Asian Pesto Chicken Salad

Anyway, in addition to being a source of personal inspiration for yours truly, Ming Tsai has created some truly exceptional recipes. Like, truly. Everything I’ve ever made of his is bursting with flavor. And this recipe was no exception. The pesto was spicy, sweet, tangy, and herby all at once. Mixed with the other salad ingredients, it was sublime. Literally, I can’t explain to you how good this is. And how easy. And how GOOD.
So grab a chicken and some basil and make this. Now. Please?

Rotisserie Chicken Chronicles #1

Rotisserie Chicken Chronicles #1

Rotisserie Chicken Chronicles #1

Rotisserie Chicken Chronicles #1

Rotisserie Chicken Chronicles #1

* Note:  I’m posting this recipe as I made it, which was based on what I had on hand and my personal heat tolerance.  It’s fairly close to the original, and it was very good, as I’ve said, but I’m sure the original recipe is incredible for those people who can tolerate a lot of jalapeno and have a healthier mint plant than I do.
Asian Pesto Chicken Salad
Asian Pesto:
  • 1 jalapeno chili, stemmed and seeded
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 inch piece peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 c. roasted, salted macadamia nuts
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 c. fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 c. fresh cilantro leaves, packed
  • 1/3 c. fresh mint leaves, packed
  • 1/2 – 1 c. canola oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
In a food processor, pulse jalapeno, garlic,sugar,  ginger, macadamia nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, and some (approx 1/3 c.) canola oil until a smooth paste is formed.  In batches, add basil, cilantro, and mint, and pulse to puree.  Add canola oil, pulsing, until desired consistency is reached.  Season with salt and pepper.
Asian Pesto Chicken Salad:
  • 1 package (8 0z.) orzo, cooked according to package directions
  • meat from1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1 c. asian pesto
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 c. fresh spinach leaves, packed
  • 1-3 TBS lemon juice
  • kosher salt and pepper

Mix orzo, chicken, pesto, cherry tomatoes, and spinach in large bowl.  Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve slightly warm or cold.

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