Vegan Chinese

Vegan Chinese “Chicken” Salad

Vegan Chinese "Chicken" Salad! With crispy sticky/sweet roasted chickpeas in place of chicken—healthy and totally addictive! | picklesnhoney.com #vegan #chinese #chicken #salad #recipe #chickpeas #lunch #dinner

Before we delve into this crave-worthy vegan Chinese chicken salad, which uses crispy chickpeas in place of chicken (!!!), I’d first like to share something a little more personal with you that’s been on my mind. For as long as I can remember, it’s been of utmost importance to me that I not just be okay or proficient at the things I take on, but really good at them. Receiving an A- always irked me, and a B+…forget it. For some people I think this personality trait is more about pleasing others. For me it’s about pleasing myself. It’s also not about being “the best” because that’s totally relative in most situations and there are always going to be people who are better. That’s life. I know what I’m capable of and I know how hard I’m willing to work to get there.

I was having one of those long and exhausting cathartic talks with Aaron a few days ago. The ones that seem to go round and round in a circle with one person repeating the same thing in different ways (me) and the other person getting burnt out (him). He was telling me we’ve been having the same conversation for months and I was saying this is how I work things out. Finally I stumbled out of my own head for a minute and confided that this blogging thing is really difficult. It seems so simple from the outside, except to do it well—the recipes, the writing, the photography—requires serious skill. It is almost certainly the most challenging endeavor I’ve taken on, even more challenging for me than managing a multi-million dollar SEO department in a previous life. Blogging well requires turning on the parts of my brain that were turned off way back in high school when I chose AP calculus and economics over art classes. Thank goodness for that one senior year english class that ignited my passion for words. I’ll never forget when my teacher gave me a D on my first assignment and made me realize I would need to work a hell of a lot harder to write anything worth reading. And I did. And I hope to never stop.

Vegan Chinese "Chicken" Salad! With crispy sticky/sweet roasted chickpeas in place of chicken—healthy and totally addictive! | picklesnhoney.com #vegan #chinese #chicken #salad #recipe #chickpeas #lunch #dinner

The thing about writing and photography is that I know what awesome work looks like. It is a craft that someone has practiced over and over and over again. I don’t know that you get to that level without being at least a little or a lot obsessive. I can look back over my posts and realize they’re better than they were three and a half years ago, but they’re still not where I want them to be. This will always be a thing, wanting to be better. So in an effort to be better, Aaron and I are going to begin scaling down our frequency of posting in order to ramp up the quality of those posts. Instead of three new recipes each week, we’ll put our time into one and start giving ourselves the space to more fully embrace the world that surrounds us and better replenish our creative energies. It feels like a lot to hang on every post, but it also feels really, really exciting. We know what awesome work looks like and we want to get there.

Vegan Chinese "Chicken" Salad! With crispy sticky/sweet roasted chickpeas in place of chicken—healthy and totally addictive! | picklesnhoney.com #vegan #chinese #chicken #salad #recipe #chickpeas #lunch #dinner

Vegan Chinese "Chicken" Salad! With crispy sticky/sweet roasted chickpeas in place of chicken—healthy and totally addictive! | picklesnhoney.com #vegan #chinese #chicken #salad #recipe #chickpeas #lunch #dinner

Now that the weather has warmed up, we’re finding ourselves craving big salads with lots of color and texture. I used to always order Chinese chicken salads at restaurants, with that addictive salty and sweet combination and those crispy noodles that I could never stop eating. This vegan Chinese chickpea salad is my take on that old favorite and I have to say, the chickpeas really do make the perfect addition. Coated in a mildly spicy garlic sesame soy sauce, they bake up crispy with a sticky glaze that pairs so well with the crunchy vegetables and sweet mandarin oranges. I added chopped roasted almonds and crispy noodles for even more texture, all coated in a light but flavorful easy rice vinegar dressing. I still can’t stop eating those crispy little noodles.

A quick heads up: this recipe has a longer-than-usual ingredient list, but don’t be deterred! It comes together quickly and makes for one very satisfying vegan Chinese chicken salad.

P.S. This video is exactly where I’m at. xo Amanda

Vegan Chinese "Chicken" Salad! With crispy sticky/sweet roasted chickpeas in place of chicken—healthy and totally addictive! | picklesnhoney.com #vegan #chinese #chicken #salad #recipe #chickpeas #lunch #dinner

Vegan Chinese "Chicken" Salad! With crispy sticky/sweet roasted chickpeas in place of chicken—healthy and totally addictive! | picklesnhoney.com #vegan #chinese #chicken #salad #recipe #chickpeas #lunch #dinner

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Vegan Chinese “Chicken” Salad

Vegan Chinese

Vegan Chinese “Chicken” Salad

Vegan,

Serves: 6 as a main meal


Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Bright, colorful and much healthier than any restaurant meal. This vegan Chinese chicken salad uses chickpeas for awesome plant-based protein that's totally crave-worthy.

