Imagine a crispy, crunchy, chicken salad full of flavor and topped with sweet clementines. In the middle of winter, it might be cause for celebration to eat like you’re in the tropics, but this salad also packs a seasonal flair as well. Bright citrus-y flavors combined with earthy greens and homemade almond tortilla strips make this a great lunch or light dinner. The leftovers are delicious, too, which also makes this salad a great meal prep dish.
I wanted to make sure we gave the chicken a lot of flavor, but instead of using a traditional brown sugar and soy sauce marinade, I’ve created a lighter option with minced ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, and a splash of olive oil. It’s refreshing and delicious – even if you’re not a huge fan of ginger.
Traditionally, chow mein noodles are served on top of a tropical salad boasting miniature oranges, but the tiny extra bit of effort to toast up some almond tortilla strips is 100% worth it in my book. The color wheel of this dish is total proof that what you’re eating has a wide variety of nutrients, but here’s a summary of what you can look forward to when you enjoy Tropical Chicken Salad:
- Ginger – Immune system booster, tummy soother, and tension reliever
- Purple Cabbage – Disease fighter, liver rejuvenator
- Clementines – Detoxifier, disease fighter, calcium builder
- Leafy greens – Alkaline source, detoxifier, protein source
In order to make the homemade almond tortilla strips, look for Siete brand almond flour tortillas in your freezer aisle. I’ve found this brand at places like Whole Foods and Fresh Market, but also Wal-Mart! They are becoming easier and easier to find and are a lifesaver for those eating a gluten-free or grain-free diet (plus they are REALLY good!). Image source: sietefoods.com
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 thumb-sized knob fresh ginger, peeled
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp coconut palm sugar
- 1.5 lbs chicken tenders
- 1 head romaine lettuce or other leafy greens
- ½ head red cabbage
- 3-4 clementines
- 4 almond tortillas (or regular tortillas)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line two baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper.
- Grate the ginger on small holes of a box grater until you have about 1 tsp. (feel free to add more if you like ginger). Add the minced garlic and ginger to a small bowl along with the rice vinegar, olive oil and coconut palm sugar. Whisk thoroughly.
- Set chicken on a baking sheet and using a separate spoon or pour feature, drizzle the chicken with about 3 tbsp of the oil mixture (the rest will be used to dress the salad).
- Bake the chicken for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through. Once removed from oven, set aside to cool.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350ºF to prepare for the tortillas.
- Meanwhile, wash and cut your leafy greens and red cabbage and combine together in a large bowl. Drizzle with the rest of the oil mixture from before and mix to combine.
- Stack the four tortillas and all at once, cut the stack into ½ strips. Rotate and cut once right down the middle to create 3-4” strips. Using the other baking sheet, place strips in a single layer and put in oven to bake for 3-4 minutes. Flip over with a spatula and cook for another 1-2 minutes.Remove from oven and cool.
- Cut cooled chicken into bite sized pieces and add to salad.
- Top salad with the now crunchy tortilla strips, clementine slices, and toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!