In case you’re wondering, yes I’m still in love with all things chopped salads.

Cashew Chicken Chopped Salad with Chili Dusted Mango I

As a reminder: my kind of salads. Read: lots of junk on my salads. How many times can I say salads today? It’s really an odd word if you think about it. SALADS.

I’m back from vacation with a salad on a Monday. How cliche of me. I hope you’re not shocked since I’m pretty cliche and predictable myself. And speaking of cliche and predictable, how the heck is it the second week of August. WHAT. ??? 

Let’s rewind twenty years ago when I would have returned from this same vacation with about two weeks left until school started. In those two weeks, I straight up HOUNDED my mom to take me school supply shopping because I was so gosh darn obsessed with it. To this day, I am still depressed that I can’t go school supply shopping… but I guess I should be happy since I can technically buy some school supplies whenever I would like. My school-starting anxiety would also begin, which was ridiculous considering I was in school with the exact same students for about twelve years. Yet, there I was… the week before school freaking out because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before. I am still this way, by the way. A complete freakazoid.

Cashew Chicken Chopped Salad with Chili Dusted Mango I

I really liked school, but I didn’t care that much for class. Does that make sense? I loved some classes, like elementary school English and anything that involved reading or writing, but actual math or science classes… I just could not be bothered. Which really wasn’t that great, because I am such an all-or-nothing, crazy passionate person that if I don’t like something, I just don’t do it. It’s by far my worst quality. If I love something, I am a psycho.

If I dislike it, done. Not even on the radar.

Cashew Chicken Chopped Salad with Chili Dusted Mango I

I somehow lucked out and was a mostly A, sometimes B, one-time D (I’m looking at you, college econ, aka the worst waste of time ever) but always-eager-to-use-my-new-colored-pens student. I was never someone who “didn’t have to study,” whatever that means. How unfair. We weren’t allowed to have trapper keepers at my elementary school because they barely fit in the desks, and that was pretty much the worst news of my life. I mean, Lisa Frank did her thang with notebooks and folders, but the trapper keepers…!

Oh the trapper keepers – they were giant and glossy and oh-so neon. Doesn’t everyone need a spiral journal that is covered in clouds which are topped with unicorns who have multicolored horns and are prancing underneath a rainbow with glittery stars while panda bears and dolphins and neon leopards watch from afar? Yes. The answer is always yes.

Cashew Chicken Chopped Salad with Chili Dusted Mango I

Now, instead of shopping for school supplies and making lists of what I need for classes, I make salads that are chopped into bits because I’m still ten years old inside and can’t eat large pieces of vegetables. Not much has changed.

What are you doing on this fine Monday? Shopping for gel pens and scented markers? Please tell me yes. I’m going to recreate this chocolate-covered potato chip ice cream that I had while on vacation so yeah… at least we can look forward to that.

Cashew Chicken Chopped Salad with Chili Dusted Mango I


Chopped Cashew Chicken Salad

Yield: serves 2

Total Time: 30 minutes


2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, the peas cut into thirds
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 shallots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup roasted cashews, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
4 cups butter lettuce, chopped
1 green onion, sliced
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
1 mango, half peeled and chopped, half peeled and sliced
1/4 teaspoon chili powder


Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the peas, peppers, shallots and garlic with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and stir to coat. Add in cashews. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the veggies and place them aside in a bowl.

Season the chicken with the remaining salt and pepper. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and the sesame oil to the skillet and add the chicken. Toss well to coat, then cook until browned on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add in the soy sauce and stir, cooking for another minute. Turn off the heat and add the chicken to the bowl of vegetables.

To make the salad, combine the chopped lettuce with the chopped mango, vegetables and chicken. Add in the cashews, green onion and cilantro and toss. Slice some additional mango and sprinkle a little chili powder on top. Place on top of the salad. Serve! I find that with the flavors of the cooked chicken and veggies, this salad needs no dressing. Add your favorite if you wish!

Cashew Chicken Chopped Salad with Chili Dusted Mango I

p.s. This is delicious. Inspired by my old school healthy cashew chicken. Just as good as school supplies. Sorta.  

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69 Responses to “Cashew Chicken Chopped Salad with Chili Dusted Mango.”

  1. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — August 12, 2013 @ 6:54 am

    You bring up scented markers! I love the scented markers and I have the large set in my desk at work! he he Your salad looks delish! I just love the combination!!


