For those of you struggling with lunch ideas, here’s another recipe for you! This Thai Cashew Chicken Salad is one of my favorites and if you have meal prepped earlier in the week and already have your quinoa cooked it only takes a few minutes to throw together.
Thai Cashew Chicken Salad:
1 cup coleslaw cabbage mix
3oz shredded rotisserie or canned chicken
1/3 cup cooked quinoa
1 green onion chopped
1/3 cup edamame
2 tbsp. cashews, chopped
1 tsp. peanut butter
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
Directions: Combine all salad ingredients in a medium bowl. To make the dressing, put peanut butter and honey in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, and whisk together. Add oil, vinegar, and soy sauce, and whisk together. Add to salad. Top with cashews.
The base of this salad is a coleslaw cabbage mix, or plain shredded cabbage works great too. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable especially rich in antioxidants. Cruciferous vegetables also contain compounds called glucosinolates, which are responsible for many of their health benefits including cancer prevention. Cabbage is high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamine, vitamin B 6 and pantothenic acid. Unlike many fruits and vegetables, cabbage can be stored for weeks without losing much of its nutritional benefits. It does, however, become less sweet the longer it is stored so it is a good idea to eat it soon after buying for the most enjoyment.
Next, I add either shredded rotisserie chicken or canned chicken. Chicken is a great high-quality protein with 26gm of protein in just a 4oz portion. Protein needs increase by about 25gm every day during pregnancy so it’s important to include a rich source of protein at every meal. Chicken is also a great source of niacin, vitamin B6, and selenium.
Quinoa is also a great protein source and contains all of the essential amino acids, which makes it a favorite for vegans and vegetarians. It is a good source of fiber, zinc, and iron, all of which are especially important during pregnancy. It is also rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. This is important because antioxidants have been linked to the prevention of many disease states, including those of pregnancy such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. I recommend storing it in the refrigerator in an airtight container to help maintain freshness.
The majority of the flavor in the recipe comes from the sauce of peanut butter, olive oil, honey, rice vinegar and soy sauce. This sauce doesn’t just provide an amazing flavor, but it also provides a good dose of healthy fats to help keep you satisfied longer. Healthy fats are also essential during pregnancy for fetal brain, nervous system and eye development as well as appropriate maternal weight gain.