There are hardly words for how good it feels to be back in the kitchen. Not just any kitchen, mind you, but a brand new one with not a speck of beige in sight and a workspace that (gasp!) works for me! I took my time putting everything back in its place, but now it is fully operational and I have been cooking up a storm. I will be sharing lots of photos and more details of the renovation soon once a few small details have been tied up, but in the mean time I have lots of great food to share with you all.

There is nothing quite like fabulous cookbooks to help get the inspiration flowing, and this salad is from a new favorite of mine. Since having my kitchen back and acquiring this book, I have cooked dinner from its pages approximately two thirds of our dinners for the past two weeks. I first made this spicy rice noodle salad with chicken and crunchy veggies on a Friday evening after getting stuck out in the pouring rain for an hour (long but funny story for a later date), and I had no energy or sunlight to take photos that evening. However, it was such a hit with the family that I made it again the very next week because I simply could not wait to share it with you. There is just so much to love about this meal! It is very veg heavy, but not so much that salad side-eyers would take issue with it. The delicious crunch from all the colorful veggies, the spicy and tangy dressing, and the punch of fresh flavor from the basil and mint all combine to make an irresistible meal. We love it for dinner and lunches, but I can also see this being a perfect contribution to a potluck or other get together. I hope you love it as much as we do!

  • Yield 4-6 servings


For the salad:

  • 1½ tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. chile-garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp. sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 cups shredded green or savoy cabbage
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sugar snap peas
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 8 oz. pad thai rice noodles (I prefer brown rice)
  • Handful of fresh basil and mint leaves, coarsely chopped

For the dressing: 

  • 6 tbsp. walnut oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 5 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. sriracha
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt


  • 01

    In a wide shallow dish, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, chile-garlic sauce, sriracha, and garlic. Whisk together to blend. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3-6 hours.

  • 02

    To make the dressing, combine all dressing ingredients. Whisk together to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Set aside.

  • 03

    Set the chicken out to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, peas, bell pepper, scallions, jalapeño, and a couple pinches of salt.

  • 04

    Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. (A heavy skillet with a bit of oil also works.) Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt and all sides. Cook the thighs, skin side down first, until crisp and charred, about 7 minutes. Flip and grill until cooked through, 5-7 minutes more. Remove to a plate and set aside.

  • 05

    Bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, cook the noodles according to the package directions.  While boiling the water and cooking the noodles, shred the chicken thighs and add the meat to the bowl with the vegetables. When the noodles are cooked, drain and rinse under cold water for a minute or two. Drain again, and add to the bowl with the vegetables and chicken.

  • 06

    Add about half of the dressing to the bowl with the salad and toss well to coat. Taste and add more if necessary. Save the remainder for the next time you make this dish!