Iron Chef #3: Vegan Chicken Cashew Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing

October 22nd, 2011 11:08 am by Kelly Garbato

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Upon setting eyes on this week’s Iron Chef Challenge ingredient – coconut! – my mind immediately went to sweets. Coconut ice cream! (Talk about your no-brainers.) Raw coconut balls! Chocolate chip cookies coated in coconut shreds! Chocolate coconut candy, à la Almond Delights! Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Oh, the possibilities!

And then reality set in and I opted for practicality – which, for someone with two bags of salad in the fridge set to expire soon, equals salad dressing. Coconut and lime are a natural pairing, so coconut and lime it was. Silken tofu and coconut milk form the base of this dressing, while lemon and lime juice give it that sweet tropical kick. Add in a splash of coconut extract for a little extra coco-nuttiness, and you’re good to go!

You can either use this as a salad dressing – in the picture above, it’s nestled on a bed of leafy greens, along with some shredded carrots, cashews and vegan chicken strips (Morningstar Farms Chik’n Strips, leftovers from the Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup I made on Thursday – recipe coming soon!) – or as a condiment, e.g. on a vegan chicken sammie. For a thinner or thicker consistency, tinker with the tofu-to-coconut milk ratio before adding the seasonings. (As written, the recipe makes a dressing similar in consistency to ranch.) This particular configuration yields about three cups worth, which I’m guessing you can divide and freeze for later use. But I haven’t tested that idea out yet, so experiment at your own risk!

Major props to the husband, who helped with the taste testing. I’m not all that adventurous, so it helps to have a partner who has all the fussiness of a garbage disposal!

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“Put the Lime in the Coconut” Salad Dressing


12 ounces silken tofu
1.5 cups coconut milk, room temp
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 tablespoons parsley


1. In a blender or food processor, combine the silken tofu and coconut milk and process until it’s smooth and creamy.

If you’d like to tinker with the consistency of the dressing, add the coconut milk a half a cup at a time; the more milk you add, the thinner the dressing will be.

2. Add in the lemon juice, lime juice, coconut extract and parsley and process until well blended. Most likely you’ll need to stop once or twice to scrape off the sides of the bowl as you go.

Since this dressing is suited to my husband’s tastes – and your preferences may differ – you may want to add the seasonings in smaller increments, adjusting the amounts to your liking!

3. Enjoy drizzled on a colorful salad or spread on a vegan sammie! Store any leftover dressing in an airtight container and consume within several days.
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4 Responses to “Iron Chef #3: Vegan Chicken Cashew Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing”

  1. Bonus Iron Chef!: Chocolate Chip Brownies with Coconut Buttercream Frosting » V for Vegan: Says:

    […] What! You didn’t think that I’d be able to stay away from sweets entirely, did you? Coconut and chocolate, chocolate and coconut – they go together […]

  2. Deena Says:

    Coconut-Lime dressing, what a great idea! Makes me think about a much-needed tropical vacation.

  3. Iron Chef #3 Roundup: Coconut | VeganMoFo Says:

    […] something a little lighter and to get Jimmy Buffet stuck in your head, try Easy Vegan’s “Put the Lime in the Coconut” Salad Dressing…or try her second entry, Chocolate Chip Brownies with Coconut Buttercream […]

  4. choirqueer Says:

    Oooh, that dressing looks magnificent. I will definitely have to try that.

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