This shop featuring my kung pao chicken salad has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Conagra Brands. All opinions are mine alone. #SimpleSecret #CollectiveBias
Summer has come to Chicago, and with it, high temperatures and humidity. This tends to kill my desire to turn on my oven and bake or to spend tons of time slaving over a hot stove. Add in the fact that my appetite dies as the heat index rises, and the foods I eat change a ton every summer.
The good news is that this means I have tons of fun creating and enjoying different salads from my cherry goat cheese salad to my shaved Brussels sprouts salad to my daughter’s favorite lemon kale salad to more hearty entree salads like this easy to make kung pao chicken salad.
The secret is taking some of my favorite flavors overall and moving them to salad form, something I enjoy more during the hot months than the originals. I adore bacon roasted Brussels sprouts, but again the oven deters me, so I opt for the lighter, fresher version. I adore Chinese food in just about all forms, but making a true kung pao chicken in the summer heat doesn’t interest me. This much pared down version, on the other hand, satisfies my cravings while fitting with my desire to minimize my use of the oven and stove.
When I popped into Walmart last week and first saw the NEW P.F. Chang’s® Home Menu sauces, my antenna immediately perked up. These brand new sauces come in three varieties and are available only at Walmart. While I debated briefly between the Teriyaki, Kung Pao, and Sesame sauces, the P.F. Chang’s® Kung Pao Sauce won out pretty quickly as I immediately saw how I could use it as a marinade and as a salad dressing.
And thus kung pao chicken salad was born. In this recipe, P.F. Chang’s® is my simple secret to extraordinary flavor – without extraordinary effort.
I love adding all sorts of fun to my salads. One trick I love is to always use a great crunchy lettuce that helps cool me off and stands up to a bunch of other ingredients. Carrots are a must in this salad, as are red peppers and sugar snap peas. I marinated the grilled chicken in the P.F. Chang’s® Kung Pao Sauce before grilling, and of course I had to add some peanuts. The peanuts were the only item that required my stove, but only for a couple minutes. Toasting the peanuts to increase their flavor and aroma? That’s worth turning on my stove.
Beyond those bits and pieces, it’s up to you. If you have a favorite ingredient that works with those flavors, add it. Baby corn would be so much fun. What about adding a little cucumber for added freshness? Sprout? Bring ’em on! Half the fun of salads is the ability to modify them to fit your personal tastes. Regardless, the P.F. Chang’s® sauce stole the show in this kung pao chicken salad. It tastes fantastic (yes, I tried it alone before cooking with it), and these brand new sauces help make Asian dishes simple to prepare.
Needless to say, I’m not the only one excited about this exclusive to Walmart new product. Another reason you should get excited? There’s a sweepstakes you can enter to win a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona – home of the first P.F. Chang’s® China Bistro! Check out this special site for plenty more Asian recipe inspiration and to enter the sweepstakes.
How to Make Kung Pao Chicken Salad
Start your kung pao chicken salad by marinating your chicken. This adds a ton of flavor throughout your salad. Add 3/4 cup of the sauce to a zip top bag and add the chicken. Return to the fridge for one to three hours to allow flavor to soak into the chicken.
Once marinated, heat your grill to medium and grill the chicken 5-7 minutes per side until the chicken is cooked through and reaches 160 degrees inside. Remove from the grill and let sit a few minutes to finish cooking before you slice for your salad.
While the chicken rests, toast your peanuts in a saucepan over medium heat on your stove, shaking it every 30 seconds. Cook for approximately two minutes. When you start to smell the delicious peanut smell, you’re done. Set them aside until you assemble your kung pao chicken salad.
Chop your rinsed and dried lettuce into bite size pieces. There’s nothing worse than having to try to shove a huge piece of lettuce in your mouth or having to cut your salad to fit. Peel and julienne your carrot. Seed your pepper and slice thinly. Wash and prep your peas.
To create the dressing for your kung pao chicken salad, use the P.F. Chang’s® Kung Pao sauce and whisk in oil to create an emulsified dressing. The sauce is almost perfect on its own as a dressing, but the added oil helps keep it from overpowering the rest of your salad.
Add the lettuce to the bottom of a bowl. Top with your remaining veggies. Slice your chicken on the bias or into bite size pieces, if you prefer. Place the chicken over your veggies and drizzle on the dressing. Sprinkle peanuts on top, and your kung pao chicken salad is ready to eat. Serve immediately.
If you plan to make this for a party, prep all the veggies but don’t assemble until just before you’re ready to eat. You can make the chicken a day ahead of time, and it tastes just as delicious cold on your salad – especially in the midst of this summer heat – as it does fresh off the grill.
Have you ever had a kung pao chicken salad? What would you add to it?
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 3/4 c P.F. Chang's® Kung Pao Sauce
- 1/2 c peanuts, toasted
- 2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 c snap peas
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 1/3 c P.F. Chang's® Kung Pao Sauce
- 1/4 c oil
- Add trimmed chicken to a zip top bag with 3/4 c kung pao sauce. Seal and swish to coat. Return to fridge for 1-3 hours to marinate.
- Grill chicken 5-7 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from grill and let rest while you prep the remainder of the salad.
- Wash and dry lettuce, pepper green onions, snap peas, and carrots.
- Over low heat, add peanuts to a saucepan to toast. Swirl every 30 seconds to avoid burning. Cook 2-3 minutes until you start to smell them, then remove from stove and let cool.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup kung pao sauce and oil. Use a fork to whisk until well combined.
- Chop lettuce and pepper. Slice onions and prep peas. Peel and julienne carrots. Add lettuce to a large bowl. Add pepper, carrots, and snap peas atop the lettuce. Slice the chicken on the bias as thinly as possible and add atop the veggies. Sprinkle peanuts and green onion over the chicken.
- Add dressing over the salad and serve immediately.