With a heatwave on the horizon here in the Land of Steady Habits and mint growing like mad, I was on a mission to make the most of my secret garden. Shh, the wabbit is hiding behind the mint–don’t tell anyone!

Luckily, I was smart enough to pick the mint earlier today while it was sunny and gorgeous out. I stored it in this lovely, made-especially-for-me vase (thanks to my #1 taster) before it started to rain. Makes quite the pretty bouquet, no?

Anyway, as we’re headed for plenty of heat and humidity over the next few days, what better time to share this recipe for Thai-like (laab-like, larb like) chicken salad? I added extra things I like–red bell pepper, jalapeno, chopped cashews, green onions–and subtracted much of the fish sauce. A little fish sauce goes a long way for this kat–perhaps for you, too.

Adapted from Bon Appétit

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
1 pound ground chicken

2 limes–zest of one lime, juice of both
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon hot chili paste

1 small Vidalia onion, halved and sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 jalapeño, minced
4 green onions, sliced
4 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
handful of cashews, chopped
2 cups fresh mint leaves
spring mix

Prep the salad
Rinse mint leaves, chop the vegetables and cashews.

Make the dressing
Combine lime juice and zest, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of chili paste and fish sauce in a medium bowl.

Cook the chicken
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and 1 tablespoon chili paste. Cook just about a minute or so, then add chicken. Break up meat with your spatula as you go, until chicken is completely cooked.

Put it together
Add cooked chicken and sliced onion to dressing. Grab a handful of spring mix and a generous handful of mint per plate. Sprinkle cucumbers around perimeter. Place a quarter of the chicken/onion/dressing mixture atop greens. Sprinkle with bell peppers, green onions, jalapenos and cashews. Note: the chicken can be made ahead and served cold, but I like to serve it warm.

Stay cool through the heatwave! Trying this salad will help! 🙂