Thai Chicken Salad

Paula Nemzek for KCTS 9 Cooks

So easy, we took this camping and assembled it on the spot for dinner. Noodles just need to soak, and gluten-free, too! The slightly spicy dressing lightly coats the salad, just enough to make the fresh flavors pop.

serves 4 to 6

1/2 pound Thai medium (pad thai) rice noodles
4 cups shredded cooked chicken (We use rotisserie chicken.)
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced into matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, halved length wise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro or 1/3 cup Thai basil, roughly chopped, for garnish (optional)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, for garnish
1 lime, sliced in wedges, for garnish < /p>

2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (Use regular soy sauce if gluten is not a concern.)
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil or sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon hot sauce (Sriracha) or 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger < /p>

Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl that you can use for serving. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil and pour water over the noodles, completely submerging them. Let stand until noodles become tender, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don't clump. Drain well and place noodles back in the bowl, along with chicken and veggies.
While noodles soak, prepare the dressing. Stir together rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, hot sauce, garlic and ginger in a small bowl. Or make ahead of time, whirring the ingredients in a blender. Add this dressing to noodle mixture and toss to lightly coat. Squeeze a little lime over the top and enjoy!

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