Asian Chopped Salad With Peanut Vinaigrette

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I’m one week into the Daniel Fast, and I have to say that it hasn’t been that bad. It’s actually been quite inspiring and definitely necessary.

I ate so much food from my birthday on November 4 through the holidays. I felt like that blueberry girl in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, but I couldn’t stop eating. Holiday food is just too good to pass up. How could I possibly turn down chocolate covered salted caramel popcorn? And let’s not talk about the prime rib and horseradish sauce that kept me glued to the carving station at a Christmas party. It was sooo good!

By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around, I had to call “Uncle!” But not before I finished off a cheesesteak with provolone, sautéed onions and mushrooms, banana peppers and ketchup.

On January 1, 2017, I stopped eating cold turkey and jumped right into the Daniel Fast to cleanse my system. The word fast sounds pretty scary, and you immediately think starvation and misery. Since I’m a big time foodie and live to eat, that wasn’t going to happen. I like the Daniel Fast because I get to chew. It may not be on chocolate popcorn or prime rib, but it’s not forcing down nasty kale smoothies either.

The Daniel Fast is a biblically based fast inspired by the Book of Daniel. It’s a partial fast that focuses on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts for twenty-one days. During the fast, you’re not supposed to eat sugar/sweeteners, oils, meat, dairy products, breads, pasta, juice or coffee. However, I use a little olive oil and honey to make certain dishes more palatable for me.

I spent much of New Year’s Day menu planning and shopping, that way I knew what to expect for the next three weeks. The first dish I prepared was an Asian-inspired chopped salad. I wanted something fun and festive that would take my mind off the fact that I wasn’t going to be eating meat or starting my day with a cup of coffee for a while. This big crunchy salad definitely satisfied my need to chew. And the peanut vinaigrette added a spicy sweetness that gave some character to a bowl of chopped up vegetables.

This is my fifth time starting a new year with the Daniel Fast, and I always feel so much better afterwards. And as an added bonus, my skin always looks amazing.

Let me know when you make this recipe. Take a picture and hashtag it #QUEENCITYKITCHEN. I can’t wait to see what you post!

Asian Chopped Salad with Peanut Vinaigrette
Makes 4 servings

Vinaigrette
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
3 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
Coarse-ground black pepper

Salad
1 large head Romaine, chopped
½ head red cabbage, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
6 green onions, chopped (green and white parts)
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
⅔ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Kosher salt
Coarse-ground pepper

Combine the canola oil, vinegar, peanut butter, chili sauce, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. Pour the vinaigrette in a jar until ready to use.

Toss the lettuce, cabbage, peppers, oranges, green onions, carrot, peanuts and cilantro in a large mixing bowl until combined. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

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