Asian-Inspired Salad & Chicken with Peanut Sauce

I love Thai food, but my current plan to save money doesn't allow for ordering take out. This conundrum turned into a new creative challenge: cook with asian flavors! So far I've been amazed how well my experiments have turned out. We have been getting a bunch of carrots every week in our Imperfect Produce box (if you live in Oakland and you don't subscribe to this service you are missing out - it's a great deal and they deliver to your doorstep--say I referred you!). This week we also got a beautiful bunch of cilantro, and some red bell peppers. I figured we could plow through a bunch of those carrots if I grated them and put them in some sort of slaw, so I loosely followed this recipe, with some key tweaks. 

Asian-Style Salad & Roasted Chicken with Peanut Dipping Sauce

What you need:

Peanut Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 5 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic


  • 2-4lbs Chicken Thighs - bone in, skin on (organic, hormone-free is ideal)
  • 7-2-1 Seasoning (7tbs sea salt, 2 tbs black pepper, 1tbs garlic powder. Optional: 1/4 tsp cayenne i added this and it is the perfect amount of heat without being too spicy, highly recommend)


  • 1/2 red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 6 carrots, grated in cuisinart
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped


  • 3 T Rice vinegar
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T tamari soy sauce (gluten free) 


what i did

  1. Get your oven preheated to 425. 
  2. Make the peanut sauce. Put all ingredients into a medium pyrex bowl and microwave for 20 sec to melt the PB and coconut oil, then stir it like you mean it. The ginger and garlic infuse the sauce beautifully the longer it sits, so you want to do this early. Can even be done a day ahead. 
  3. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels - this ensures you will get crispy skin. trust me, you want crispy skin. Season all side of the chicken thighs liberally with your 7-2-1 seasoning, then set them on the wire rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch the drippings. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, then test with a meat thermometer. Internal temp should be at least 180. If it's not there yet, put them back in for another 10 minutes. 
  4. While the chicken is baking, get your salad ingredients prepped and mixed. I used my Cuisinart to do the carrots (grater blade) and the red cabbage (mandoline blade), and chopped the green onions, cilantro, bell peppers and napa cabbage by hand. It makes a lot, I had to use my two largest salad bowls to contain it all! Luckily this slaw keeps and works well as leftovers, as long as you add the dressing right before you eat it. 
  5. Make your slaw dressing. Whisk together rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, and tamari in a bowl, or shake them up in a mason jar so you can easily save for later. 
  6. Dress only the portion of slaw that you plan to eat immediately, save the rest for lunches or quick meals throughout the week. 
  7. Allow the chicken to cool 10mins before serving. 
  8. Dip your chicken in peanut sauce, enjoy the crispy crunch of your salad,  and congratulate yourself for making a cheap, delicious, nutritious meal. 

Health Factors:

There are so many great things going on in this meal. 

  1. You're eating a lot of colors. When it comes to vegetables, bright/deep colors indicate high nutrient density. You can easily ensure that you are getting a good variety of healthy vitamins and minerals by making sure you "eat the rainbow"
  2. You're crunching on cruciferous cabbage. Cruciferous veggies are often called "super veggies" check our more on that here. 
  3. You're getting high quality protein. Protein-dense foods should be the cornerstone of your meals if your goal is energy, health, fat loss, improved athletic performance, or any combination thereof. 

If you give this recipe a go, please Tell me how it went in the comments...