Hearty yet light, this Thai chicken salad with red curry butternut squash is perfect for cool autumn evenings.
Salad With Complex Flavors
The Thai chicken salad here has a lot going on flavor-wise, but it takes little effort to prepare.
Roasted in the oven until golden and crisp with the same simple red curry marinade (open a can of Thai red curry paste and mix it with some olive oil and butter), this dish features bone-in chicken breasts and spicy butternut squash.
From there, you can serve it with a salad as directed in the recipe or with some simple grains and sauteed greens, which is one of my favorite things about this one-pan meal. But you must try this salad with the perfect Asian dressing, which includes mint, cilantro, red onion, and greens.
There are some bad, cloyingly sweet, overly sesame-d versions of Asian salad dressing, so I’m not one to lightly praise one. So, I was pleasantly surprised by how well this mixture of rice vinegar, fish sauce, freshly squeezed lime juice, garlic, and honey turned out.
The result is a rich dressing that pairs wonderfully with curried butternut squash and roast chicken. It’s also a nice change of pace from the usual lemon vinaigrette or oil and vinegar.
Perfect For Meal Prep
This salad is perfect for weekly meal prepping. In addition to the butternut squash, you can use any other roasted vegetables instead of rice or quinoa.
Some pre-packaged salads in mason jars are another option. Layer the dressing on the bottom, then the chicken and butternut squash, and finally the greens, herbs, and onion; doing so will ensure that the salad remains crisp and fresh until lunchtime the following day.
This salad has all the makings of your new go-to!
For the Roasted Butternut Squash and Chicken:
- 1 medium butternut squash(cut into ¾-inch chunks)
- 2 chicken breasts (bone-in and skin-on)
- 2 oz. of Thai red curry paste (or about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil
- 2 tbsp. of butter (melted)
- 1 1/2 tsp. of black pepper
For the Salad:
- 1 cup of mint leaves
- 1 cup of cilantro leaves
- Baby kale and baby mesclun greens
- 1 pc. of small-sized red onion (sliced very thinly)
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 1 tbsp. of rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. of fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. of honey or agave syrup
- 1 cloves of garlic (minced)
- ⅓ cup of olive oil
- Salt (to taste)
- Turn the oven temperature up to 450 degrees F. Spread the butternut squash around the pan, and make room in the middle for two chicken breasts.
- A mixture of 2 ounces of Thai red curry paste, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Apply just under half of the sauce to the chicken and spread it around to coat the meat. Toss the butternut squash with the remaining sauce and serve.
- Prepare a 30-minute roast for the butternut squash. Decrease the temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast the chicken and squash together for 35 minutes after adding the chicken breasts that have been marinated (the internal temperature should read 165F).
- Prepare the salad right before serving when the cooking time is almost up. Mix 1 small, thinly sliced red onion with torn mint, cilantro, and the salad mix of your choice.
- Separately, emulsify the juice of one lime, one tablespoon of rice vinegar, one teaspoon of fish sauce, one tablespoon of honey, one minced garlic clove, and one-third cup of mild-flavored oil using a whisk. Add salt to taste.
- To make a warm Thai chicken salad, shred the chicken and toss it with shredded butternut squash, greens, and dressing.
- Chicken and butternut squash are delicious, but they also pair well with hearty sauteed fall greens like kale or collards.