  2. #
    Madison — August 12, 2013 @ 7:05 am

    I love this recipe. Cannot wait to try it out! Also, Trapper Keepers were so cool–it would take me like 30 minutes to pick one out. Serious decision right there.


  3. #
    Kim in MD — August 12, 2013 @ 7:13 am

    Ha! You loved school but didn’t care for class…you crack me up! I have made and enjoyed every chopped salad recipe that you have posted, and this one looks like it will not disappoint! Please keep the chopped salad recipes coming, Jessica!


  4. #
    Tieghan — August 12, 2013 @ 7:23 am

    Jessica, this salad is awesome! I love cashews and just did a make shift cashew chicken for dinner last night. The mongo in this is amazing!! I love mangos!!

    Gorgeous salad!!

    Oh and welcome home, even if you would rather be still on vacay. LOL!


  5. #
    Rachel Cooks — August 12, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    Loved seeing all of your northern MI IG pics. Such a wonderful place. And this salad!!! Need it for lunch today….emergency grocery store trip asap! :)


  6. #
    Annie | — August 12, 2013 @ 7:42 am

    Haha, you make me laugh so much which is why I love reading your posts. School supply shopping tied in with a chopped salad – GENIUS! Keep em coming Jess. x


  7. #
    Christine — August 12, 2013 @ 7:56 am

    I had a Lisa Frank trapper keeper!!! First grade, and same rule as your school, no trapper keepers, but I was a rebel and had one anyway. I still remember exactly what it looked like…even though this was like 1996. Rainbow with a baby cheetah on the front. But the cheetah’s spots were rainbow. This salad looks so much fun and I thoroughly enjoyed stalking you on Instagram all week long and I’ll miss the ice cream cone and sunset shots.


  8. #
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — August 12, 2013 @ 7:56 am

    I have the same problem, I love going to university to learn but I hate the exams>_<. Prrfff… I have issues. I love this take on cashew chicken! Some times a girl needs a bit of chopped salad that does not remind her of rabbit food. Lovely!


  9. #
    cindy — August 12, 2013 @ 8:02 am

    I’m obsessed with chopped salads…and I will always be obsessed with school supplies!


  10. #
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat — August 12, 2013 @ 8:43 am

    I’m loving this wonderful salad! So delicious and so colorful!


  11. #
    betty — August 12, 2013 @ 9:04 am

    my gym has this program where you can buy school supplies for child who can’t really afford them, kinda like a Christmas angel. we did that, and it felt really good. you should find a child whose obsessed with lisa frank and shop for them! haha


    • Elise — August 12th, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

      This is amazing!! Definitely looking into it now.


  12. #
    Shea @ Dixie Chik Cooks — August 12, 2013 @ 9:16 am

    I had all kinds of Lisa Frank goodies! The salad is gorgeous – I’m gonna have that on the brain all day!!


  13. #
    Emily — August 12, 2013 @ 9:49 am

    Is this inspired by the salad at Red Mesa? Had it a few weeks ago on vacation- LOVE!


    • Jessica — August 12th, 2013 @ 9:56 am

      ah no, i didn’t know they had a salad like this! i actually made this before i went on vaca but we did eat at red mesa twice… didn’t check out the salads though! was in a taco coma. however, i am making a few dishes today inspired by meals at cafe sante. :)


      • Emily — August 13th, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

        Yeah! It is awesome- similar flavors but the mango makes it! Great salads at Red Mesa but I am kicking myself after seeing your insta pics! Can’t wait for your MI inspired meals :) Love your blog!

  14. #
    Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots — August 12, 2013 @ 9:56 am

    this salad looks fantastic! I love cashews!


  15. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — August 12, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    Chili dusted mango. YUM! They have some chili spiced dried mango at TJs. I try not to buy it b/c I could eat the whole thing in a day :) And they also have those chili lime mixed nuts. Have you tried those? They are the best, best best mixed nuts I have ever eaten in my life and they for sure are a special treat b/c I WILL eat them all (sweating b/c they’re hot!!) in pretty much a day :) This meal is all of that in one! love!


