soup in stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Add additional liquid if soup is too thick. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Distribute evenly into bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil and thyme leaves. I added some quinoa to mine for a more substantial dinner.

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

We are all getting antsy around here. Am I right? I hate getting taunted with a few days of warm weather, then blasted with too many days of cold. It’s a terrible tease. Tulips are peaking out of the ground. Trees are beginning to bud. Patio weather one day and then fire-place/wool socks/snuggy weather the next. Ugh.

Does anyone else feel a little bipolar weather insanity coming on?  My body and cravings are in a constant state of flux… Sun!!!!! Give me fresh veggies! Give me fresh fruit! More spring greens!!!!

OOOOoooooh wait…clouds? Snow? Blaaaah. Carb me up it’s cold! Where’s the chili? Where’s the chowder? Salad, really???? Why is it not covered in cheese? Helloooo! I like my cupcake handles, thank you very much! Gotta keep some padding on this bod against the polar vortex!

Wait. But NO! Let’s think positive. Let’s all send out SPRING THOUGHTS. (Don’t roll your eyes! I’m trying to quit being so crabby….I said trying, people).

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Wish for camping. Wish for tulips. Wish for gardening. Wish for the smell of grills. Wish for the sound of neighbors chatting with each other. Wish that your lawn will mow itself (get a goat). Wish that those cupcake handles will magically disappear once bathing suite season rears its ugly head (or maybe swimming t-shirts will come back in style).

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

As you send out your good vibes into the world, here is my positive food vibe. I used one of my fave winter veggies, brussels sprouts, to make a springy slaw! Lime and cilantro pump this puppy up another notch. Red cabbage makes this a total beauty to serve.  Oh ya, give me a badge! Healthy and Hawt!

Personally, I love this slaw on my fish tacos. Mmmmmm….recipe to come later. So put down the carbs and chili for just a few minutes and try to get a positive spring mind.

Maybe if we all think positive, spring will finally move in for good. But summer will stay asleep for a loooong time.

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb medium-sized brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
  • 1/2 head small red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onion, white and green parts sliced
  • juice of 1 large lime (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Remove any brown or spotted out leaves of the sprouts. The sprouts can be shredded several different methods: shredded in a food processor (using the slicing blade), sliced as thin as possible using a good knife, or using a mandolin slicer. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Shred half of a head of small red cabbage or slice as thin as possible. Add the shredded cabbage, cilantro, and green onions to the large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, salt, and olive oil together. Pour dressing over shredded veggies. Toss and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to distribute the dressing. Eat up!

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy Free)

Holy cow…it’s February. Did you know this? It’s February. Crap. Days are passing by me like a freight train.  I’ve been having a tough time keeping up with posting delicious recipes. I’m so sorry. The truth is that I’m holding out on you. I’ve got tons of delicious treats that have been brewing up in this little kitchen of mine as I’ve been dealing with winter blues, cabin fever, and job stress. I just have to sit my butt down, and type them out. So here we go….

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy Free)

First, I will catch you up a bit. Recently I celebrated my 34th birthday. I made the mistake of working on my birthday…what? But my sweet man took me out on an unforgettable birthday dinner to a fabulous french restaurant in Kansas City, Le Frou Frog.  It’s a beautiful and quaint restaurant in the inside….the outside, eeeeh…well, looks like a defunct strip club. I kid you not. But don’t let that deter you like it did me for the past 5 years. If you are ever in KC and are in need of a great dinner and lively night, check it out. My husband got the biggest KC strip I had ever seen, dripping with drool-icious green peppercorn sauce. YUM. I had a chicken roulade stuffed with goat cheese, spinach, and sundried tomatoes. A winning combination. And of course some finger-licking fabulous french sauce poured on top. Love those french sauces. Why can’t I recreate them! Eeeeeerhmergerd. Oh and then topped the night off with my fave, creme brûlée. I died and returned to Paris. It was the best.

