Eat Smart

Mix’n Elena: Luau Salad

by Elena Tsonos, food blogger

(Courtesy of The Cheesecake Factory)

If you’ve ever been to The Cheesecake Factory, then you must know that the restaurant doesn’t only serve cheesecake, It serves a wide variety of delicious and large-portioned menu items. In addition to both the American and ethnic entrees that the restaurant offers, including steaks, seafood, sandwiches, burgers, and other creations, The Cheesecake Factory also serves eleven of the most interesting salads that you will ever eat. Unfortunately for us students, The Cheesecake Factory has not yet come to Syracuse; the closest location is in Rochester, NY which is a bit of a hike just to go out to eat at a restaurant.

Unsurprisingly, because the food that the restaurant serves is so delicious, there are a variety of copy-cat recipes of The Cheesecake Factory’s menu items available online. Such recipes are great for people who are students, like us, who want to experience the great flavor, but may be physically unable to do so. This brings us to this week’s featured recipe, a copy-cat recipe of The Cheesecake Factory’s Luau Salad. The Luau Salad that we’ll be looking at today was featured on Food.com in 2008. Click ahead for a recipe that will have you dreaming of summer!

Cheesecake Factory Luau Salad

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 6 cups mixed greens
  • 3 chicken breasts, grilled & sliced into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1.5 cups fresh green beans, blanched, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 red onion, cut into small pieces
  • 1 fresh mango, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Dressing

  • 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Garnishes

  • 8 (6 inch) egg roll wraps, fried crisp
  • 4 ounces sweet and sour sauce
  • 4 ounces macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed, toasted
  • 4 ounces carrots, peeled, sliced into 1-inch thin strips
  • 1 ounce green onion, sliced into 1-inch thin strips

Directions:

1. Place the lettuce mix, chicken, bell peppers, green beans, cucumber slices, red onion, and mango, into a large mixing bowl. Season the ingredients with salt and pepper.

2. Whisk together the balsamic vinaigrette (your favorite choice), seasoned rice vinegar, granulated sugar, and sesame oil. Drizzle the dressing into the bowl with the salad ingredients, and gently toss together.

3. Brush a little sweet and sour sauce onto each crispy egg roll wrapper. Build the salad in each serving bowl with alternating layers of salad mixture, a crispy glazed egg roll wrapper, more salad mixture, another crispy glazed egg roll wrapper and then the remaining salad mixture.

4. Sprinkle the macadamia nuts and sesame seeds all over each salad.

5. Garnish each salad with some thin sliced carrots and green onions.

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According to the recipe, the prep-time for the salad is 20 minutes, plus the amount of time that it takes to fry the egg rolls, grill the chicken, and blanch the green beans (of course, these things can be done ahead of time). If you’re watching your calories, you might want to divide the salad into more than the recommended four servings because it is on the high-caloric side.

All of the different vegetables in the salad, create an array of flavors. The fried egg roll wraps, sesame seeds, and macadamia nuts add a savory type flavor and truly put this salad over the top.  Furthermore, the sweet vinaigrette dressing really ties the combination together, making the salad sweet and satisfying. If you’re having friends over for dinner, I would definitely recommend making this salad. It is sweet and interesting, and can be placed into a unique presentation, provided you have some extra time!

As always, try out the recipe and don’t forget to comment back and leave your opinion. Remember to watch out for next week’s featured recipe.

Mix’n Elena says, “It’s all in a day’s mix!”

 


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