Deconstructed Banh Mi Salad with Grilled Vietnamese Chicken


What’s worse than being sick?
Being sick in the summer.

You guys, my kids and I have had it all the last few weeks. We’re like an ice cream truck of germs…we walk down the street, and every kid that approaches us leaves with some form of illness we’ve had over the past month.

What’s that you want, sonny? A runny nose with an additional deep chest cought?
Coming right up.

Say, little girl, you ordered a high fever with some vomit and an unexplained rash?
Be right with you.

Well, ma’am, you’re in luck – we just got a fresh batch of persistent sore throat in back. Buy one, get a sinus infection free. 

It’s been ridiculous. I mean, this is summer. And despite the germs, I think we’re trying to make the most of it…but really, we’ve been sick for most of July. Something’s gotta give.

banh mi salad

I’m gunning for a Saturday afternoon where I can have five hours to deeply clean our house. And though I’m usually a vinegar-and-baking-soda kind of girl, I’m thinking I need to bust out some chemicals to deal with this germ carousel we’ve been on. And because I really believe in the power of good food for your body, we are eating all of the greens. 

We’ve loved our CSA from Uproot Farm; I felt like we already ate a lot of vegetables, but let me tell you, this CSA share is causing us to eat a ton more. And it’s been great. So this salad…it’s about what came in our CSA box, it’s about eating as many vegetables as we can to rid ourselves of these germs, and it’s about flavor, because this salad is full of flavor. When we were eating it, Eric kept saying how each bite was a little different, which kept it reallly interesting. And what I love about this salad is that a big bowl of it can be made and eaten throughout the whole week – it’s pretty sturdy and keeps really well.

banh mi salad


So whether you too are fighting winter germs this summer, or you went a leetle overboard at the farmers market this week, or you’re looking for a super fresh dinner tonight, I present you with the deconstructed Banh Mi salad.

The idea of Banh Mi comes from Vietnam – it is a sandwich typically served on a baguette (banh) and usually includes meat of some form and almost always pickled radishes and carrots. So when we got a big batch of radishes in our CSA box, the banh mi immediately came to mind.

Here’s the thing though: banh mi sandwiches often come with mayo – which I haaate – so I made up an Asian-flavored vinaigrette to dress this salad instead. Plus, I marinated the chicken in similar ingredients before grilling it, and let me tell you, the chicken came out just slightly caramelized, plus smoky from the grill, and I would have kissed it if it had asked.

Banh appetit. 

banh mi salad

(Yep. I went there.)

Deconstructed Banh Mi Salad with Grilled Vietnamese Chicken

recipe from Carpé Season

(serves 4 as a main dish)

This recipe looks like it has a ton of ingredients, but between the marinade and vinaigrette, many of them are repeats. Also, while this salad is a little bit involved, it can be made ahead in a large batch and eaten throughout the week. If the vinaigrette is kept off the salad until serving, the salad keeps beautifully in the refrigerator. Finally, just be aware that the carrots and the radishes in the salad need at least 2 hours to be pickled, and the chicken should sit in the marinade for at least that long as well! Enjoy!


Chicken Marinade:

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (about1 large lime)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 cup light brown sugar

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

2 scallions, chopped

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Vinaigrette (yields 1 cup):

1 tablespoon fish sauce

4 tablespoons lime juice (1 large lime)

1 teaspoon lime zest

1 to 2 teaspoons sesame oil (to taste)

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 to 2 tablespoon light brown sugar (to taste)

1 shallot or 1/4 onion, minced

1 teaspoons jalapeno, seeded and minced (more to taste)

1/3 cup canola oil


1 cup hot water

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup radishes, cut into matchsticks

1 heaping cup carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks

8 cups mixed greens (I used kale, spinach, and head lettuce), chopped

1 large cucumber, cut into matchsticks

5 scallions, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

(optional) 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced

(optional) baguette slices on the side


For the Chicken:

Mix together all marinade ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Score each chicken breast a few times and marinate in a covered container in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and for up to 24 hours. Heat your grill to medium and grill chicken breasts until no longer pink on the inside. Cool, then chop into bite-sized pieces. Set aside in the refrigerator.

For the Vinaigrette:

Mix all of the vinaigrette ingredients together by shaking a tightly lidded container. Can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks; allow to warm slightly before using so that oil un-solidifies. Shake vigorously before using.

For the Salad:

First pickle your radishes and carrots. Mix together the hot water, 1/4 cup sugar, rice wine vinegar and salt until sugar dissolves. Add the carrots and radishes for at least 2 hours before serving or up to a week ahead of time.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the greens, cucumber, scallion, and cilantro (and jalapeno if using). This mixture will keep in the fridge for about 5 days.

Assemble & Serve:

Just before serving, use a slotted spoon to remove your pickled radishes and carrots from the pickling juice. Toss the pickled veggies into your salad bowl. Then, toss with the vinaigrette and grilled chicken. Pour on desired amount of vinaigrette & toss. Sereve with baguette if desired.

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