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Aside from my birthday and crazy work schedule, I’m in a daily battle and staring competition with my pour chocolate lab, Guinness. I typically take him on daily walks, but my poor sad old man dog hasn’t gone on a walk in over a week because wind chills are below zero in this crazy town. UGH.  WHO LIVES LIKE THIS! And how do people in Canada survive? Or even Minnesota! Seriously. I’m wearing two pairs of long underwear…TWO.

The main thing getting me through this crazy cold winter has been cozy and comfy soups. I constantly crave Pho, day in and day out. I love the fresh cilantro, basil, and bean sprouts that get stirred into the hot delicious bowl of goodness. There is an amazing little Vietnamese place that I frequent called Vietnam Cafe. It’s paradise on earth and in a bowl. But alas, I am no Pho master. So instead, I’ve created a love child soup between Thai curry and Pho…sort of.

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy Free)

This Thai Coconut Curry soup is set up like Pho: fill your bowl with “noodles”, pour in the broth curry soup, top with cilantro, basil, sprouts, and siracha. Instead of rice noodles, I use my favorite veg swap, spaghetti squash.  It’s healthy, nutritious, low carb, whole food. It’s good for you. Do it. But…with that being said, you could easily use rice noodles instead.

If you are a bit bored with your regular soup rotation, give this one a go. It’s comforting, lively, and will definitely brighten any gloomy day.

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy Free)

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Inspired by Bon Appetit and Bev Cooks

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thin (reserve some for garnish)
  • 2 Tablespoons green curry paste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15 oz cans of light or full fat coconut milk
  • 6 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken (breast or thighs)
  • Juice of 1/2 large lime
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 10 oz raw mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup snow peas, chop into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, leaves torn
  • Garnish: cilantro, basil, chile paste, lime wedges, scallions, bean sprouts

Ingredients

  1. Place spaghetti squash into microwave. Microwave for 5 minutes. Slice in half, remove and discard seeds. Place into a shallow glass baking dish with 1 inch of water. Place back into microwave. Microwave on high again for an additional 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from microwave and set aside.
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Place most of the sliced red onion into the pan. Reserve about 1/4 cup of red onions for garnish on top of the finished soup. Saute the sliced onion for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the curry paste, ginger, curry powder, coriander, and garlic to the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add broth and coconut milk, stirring until mixture is combined. Add chicken and then bring coconut broth to a boil. Add fish sauce, lime juice, salt, and sliced mushrooms and combine. Cook covered for 15 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir occasionally. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool so that you can shred it. Shred the chicken (I use two forks).
  4. Bring the soup back to a boil and add the snow pea pods, shredded chicken, cilantro, and basil to the pot. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Using a fork, pull the spaghetti squash “noodles” from the squash. Place about 1/2 cup of squash noodles in the base of each serving bowl. Ladle Thai soup over the squash noodles. Garnish with additional sprigs of cilantro, basil leaves, Thai chile paste, scallions, and/or bean sprouts.

Chili Verde Pork Stew (Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Chile Verde Pork Stew - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So let’s say you over did it during the holidays. And if you DIDN’T over do it on the holidays…your will power astounds me…go eat some chocolate caramel doo dads and quite making the rest of us feel guilty. Gaaaaaaaah.

Whether you want to eat healthier, or spend more time with your family, or just take care of yourself and your family, this stew answers all of those resolutions. I’m serious!

Chile Verde Pork Stew - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I currently have a massive crush on this Green Chili Verde Pork Stew. It’s dangerous. Dangerous to the point that I find myself preaching about this stew to my friends, my family, my husband, my dog, and then to people who don’t care like my eye doctor (she really should care) or my massage therapist (really, it’s THAT good) or even the kid that just stopped by my house to see if I wanted to have my driveway shoveled of the crap ton of snow that is lingering, but then I become the creepy old lady that says “oh honey it’s so cold out there, maybe you just need this green soup”. Someone help me! Poor kid.

