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Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. Having a delicious and satisfying grilled chicken salad is necessary and this Lemongrass Chicken Salad is perfect for either a weeknight meal or when hosting friends over while dining al fresco.
The flavor of this grilled chicken is absolutely incredible. You can serve it over lettuce like I did here or you can get creative with it! Try slicing it and putting it in spring rolls, serving it in tortillas for a Vietnamese style taco, or even just eat it plain! My husband was oohing and ahhing over the chicken and…my kids loved it too!
Now, the Nuoc Cham sauce is one of my favorite condiments to have in my fridge. It really is a staple in Vietnamese cooking, and you can almost think of it as table salt. They just put it on all the things and it’s salty, umami flavor makes everything taste great. Nuoc Cham is a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, chilies, garlic, sugar, lime juice, and rice vinegar. I obviously made some tweaks to it to keep this Lemongrass Chicken Salad Paleo approved but it’s still delicious and gets that sweet, sour, spicy and savory message across. Make a big batch of this and it keeps in the fridge for up to 3 months! I dip spring rolls in it, spoon it over my Thai Larb Lettuce Cups, use it as a dressing on salads like I did here, and you can even just drizzle it over some rice noodles for a simple and flavorful dinner.
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp. avocado oil
- 1 tbsp. Red Boat Fish Sauce
- 2 tbsp. Coconut Aminos
- 1 stalk of lemongrass
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- zest of 1/2 lime
- 1 tbsp. coconut palm sugar (omit if Whole30)
- kosher salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup Red Boat Fish Sauce
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
- 1-3 birds eye chiles, very thinly sliced (1 for mild, 3 for hot)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chopped green leaf or romaine lettuce (about 1 head)
- 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
- 1/2 english cucumber, very thinly sliced
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh thai basil leaves (regular basil is okay)
- 1 fresno chile, thinly sliced (jalapeno is okay)
- In a large bowl or ziplock bag, combine the chicken, avocado oil, fish sauce, coconut aminos, garlic, ginger, lime zest, coconut sugar, kosher salt, and pepper. Peel off tough, outer layers of the lemongrass stalk (you'll be left with the pale yellow stalk). Now, using a mallet or back of a knife, smash the lemongrass (this helps release it's flavor) and cut it into 1/2 inch chunks. Place in the bowl with the chicken and toss to coat. You can either let it marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling or cover and let marinate for up to 24 hours.
- Meanwhile, combine all of the the "for the nuoc cham" ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until the coconut sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, carrots, cucumber and green onions. Set aside.
- When chicken is ready, heat grill over medium high heat. When hot, brush grill grates with oil. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off excess marinade and remove any of the lemongrass that is stuck to the chicken. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
- Remove from grill when cooked through and cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- Slice chicken and set up an assembly line for plating. Allow guests to plate the (undressed) lettuce, the chicken and top with fresh herbs and sliced chiles, then spoon the nuoc cham sauce over the salad.