Vegan Chinese

Vegan Chinese “Chicken” Salad

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Ingredients

For the roasted chickpeas:

  • two 15 oz. cans cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained well (about 3 cups)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce (or to taste)

For the dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • fine grain sea salt to taste

For the salad:

  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup snow peas, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • one 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • one 10.5 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

For topping:

  • black sesame seeds
  • crispy noodles (use rice noodles if gluten-free)

Cuisine: Vegan Servings: 6 as a main meal

Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 25 mins Total Time: 45 mins

Bright, colorful and much healthier than any restaurant meal. This vegan Chinese chicken salad uses chickpeas for awesome plant-based protein that's totally crave-worthy.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, toss together all of the chickpea ingredients until evenly coated. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet and spread them into an even layer. Don't worry about the extra liquid; it will thicken to form a sticky glaze. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once half-way through.
  • While the chickpeas bake, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl or glass jar. Set aside to marinate while you assemble the salad.
  • In a large bowl, toss together all of the salad ingredients along with the warm roasted chickpeas. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss once more to combine. Serve immediately topped with sesame seeds and crispy noodles. Be sure to add the crispy noodles just before serving so they won't get soggy.

Copyright © 2020 Amanda Maguire for Pickles & Honey

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  1. Kait says

    WOOO yay for taking steps that help you feel BETTER. I’ll miss the frequent posts but at the same time won’t – less for me to read and more time to catch up on some other blogs that I’m interested in that I don’t pay as much attention to because this blog is a priority (at this point its you, Gena, and Ang…).

    I LOVE that Ira Glass quote and video…reminds me to keep on keeping on. That taking time to edit my posts properly is important and that I don’t have to write like Gena just yet in order to be taking seriously. I just never want to stop or give up because its coming – I get glimpses of my genius from time to time and it feels utterly fucking delicious and makes me crave more. So I keep writing, sometimes producing shit … keep on drafting, and deleting and editing and just taking the time and making the space to be creative. I struggle to even call myself that (me creative – naaaaaw) but cultivating it is so important and quite fun. Since pleasure is one of my CDFs, I wouldn’t keep doing it if it wasn’t.

    SO excited to see where this blog grows. xo

    1. Amanda says

      I’m extremely flattered that I’m in such great company with those blogs–Gena and Angela are incredible.

      That Ira Glass quote is so good. Like you, I don’t think I considered myself creative until this past weekend…seriously. But you. You are absolutely creative! Two seconds with you and I can feel that. I just smiled so big reading your line about “I get glimpses of my genius from time to time and it feels utterly fucking delicious and makes me crave more.” That is THE BEST feeling. Keep at it girl. xo

      1. Kait says

        Totally just made me cry… in the deep dark place today (exhaustion, overwhelm, stress, questioning everything…I’m sure you know) so thank you.

        I’m slowly but surely learning to own my creativity…it just showed up in a way I didn’t expect (e.g. not a visual artist in any way, from design to clothing). Dance, writing, teaching: I’m at my best when I’m doing them (especially a combo of all, hence being a kick ass Zumba instructor) and I just needed to recognize that these “count” as creativity. Now the next step, of course…there’s always one because we’re fucking insatiable, right?!…is honing + honoring that creativity and its rhythms.

        xoxo

      2. Amanda says

        I adore everything about your comment. You have such a great heart, Kait. xo

  2. I am completely in the same place right now! I’ve been giving thought to going down to 2 posts per week, rather than 3, especially when summer starts to get busy around here. I can eek out 3 posts, but that’s with everything in the balance and nothing going wrong, at all. Now, I know it’s not worth it to slap something together just because I see other bloggers posting much more frequently. This blogging thing can seem lonely, but at the same time, it fills my heart to know that there are other out there (like you!) who are going through the exact same things! Cheers to taking a little more space and time for yourself dear!

    1. Amanda says

      I’m so glad you commented, Abby. I think a lot of us are in that place. What you said about producing 3 posts each week and needing everything to be in balance is spot on for us too. Keeping that pace can feel a little frantic when something comes up. I had no idea how long a post would take when I first started out and you’d think they might get faster, but ours actually take us longer now because we keep pushing to get better. I hope that by scaling back on the frequency we can seriously bump up the quality. Kind of scary putting that out there, but also a relief! I just keep reminding myself that if it doesn’t work, we’ll make changes. <3

    2. Kait says

      I”m so deeply in awe of people who produce multiple posts per week. I struggle to write two (one for me and one for a client) with everything else I have going on…and I don’t have to photograph anything either! Know that there are some of us out there in complete awe of what you’re doing….but that we definitely won’t judge if you cut back because we totally get how much work it is!