So it’s green (green things are healthy, right) and easy (more time to do other things like stalk pinterest). The pics may not look like much, but I’m telling you that this little stew packs a memorable and heart warming goodness that you will not want to pass up. Tomatillos and hatch chiles gives this stew a tangy and slightly spicy flavor that gets better with every bite.  I used canned chiles and a jar of tomatillo salsa verde. But if you wanted to be even more adventurous, you could use both fresh roasted hatch chiles and fresh roasted tomatillos *cough* (overachiever) *cough*.

Chile Verde Pork Stew - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I had a 3 pound pork roast from a local farmer that I needed to use. I’m sure you could also use a pork shoulder or boston butt instead. I prepared this in my dutch oven, but I am quite positive that it would also work in the slow cooker. Either way, the slow cooked pork roast is so fork tender and delicious that it will make you want to inhale the whole pot. But wait…and share it with others. Spread the love. I served this amazing stew for Christmas Eve for weary family as they arrived at our house after a long days drive.  It’s the type of meal that can bubble away for hours until you want to serve it. It can also be made ahead of time and reheated when you want to serve it.

Chile Verde Pork Stew - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Chili Verde Pork Stew

Serves 8 to 10

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

  • 3 lb pork roast (or pork shoulder or boston butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 4 oz cans of mild green hatch chiles
  • 1 16 oz jar of mild salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch of cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped (reserve about ¼ cup for topping the stew)
  • 4 cups of chicken stock

Instructions

  1. Season the pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the pork chunks by placing small batches of the pork into the heated dutch oven. Allow to brown on all sides. Lift the pork out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from dutch oven. Add onion to dutch oven and cook over medium heat until onions become translucent and browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add pork and remaining ingredients to pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a slight simmer. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, or until the pork is fork tender. Remove bay leaves.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with reserved chopped cilantro.

Notes – I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m quite positive that this also could be prepared in a slow cooker.  Brown the pork before placing it into the crockpot. Add all other ingredients on top of the browned pork. Cook on low for at least 8 hours.

Strawberry and Cucumber Ribbon Salad

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My husband pulled the trigger this week. Four years of waffling on my end.  But he just woke up one morning this week and decided it was time. He jumped in and started pulling up the 85 layers of laminate and tile and fiber board that covered our kitchen floors. Good thing he stopped just before hitting the asbestos tile. What a man!

He sent me pictures of the destruction while I was at work. Needless to say I was shocked. And then kind of excited. But then it hit me…

“Wait… You JUST did this???? Are you kidding??? No stove? No fridge? No floor?  Is that asbestos? Are you dying? Is that a respirator? Are you drinking water???? Don’t eat the floor! Don’t die on me.”

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I guess this means I’m GETTING A FLOOR!

What do you eat when you don’t have a kitchen and your garden is going gangbusters with cucumbers? Cucumber salad!

Let’s get fancy….cucumber ribbon salad! Oooooh gurrrrl!  Ya, I did it. I used a vegetable peeler for something besides collecting dust in my kitchen utensil crap drawer. Boom!

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I also threw some fresh strawberries, basil, mint, and feta into the mix. Personally, I think the fresh herbs and feta really bring this dish together. I also drizzled a little bit of good balsamic vinegar on top. This has been my go to lunch of choice this week. Summer in a bowl!

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This also is a perfect picnic salad! Because I’m basically picnicking every meal until our kitchen floor installation is complete.

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Strawberry and Cucumber Ribbon Salad

Makes 4 side salads or 2 large salads

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons crumbled feta
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons fresh mint and/or basil, slivered
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler or or mandolin slicer, cut the cucumber lengthwise into long thin ribbons. Stop before you get to the seeds.
  2. Place cucumber ribbons in a bowl with sliced strawberries, crumbled feta, basil, and mint. Drizzle with good balsamic vinegar when ready to serve.