  16. #
    Archana @ FeedingtheFoodie — August 12, 2013 @ 10:08 am

    this is a fantastic salad – even minus the chicken for this vegetarian! I love chopped salads and prefer them since they are so easy to eat. I first had chopped salad at “just salads” in NYC – been hooked since. Why doesnt everyone serve salad chopped – I dont get it!


  17. #
    Lisa Parker — August 12, 2013 @ 10:08 am

    This post cracked me up — I know EVERY SINGLE FEELING you described. And Lisa Frank was my idol growing up. The salad looks incredible by the way — and words can’t describe how much I’m looking forward to the ice cream post. Glad I’m not the only one that likes potato chips on/in ice cream, ha!


  18. #
    Julie — August 12, 2013 @ 10:13 am

    I totally went “back to school” shopping last Friday. And by “back to school,” I mean “we just started a new business and I need office supplies,” but it was still all sorts of nostalgic fun!


  19. #
    Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion — August 12, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    Chop me up a salad any day!..


  20. #
    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg — August 12, 2013 @ 11:23 am

    This looks delish! This will probably make its way to our table this week. I need to eat more salads and this one fits the bill.


  21. #
    Jenna — August 12, 2013 @ 11:38 am

    This salda looks amazing! The flavors are great! Dinner tonight!


  22. #
    Niki — August 12, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    i just find it SO funny that I can basically relate to everything you’re saying – science and math? gross. Lisa Frank? Always a win. School supply shopping? Can’t get enough – just bought the neon sharpies and a striped coil notebook from Target on the weekend…for no reason.
    also this – I somehow lucked out and was a mostly A, sometimes B, one-time D (I’m looking at you, college econ, aka the worst waste of time ever) but always-eager-to-use-my-new-colored-pens student. agree.

    I chalk it up to being Scorpios. FTW


  23. #
    Carolyn — August 12, 2013 @ 11:44 am

    Yes! I’m glad to see another grown-ass woman who is completely bummed she can’t go school supply shopping. The last browser tab I was looking at was Poppin ( – and dreaming about what I would actually *do* with a divided notebook + matching pens.


  24. #
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves — August 12, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

    I need to make this for my mom. She would love everything that’s in this salad! Yep. This looks like a winner.
    Oh wait, all your recipes look like winners.


  25. #
    Courtney — August 12, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

    This salad looks fab, and I love love loved school shopping. It was so much fun, especially when I left totally pimped out with Lisa Frank gear. Which I have to mention, somehow Lisa Frank came up a few weeks ago and my boyfriend had no idea what I was talking about. I had a fit, and had to Google Lisa Frank. He said, “Oh yeah, I remember that stuff.” Unfortunately for him that was not enough for me, because I had to sit there going through Google images going, “I had that folder! I had this folder too! I had those stickers! Oh, I had that folder!” And then periodically differentiating that a certain item was after my time. Because I’m a freak of nature and distinctly remember what Lisa Frank items were available in 1996. Freak. Of Nature.


  26. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — August 12, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

    What an awesome looking salad! I love salads with cashews in them :)


  27. #
    joelle (on a pink typewriter) — August 12, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

    Mmmm, this sounds delicious!

    I loved school as a kid!


  28. #
    Kristen — August 12, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

    OMG Jessica – I, a typically A & B student, FLUNKED econ my Freshman year. Had to take it over and then got a C! I HATE Econ but love this salad!


  29. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — August 12, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

    This salad looks just simply out of this world! I love the combo of flavors – mercy!!!


  30. #
    Shee — August 12, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

    That salad looks amazing! I would not hesitate to eat everything in one sitting. And I’m totally the same when it comes to school – crazy! I loved all sorts of things that involve writing and reading but could not be bothered with Math and Physics. I also looked forward to school supplies shopping, but I’m really really glad I’m no longer in school, haha! xx


  31. #
    Kelly Jo — August 12, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

    Totally miss shopping for school supplies. Sometimes I think about going back to college so i can A) make more money but B) so i can buy school stuff. Would that be ridiculous? Might have to go buy some scotch tape and pencils for a quick fix. And maybe a Lisa Frank folder to organize all my recipes.


  32. #
    Jamie@MIlk N Cookies — August 12, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

    This looks delicious! I love all the chopped up goodness.

    Speaking of school supplies, have you ever seen “You’ve Got Mail”? There is a scene where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s characters discuss how much they love(d) buying school supplies. I think you would completely appreciate it! It’s one of my favorite parts of the movie.