      1. Amanda says

        Thanks, friend. The plan is to take the time we were splitting between 3 posts and put it all into 1. Quality > quantity. We really want to step up our game.

      2. Kait says

        Super excited to see what comes!

  3. Rosanna says

    I cannot even imagine how much work is behind each of your posts: ideas, time, development, photography.. you name it!.. Doing 3 posts a week must be exhausting!.. You are one of the few that do that, so if you only do 1 a week, it’s great too.. Leave some time for yourself to enjoy with hubby and friends… I will always follow you blog!

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you, Rosanna! Your comment totally brightened my day. I’ve enjoyed posting a few times a week because I LOVE recipe creation and writing, but I’m also really looking forward to seeing what happens when I channel my creative energy into one post. Thank you again for reading and for the very sweet words. <3

  4. So super crazy excited for you. I totally know that feeling and pressure. Doing one recipe a week has even been hard at times WHILE doing this full time! I cannot even imagine how you’ve been managing three!!! Excited for the creative rejuvenation this will bring you guys, and pumped to see all that you do Amanda!! It’s going to be awesome <3

    1. Amanda says

      Your positivity is amazing, Jessie! I’m always curious what other bloggers’ process is like and how long the various aspects of blogging take them. It would be super interesting to shadow different people and see how they approach each post!

      1. That WOULD be so interesting! I love hearing about others’ processes as well. I always learn something!

  5. Caitlin says

    it is so hard. i love these little changes and adjustments you are making to the blog (the new look is awesome, too!). i can’t wait to see what you come up with next, especially when your roadtrip gets started. xoxoxoxoxo

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Caitlin. <3 I'm glad you like the new look too. It's temporary until we can take on a full-on redesign, but it feels much better to me. Cleaner, less cluttered, more about the post content.

  6. It’s really great that you realize what you need to do in order to feel better! Sometimes I have to take a step back and remind myself that it’s okay to skip a post sometimes especially if that post is just going to end up half-assed because I’m doing it in a hurry.
    Also, I’m loving the new look!! So clean and fresh!

    1. Amanda says

      It’s so important to take a step back every once in a while and reflect. In the thick of things it can be almost impossible to get perspective–that was definitely happening to me up until a couple of weeks ago. Don’t feel bad if you need to skip a post. Quality trumps quantity! Thank you for the kind words about the new look. I’m glad you like it! <3

  7. The quality vs. quantity of posts is one of those things I debate often. Before I read this post I was just thinking how amazing your photos look! I love your style and I really love the mini blog reno recently too. But I totally agree, blogging is surprisingly hard and it can be overwhelming. I’m so happy for you for making the change that feels right, I can’t wait to see what’s to come 🙂

    1. Amanda says

      You are going to make Aaron very happy with your compliments on the photos and mini redesign! Blogging is surprisingly hard…it seems so simple going into it, but there is a steep learning curve for sure. I think we’ll always be learning and trying to up our game. 🙂 We so appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment, Natalie.

  8. It is so darn hard! I’m struggling lately, over-thinking everything and stuck with this “not good enough” mentality to a point of not being able to get anything done. I just shot the same cookie recipe 3 times and still haven’t posted the recipe, ah! I also work full-time as a graphic designer and sometimes find it hard to keep going creatively when I get home from work, sometimes I can’t even think of a single thing to say! Blerg. I was doing so well in January and February, posting 3-4 times per week and I guess I just burnt out. I think you guys are already doing amazing work so I can only imagine how great you’ll be with one post a week! I’m starting to think that might be the magic number for me so I can stop with all this weird pressure and blog guilt for not posting more. Anyways, love your posts and appreciate all the hard work you put into your blog! keep it up 🙂

    1. Amanda says

      I think we’ve all been there at some point with the “this is not good enough” inner voice. There are SO many talented bloggers out there, it’s hard not to feel less than sometimes. BUT! (and I have to remind myself of this) It’s all about giving YOUR personal best in the moment. I don’t even know how you work full-time and post 3-4 times a week–that’s pretty amazing. We were also feeling that creative drain and that’s with me blogging full-time! I can’t imagine doing graphic design all day and then coming home to muster up more creativity for a recipe. Maybe take a weekend or even a day completely off and see if that gives you some perspective? I find that immensely helpful. No sense beating yourself up if you need to scale back a bit.

      Thank you for the super sweet compliments on P&H. That means a lot to us. <3

  9. Made this for my dinner last night – can’t tell how good I feel about myself 2day…! So light and healthy and most importantly, the flavors are good combined together – I’m not a big fan of mixing fruit with salty stuff, but mandarin oranges kind of goes perfectly with this 🙂

    Thanks for this awesome recipe Amanda!

    xx
    Marina

    1. Amanda says

      That’s so great to hear, Marina!

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