An Applebee’s copy-cat salad with an Asian salad blend, sliced almonds (or peanuts), peanut sauce shrimp, wonton strips, fresh cilantro, red bell pepper strips, and a chili lime vinaigrette.
Remember that peanut sauce stir fry the other day? Well, I promised I would be back. With a copy-cat Applebee’s salad.
Quick re-cap: The husband took me to Applebee’s and I went out on a limb, tried this salad, and LOVED it. So naturally I had to re-create it.
And eat it non-stop for the past two weeks. In the name of recipe experimentation of course.
Like, for instance, the red bell peppers. Those were added. But definitely a great flavor add for the salad. Pretty much I’m addicted to peppers. I try to sneak them into just about everything, and the husband tries to sneak them off just about everything. Ahem. Note to husband: I’ve noticed the pile of peppers neatly picked off to the side of your plate…
But he’ll never complain about anything I make. Except if there are onions.
Okay and the shrimp? Guess what, I’m totally not a huge shrimp fan. Like, not a huge seafood fan at all. I know, I know craziness.
But having a food blog means trying new things and new flavors. And I have to admit, I’ve found lots of new foods and flavors that I love since I’ve been blogging. However, shrimp is still not my favorite, and probably never will be. BUT the good news is, that means I tried this salad two ways. Shrimp, because I promised to try new things. And I tried it with some cooked chicken, which I loved. You can do either the shrimp or chicken in this salad. The peanut sauce gets brushed over which ever one you choose and is d.i.v.i.n.e.
Also, I tried two different kinds of nuts – sliced almonds and smoked peanuts. I have to say, the almonds won in my book, but chose whichever you like best, because both were really good and a great complement to the other ingredients.
Another great aspect of this salad? It starts off with a kit. I used an Asian blends kit which has shredded green and red cabbage, kale, broccoli slaw, cilantro, and shredded carrots. Then I chopped up some extra kale and added that to the mix for a more robust salad. And by that time, there wasn’t enough cilantro to salad ratio, so more of that got added too. (Not a big cilantro fan? Leave it out!)
And finally, I think we just have the dressing to talk about. I created a chili lime vinaigrette for this salad. It’s an easy, throw-the-ingredients-together, and shake kind of recipe. However, a pre-made dressing can definitely be used if you are in a pinch for time. I added a note to the dressing that crushed red pepper flakes can be added. This is for people that like it HOT. The husband, not so much. Me? Bring it on. If a meal is hot enough to make me cry, it’s gooo-ood.
- 8 ounces shrimp (I buy the frozen, peeled, and deveined)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 package Asian blend chopped salad (I like Dole)
- 3 cups kale
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds or peanuts
- Wonton Strips
- Optional: sesame seeds, additional cilantro
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk
- 3/4 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2-3 drops hot sauce, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Rinse the shrimp under cold water for a few minutes and then toss in olive oil and with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on the tray and bake for about 5 minutes or until just pink, firmed, and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Remove the packaging for the Asian chopped salad and pour into a large bowl. Thoroughly wash and scrub the kale. Chop into very small pieces and toss with the chopped salad.
- Add in the red pepper (remove seeds and slice thinly), shredded carrots, and almonds or peanuts.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a sealable jar. Seal the jar tightly and shake until combined. Adjust seasonings to preference and then pour over the salad and toss to combine.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, taste, adjust seasonings to preference, and brush or toss the shrimp in the sauce.
- Add the shrimp to the salad.
- Add in additional cilantro and seasame seeds if desired.
- Top each salad plate with a generous handful of wonton strips.
- Enjoy immediately.
Here are some more delicious salad recipes: