Chicken Kale Salad with Papaya

Chicken Kale Salad with Papaya Recipe

My initial plan was to make a sweet and salty, spicy and bitter Vietnamese-style salad using green papaya and the chicken leftovers from yesterday. It turns out I didn't pay attention at the market and bought a very ripe papaya, so I opted for a completely different dish with kale and pesto walnut vinaigrette. 

It wasn't what I envisioned from the beginning but I ended up with the flavors I wanted for this salad: sweet and salty and spicy and bitter. I'll probably do it again. This is one result of many experiments that turned out successfully!


Yields: 6 servings

2½ pounds fresh baby kale leaves
½ ripe papaya, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 clove pickled garlic, finely minced
1½ tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
¼ cup kale walnut pesto
2 chicken breats, boiled
½ teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground


Prepping the kale: Wash the raw kale thoroughly in several baths. Remove and discard any fibrous and older parts of the stems. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Toss well. 

For the pesto dressing:

In a mini blender (or a regular blender if you don't have a mini), combine the mustard, honey, lemon juice, red chili flakes and pickled garlic. Blend until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons kale pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and flax seed oil and briefly pulse 2-3 times. 


Dice the papaya

Cut the chicken into pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dressing and kale. Massage and toss well until well coated. Top with a line of chicken pieces and spread the papaya. 

Serve at room temperature.

Bon appétit!



You can use fresh garlic instead of the pickled garlic but the garlic flavor will be a lot stronger. You can find pickled garlic in Asian stores.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 6, 2014.


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