Chinese Salad 2I’d like to state for the record: This Post to Post Links II error: No post found with slug "challenge-2013-elimination-diet-food-allergen-cleanse" has been the best thing I’ve done for myself in the past five years of my life. And as much as I’d like to wax poetic about the program’s many virtues, that’s a different post for a different day. I am here today however, to debunk the idea that my eating life is so deprived now. Have a looksy . . .

The penthouse* has been without gas for the last two weeks (in part due to my disorganization while we were moving, but in part also to the fact that Southern California Edison is as efficient and devoted to excellence in customer service as the DMV).

So what’s a cooking instructor on a highly limited diet and no access to a microwave to do? Get creative? Certainly. Pull out all those rarely used appliances tucked away into dark corners? You betcha. You’d be amazed what can be accomplished with a blender, a juicer, a crockpot, and a food processor.

And what can you make with those things? Sauce. And sauce makes this elimination dieter a happy girl. In fact, I read a post recently on The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen where a reader had stated, “Just give me sauces and I can eat anything.” Kindred spirits, we are.

So using Tom and Ali’s garlicky green sauce, I created this Asian influenced salad that can be eaten as early as Phase Two of the Elimination Diet, but is even better once citrus, nightshades, and chicken are reintroduced. The disclaimer is that nothing is trying to be chicken in the Phase Two friendly variation–it’s just that few descriptions have the same name recognition as “Chinese Chicken Salad.” Chinese Salad? Asian Salad? Chickenless Asian Salad? You get the picture.

This concoction tastes a lot like peanut sauce, and it is AMAZEballs. I didn’t want to spend $15 at Whole Foods on a jar of pumpkin seed butter, so the first time I made it, I used sunflower butter and it was delicious. This go around I used homemade (thus, cheaper) pumpkin seed butter, and added lime for balance, crushed red pepper for spice, and enough water to make it the consistency of salad dressing. Feel free to omit the citrus and the red pepper if you’re still in Phase Two.

Build your salad with your favorite combination of the following ingredients:

Phase Two-friendly options:

Romaine
Shredded cabbage (Red or green)
Radicchio
Shredded carrots
Shredded beets
Broccoli
Snap peas, cut into strips (I like these better than snow peas, but either would work)
Bean sprouts
Julienned green apple (you need something with tang, to mimic the flavor of mandarin oranges)
Cilantro
Pepitas (to mimic the crunch of the chow mein noodles), toasted for extra flavor loveliness.

Other options, once you’ve graduated from Phase Two to Reintroduction:

Julienned red, orange, and yellow pepper
Organic chicken, cut into strips–I used Fiance’s delish go-to marinade of Sriracha (here’s a homemade, paleo version http://nomnompaleo.com/post/36060636540/paleo-sriracha-homemade-20-minute-sriracha), sesame oil, and soy sauce. Use wheat free tamari if you’re eliminating gluten.
Orange, supremed–I toyed with using peeled and separated tangerines, but I think the seeds would be annoying.
Organic water chestnuts—I would love to buy these fresh, but apparently that would require a quick jaunt to an Asian food market. In Asia.
Organic baby corn–see note about water chestnuts.

Take a look at both versions. No deprivation here.

Packed with Phase One-friendly goodies

So crunchy and flavorful

Chinese Salad 3

Then once you add in citrus, nightshades, and chicken

Chinese Salad 4

Adaptable for any Phase and so good you’ll be eating it well after the diet’s over

 

And just so’s I’m not alienating the non-Eliminators out there, I’ve got more killer sauce recipes coming soon: high on flavor, low on refined sugars and other yucky additives, as well as a comprehensive guide of refined sugar alternatives due out in the next few weeks. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, do something delicious!

4 comments on “An Elimination Diet-Friendly Chinese “Chicken” Salad: Debunking the Deprivation Myth

  1. Chloe

    Great post! I’m on the same elimination diet (I have been blogging about it throughout, see the website I linked to in my name) and people keep telling me how much my life sucks and how I can’t eat anything. While I perpetuate that sometimes, I really have been very well-fed and satisfied through the whole thing. I have actually discovered a few new favorite foods and a lot of recipes I will be making in the future. You just have to be willing to try new things!

  2. jennieo5 Post author

    Thanks Chloe. I’m impressed that you were able to blog about each day–that had been my plan, but I couldn’t stick to it. I completely agree with what you wrote about cravings. They just go away eventually, don’t they? I thought I would NEVER be able to give up cheese, and now I barely miss it. I teach cooking classes and thought this new world would be so limiting, when in fact it has pushed me to explore what is actually a huge world of new tastes. I hope you have success zeroing in on your problem foods. I found its not always cut and dried. Some of the days I would over eat and feel like I was having a reaction, when I think it was just me being a glutton. But I can tell you that life without dairy and gluten is a good life for me. Good luck and keep up the good writing work. i added your blog to my Feedly 🙂

  3. Rakhi

    I’ve done the elimination diet as well, cutting out mostly gluten, soy, and processed foods. Although it can be tricky to do, it’s taught me to get creative with my meals and I learned how to cook with different flavors and textures I would’ve never thought to before. I’ve seen you’ve done just that and it looks delish!

    -Rakhi

  4. Pingback: Five Reasons to Consider and Elimination Diet |

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