Let’s face it…sometimes salads can get a little…boring. When you add the same old veggies with the same old dressing day after day, your tastebuds can get fatigued real quick! This is especially frustrating during pregnancy when you’re experiencing all kinds of flavor cravings, and the temptation to “eat for two” (which we all know by now is not necessary!) And then let’s not even get started on the actual physical fatigue you feel (during the first and third trimesters for sure) that makes preparing a meal for two hours the last thing you want to think about. Sometimes it feels like you can’t reach that happy medium of meals that are easy to prepare, don’t make you want to puke, and also good for you and your little one.
That’s exactly what we had in mind when we created the Chinese Chicken Power Salad. It’s crisp, crunchy, tangy, sweet, and full of fresh ingredients that work together to make your taste buds happy. And you’ll especially love it if you’ve committed to a healthy, fresh diet during your pregnancy and you’re missing Chinese takeout a little too much right now!
Let’s talk about how this is good for you and the little babe:
Savoy cabbage makes up the base of this salad, and is known for being high in many vitamins and minerals, like Vitamins K and C. In fact, just one cup of raw cabbage has over half the Vitamin K you need during pregnancy and breastfeeding (which is about 90 mcg/day.) Vitamin K is essential for bone development and healthy blood clotting (which your baby needs to develop properly, and you’ll need during and after delivery to heal.)
Carrots are full of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body and is crucial for the development of baby’s skin, eyes, and bones. It also supports good vision and helps prevent memory decay (hello, “pregnancy brain”, right?) Carrots shred neatly into this salad, so don’t forget to add them in!
Edamame is rich in protein, calcium, folate and vitamins A and B, all of which are important for your baby to develop properly. Edamame is a great protein food for our vegan or vegetarian mums, so pack extra on top of your salad if you’re choosing to forego the chicken! Protein, protein, protein!
Those are just a few of the ingredients in this yummy salad, but the rest of the ingredients all have benefits for you as well. This salad is also low-cal (because the bulk of it is veggies) so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating a big heaping bowl-full. Another pro to this recipe is that it features a major time saver for if your day is jam-packed (or for if you’re just not feeling up to being on your feet all afternoon to prepare a meal!) In your grocery store, there are probably pre-packaged salad mixes. Most grocery stores have a mix of cabbage, cilantro, and carrots that can cut your prep time down to almost nothing! (And pregnant moms everywhere said “hallelujah!”) This recipe also comes with a simple sesame vinaigrette salad dressing recipe, so you don’t have to feel bad about buying the stuff in stores (with who knows how many ‘extra’ processed ingredients.
Here’s the full recipe (with optional add-ins at the end):
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tbsp sesame oil, divided in half
2 cups shredded cabbage
½ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup shelled edamame
¼ cup toasted almonds
6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ tbsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
** optional add-ins: fresh red bell peppers, red cabbage, or avocado
1. Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil in a skillet. Add chicken breast to skillet and season as desired. Cook until chicken is done all the way through. Once cooked, set aside to cool.
2. After you cook the chicken, assembly is the easy part! Just collect all your ingredients, and assemble the bowl as so:
For the sesame vinaigrette:
Whisk together the remaining tbsp of sesame oil, with the rice wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, and soy sauce until well blended, then pour over the salad.
This salad can be pre-assembled without the dressing to grab in the morning for lunch before you head out the door, or made right before you eat it. Whatever works best for you and your bump! Enjoy!