I am really excited to share this delicious lunch recipe with you today. This heavenly honey, sesame & soy chicken noodle salad is one tasty meal that you are going to love! It is a perfect and simple make-ahead chicken salad, with authentic oriental flavours – great for picnics, or for taking as a deliciously portable lunch for both work or school.
It is incredibly easy to make ahead of time and divide up into portions, ready in the refrigerator to just grab and go as you walk out the door!
I have a quantity of these incredible bamboo luncheon boxes that I like to use for this type of portable lunch dish. These boxes are not only sturdy, but they come complete with a lid and thick elastic band to help keep them secure. The band works perfectly for slipping your chopsticks or a knife and fork into, ready and waiting for you to tuck in come lunch time!
Gathering the Ingredients
This easy-to-prepare salad uses garden-fresh local vegetables and store-cupboard ingredients that most of us will already have in our kitchens. Tender moist chicken breast fillets are rubbed and flash-fried, then sliced and served along with a tasty noodle salad and crispy tender broccoli stems! Fresh flavours, beautifully done in a simple and delicious way.
Make the Sauce
It boasts a sensational dressing which is composed of delightful Oriental flavours. Salty dark soy sauce is simply whisked together with sweet natural honey, garlic powder, salt, pepper, hot chili flakes for a bit of a bite, and some fresh lemon juice for a scrumptiously flavoured dressing that you then pour over freshly cooked al dente pasta noodles.
Make sure you hold about a quarter of the dressing back in reserve. You will be packing this in smaller containers to pop in with your finished salad for transportation, to refresh and add more flavour at its final destination, lunch!
Making the Pasta
I use a whole wheat spaghetti pasta to make this tasty salad, as it is healthier, tastes a bit nutty and is altogether more nutritious, but you can use whatever pasta or noodle suits your preference. Just make sure they are only cooked to al dente.
Perfect timing is key to this, so do follow the timings for cooking your pasta just to al dente included on the package instructions. The pasta will continue to absorb the dressing as it sits, and you don’t want it to become mushy when it does.
Mixing the Salad
A quantity of finely chopped scallion is added to the noodles as well. I like to chop them really fine, using a well-sharpened chef’s knife. I use both the white, light and dark green parts of the scallion, not only for texture and flavour, but also for colour and interest. I always keep a bit back to use as a garnish when the salad is done.
You will also need some sesame seeds. You can toast them if you want to, but I just throw them in as-is. These not only add flavour and texture, but visual interest as well! I also like to reserve a teaspoon or so of the sesame seeds to garnish the finished salads with.
As you can see, these few simple ingredients really do add to a dish that might look rather boring without them, and of course, the flavours are exquisite!
Prepping the Broccoli
I like to use healthy garden-fresh stem broccoli in my salad. I trim off any woody ends and discard them, giving the broccoli a good wash before plunging it into lightly salted boiling water to blanche it. You won’t need much more than two minutes to do this.
Make sure you have a bowl of ice water waiting to scoop it into at the end of that time. This helps to halt the cooking process and ensures a crisp and crunchy texture which goes very well with the noodles, along with a beautiful fresh and bright green colour!
Making the Chicken
I like to use free-range boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets for my salad. If I can get corn-fed, so much the better. You want chicken that has beautiful natural flavours. I rub them first in a mix of fine sea salt, garlic powder, black pepper and just a bit of Chinese five spice powder. They are then flash fried to a golden brown in a skillet.
Once you have them golden brown on both sides, I like to squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, cover tightly and then turn off the burner. They finish cooking as they sit and macerate in the hot lemon juice, which also helps to tenderise them. Once the juices of the chicken run clear when you prod them in the thickest part, you will know they are cooked to perfection.
There is nothing worse than over-cooked chicken breast meat. If you follow my instructions you will be rewarded with perfectly cooked, juicy and flavourful chicken! Once it has cooled and rested you can cut them diagonally into slices, each about ½ inch in thickness.
Assembling the Whole Thing
And that’s it! Divide the noodles between four lunch containers, along with that tender and flavourful sliced chicken breast meat and those crispy fresh broccoli stems. Don’t forget to also tuck in a small container of that exquisitely flavoured Oriental dressing!
A garnish of sliced scallion and a few sesame seeds and you are ready to lock- up and pop them into the refrigerator ready to grab when you are running out the door to work or school! You really can’t go wrong. Seasonal, fresh, delicious, easy and interesting! Nobody likes a boring lunch and these fabulous fresh salads are anything but boring!
Heavenly Honey, Sesame and Soy Chicken Noodle Salad
This is a perfectly portable and delicious soy, sesame & honey noodle salad with tender pieces of succulent chicken and crispy tender-stem broccoli. Quick and easy to make as well as being very healthy!
For the chicken:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets – trimmed
- 1 tbsp sesame oil (not toasted)
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- Garlic powder to taste
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Chinese five spice powder to taste
- The juice of ½ lemon
For the noodles:
- 1 pound of uncooked thinnish noodles (or spaghetti, etc.)
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp liquid honey
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- Fine sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 4 scallions, trimmed, washed and finely chopped
You will also need:
- 1 bunch tender stem broccoli trimmed and blanched
- 1 tbsp chopped spring onion to garnish
- 1 tsp sesame seed to garnish
First, make the noodle salad:
- Cook the noodles you have chosen according to the package directions in a pot of lightly salted water, just until al dente
- Drain well, rinse with cold water, and drain again
- Place into a large bowl, along with the chopped scallions and sesame seeds.
- Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes (if using), salt and black pepper to combine.
- Pour ¾ of this mixture over the noodles, scallions and sesame seeds.
- Toss together to combine. Set aside.
- Reserve the remainder of the dressing for later.
Next, the chicken:
- Season the chicken all over with the garlic powder, salt, pepper and five spice powder, rubbing it into the surface.
- Heat a large, non-stick skillet. Add the oil.
- When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken breasts in one layer, presentation (top) side down.
- Cook over medium heat, until golden brown on that side, then carefully flip over and cook until golden brown on the bottom side.
- About 4 minutes per side.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over top, remove from the heat, cover tightly and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from the pan to a cutting board, and slice diagonally into strips.
Then the broccoli:
- To blanche the broccoli, bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil and add the broccoli.
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove and plunge into a bowl of ice water.
- Drain well.
- Divide the dressed noodles between each of four lunch boxes/lidded containers for transport.
- Divide the broccoli between the boxes along with the chicken.
- Put the remaining dressing into small screw-topped containers and add one to each box.
- Cover tightly and chill until ready to transport to school or work.
- Keep refrigerated or in an insulated lunch bag cooler.
Complete Steps in Pictures
This will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days, which makes it ideal for prepping a few days’ worth of lunches ahead.
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