  33. #
    Rachel S — August 12, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

    Ha. I remember coveting my friend’s trapper keeper in 3rd grade. Can’t believe my mom didn’t want to spend money on something so refined and classy as a Lisa Frank trapper keeper!


  34. #
    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance — August 13, 2013 @ 2:27 am

    Chili dusted mango?! Holy yes and yes, please!


  35. #
    Sunny — August 13, 2013 @ 8:19 am

    Every year about this time I get pouty when my partner — who is a perpetual student and keeps taking more and more math classes so that there aren’t even any numbers in them anymore — brings home new notebooks and pens and those oh-so-wonderfully smelling new textbooks. Totally jealous!


  36. #
    Sheila Willobee — August 13, 2013 @ 8:19 am

    You should store your notes and recipes in a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper. I bet your desk is big enough now and they can’t tell you what to do anymore. :) I also just had to add that the all-time best Lisa Frank product was one I have away as a party favor at my 8th birthday: plastic t-shirt clips. It’s more or less a circle with two slits. You bunch up your t-shirt, slide it through, and scrunch! Bam! Now any shirt can be made to look like its from the 90s.


  37. #
    Brittany — August 13, 2013 @ 8:53 am

    I’m the same way with liking a ton of junk on my salads. The more the better. I want to try making this with beans or tofu!


  38. #
    Stephanie — August 13, 2013 @ 10:21 am

    Does Lisa Frank still make things? I was desperately seeking a Lisa Frank spiral notebook last week and Target and saw nothing! Salad looks delicious…I love to eat my salads in little chopped up bits too.


  39. #
    Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies — August 13, 2013 @ 11:21 am

    Oh, the trapper keepers! I’m obsessed with office supplies. I could spend hours in the office supply store, staring at paper and pens. SO geeky. And, I also love tons of junk on my salads. I guess I’m just not into eating a bowl full of lettuce. I have to pretend I’m eating a bowl full of other stuff with a little lettuce too. This salad looks like a winner, especially with the cashews!!


  40. #
    petal and plume — August 13, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

    talk about tasting the rainbow! i love all the colours and flavours here. beaut!


  41. #
    Larry — August 13, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

    Ummm, I totally had a Lisa Frank backpack in elementary school. I can’t remember the color scheme (other than BRIGHT) but I do remember it had the yellow dog on it. I loved that thing. I had a Trapper Keeper, too. And pretty much everything else essential for a little gay kid in school (stickers, pencils, pencil cases…)


  42. #
    Coco in the Kitchen — August 13, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

    This looks so delicious. Love the cashews!


  43. #
    kerr — August 13, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

    We weren’t allowed to have trapper keepers either! It was awful. I def hunted down lisa frank in college for my class folders. And now I’m 30 and if I had a use for a folder you better believe it would be lisa frank. Surely I can come up with a need for a folder!


  44. #
    Alyssa — August 13, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

    I’m officially convinced that we are, in fact, the exact same person. (On the inside only of course, since you’re thin and blonde and pretty and I’m well… short and pale.) Let’s be friends.


  45. #
    Martyna — August 13, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

    oh god, this looks so delicious, I love any variety on chicken salad! xx

    Martyna | NEON MIZZLE


  46. #
    kyla — August 13, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

    On Valentine’s Day in kindergarden, I passed out a Lisa Frank valentine with dancing ballerina bears on it to my crush that said “I think you’re tutu cute”.

    Oh that Lisa Frank, always encouraging girls to go after their dreams!


  47. #
    UNA B — August 14, 2013 @ 12:27 am



  48. #
    Bill — August 14, 2013 @ 9:13 am

    I’m with you on piling your salad high with stuff! This salad looks amazing! Thanks for another great post!


  49. #
    annie / — August 14, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    I am definitely giving this a try this week! Love the chili dusted mango, love the bite size veggies, and love that my boyfriend will approve bc he’s obsessed with cashews. Thanks for sharing!


  50. #
    Melissa @ Treats With a Twist — August 14, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

    Oh Lisa Frank!
    I used to BEG my mom to take me shopping for school supplies as early as possible! I loved it! Then had a total meltdown at the thought of going to school again. I don’t miss that AT ALL.
    I’ll go buy new colored pencils and crayons and sit at home and color :)



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