Please consult the OU's guidelines for checking fruits and vegetables.

Ginger Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing
Ginger Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing Eileen Goltz | Meat
55 minutes 30 minutes
25 minutes
4 servings

  • Broccoli, lettuce, and spinach tend to be infested with aphids, thrips, and other insects. Please see “Kashrut Instructions” below for instructions on checking these for insect infestation.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1 cup broccoli flowerets
  • 2 cups bok choy, julienned
  • 1 cup pea pods
  • 1 cup sliced water chestnuts
  • 1½ to 2 cups cooked chicken or turkey
  • ¾ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons apple juice
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger root (or ¼ teaspoon dried ground ginger)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter

Instructions
  1. In a large salad bowl combine the spinach, romaine, carrots, broccoli, bok choy, pea pods, and water chestnuts. Slice chicken into thin strips and add to bowl. Mix well.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, apple juice, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Mix well.
  3. Heat the peanut butter in the microwave or on the stove top until a liquid-like consistency. Whisk the peanut butter into the dressing mixture. Pour the dressing over the salad.
  • This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Kashrut Instructions

FRESH BROCCOLI:

DESCRIPTION: Broccoli is a green vegetable resembling a miniature tree. Its thick central stem divides into many smaller branches, which are crowned with tightly clustered green florets.

INFESTATION: Broccoli may be infested with a variety of insects, most prominently aphids and thrips. The aphids are green or white, but will often turn brown during the parboiling (partial cooking) that is done to prepare the vegetable for inspection (see Inspection, below). The thrips are usually black or gray.

Also present at times is the broccoli worm, a thin white or light greenish worm of about a half inch’s length. This worm, when present, is difficult to discern because it looks like one of the thin stems.

Our research has indicated that infestation levels of broccoli grown domestically (USA, Canada, but not Mexico) vary by season. During the winter months, (approximately November through March), infestation level is around 10%. Broccoli grown during this season should be inspected. During the summer months (the remaining seven months of the year), broccoli can be heavily infested, and inspection is often impractical. Broccoli from Mexico is infested throughout the year. It is primarily used for frozen broccoli products.

INSPECTION: When checking broccoli, a well-lit area should be chosen. This aids in discerning an insect from the floret pieces. It should be noted that cleaning infested broccoli is not feasible. The purpose of inspection is to determine if the broccoli is infested. Once infestation is detected, the floret portion of the head must be discarded. One cannot be certain that all insects will be discovered and removed. However, the stem portion may be separated, washed and consumed.

Fresh broccoli-stems:

Broccoli stems may be used after a thorough washing. No further checking is necessary.

Fresh broccoli (whole):

  1. It is virtually impossible to perform a comprehensive inspection on raw broccoli. Parboil the broccoli for ten seconds to soften the florets and stems. An additional benefit of parboiling is that aphids often turn from green to brown and the florets from light to dark lush green. The contrast of colors makes the insects more easily detectable after this process. Submerge in cold water immediately after parboiling to preserve the flavor and firmness of the vegetable.
  2. It is important to segregate each head individually when processing more than one head of broccoli. If a section of a broccoli head shows infestation, the entire head must be discarded.
  3. Inspect each floret section:
    1. Look carefully at the under part (i.e., the branched area) of each floret. It is important to check the Y-shaped crevice between the branches.
    2. Spread each floret head apart and look inside the floret from the top¬ down (i.e., through the green flower buds, into the branch area).
  4. If one OR two insects are found, special care should be taken in examining the remaining sections of that broccoli head. Should a total of three insects be found, either in a particular section or spread among different sections of the same broccoli head, the entire head should be discarded.

Alternative method:

  1. While parboiling the broccoli as described above, agitate the vegetable in the boiling water and bang it against the side of the pot several times.
  2. After removing the broccoli and submerging it in cold water, check a sampling of the parboiled water in a glass bowl over a light box.
  3. If insects appear in the water, each floret must be checked meticulously.
  4. If no insects appear in the water, the broccoli may be used after running a strong stream of water through the head from top to bottom and from bottom to top.

Beware: Insects like company. If even one insect is found, the entire head must be checked most scrupulously.

Please note: erudite displays should not include raw broccoli due to the impossibility of properly checking raw broccoli.

LETTUCE & LEAFY VEGETABLES:

DESCRIPTION: Bok Choy, Lettuce, Open-Leaf, Bib, Boston, Butter Lettuce, Chicory, Chinese Lettuce (Napa), Iceberg, Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Romaine, Field Greens and Watercress all grow in a similar fashion. As they sprout forth from the ground, the leaves begin to open up like a flower. Toward the end of their growth they begin to close around the stalk.

INFESTATION: The insects most commonly found in open-leaf lettuce are small green aphids or thrips. The leaves of the vegetable often camouflage these insects. The open structure of these vegetables allows insects to penetrate the entire head. Red Leaf, Green Leaf and Romaine Lettuce have curly leaves with many folds in which the insects tend to hide. We therefore recommend that they be washed and checked with extreme caution. Often, insects may be found between the innermost layers of leaves of an infested head. Therefore, each leaf must be washed and checked individually. The use of a light box for checking lettuce is extremely helpful. Occasionally, worms may be found in burrows within the body of the leaf. Look for a narrow (1/8″) translucent burrow speckled with black dots breaking up the deep green color of the leaf. These burrows will often trap the worm within the leaf. To rid the leaf of these worms, carefully slit the bumpy part within the burrow with a sharp knife and remove the worm.

Please note: Many varieties of open-leaf lettuce feature curly leaves with many folds in which the insects tend to hide. We therefore recommend that they be washed and checked with extreme caution.

INSPECTION:

  1. Cut off the lettuce base and separate the leaves from one another.
  2. Soak leaves in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, care must be taken to thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
  3. Agitate the lettuce leaves in the soapy solution.
  4. Spread each leaf, taking care to expose all its curls and crevices. Using a heavy stream of water or a power hose, remove all foreign matter and soap from both sides of each leaf. Alternatively, a vegetable brush may be used on both sides of the leaf.
  5. Several leaves should be checked over a light box or under strong overhead lighting to verify that the washing procedure has been effective. Pay careful attention to the folds and crevices in the leaf where insects have been known to hold tight through several washings.
  6. If it is practical, it is best to check each leaf.
  7. If the manner of washing described above is impractical, each leaf must be carefully inspected.
  8. In a commercial setting, a vegetable spinner is recommended. (The advantages of spin-drying are: (1) the Rabbi will not risk an electrical shock when placing the leaves on the light box; and (2) the leaves will stay fresh and moist for a longer period of time.)
  9. Three handfuls of leaves from different areas of the bin should be checked over a light box or under direct light. Our experience has shown that if the leaves are washed properly, no insects will be found.

SPINACH & ARUGULA:

Please note: Only flat leaf spinach is recommended because its flat surface lends itself to efficient washing. Curly leaf spinach is difficult to clean and check. It is therefore not recommended.

INFESTATION: Spinach and arugula tend to be highly infested throughout the year. Light green thrips are often found in the small curls of the leaves. Occasionally, worms may be found in burrows within the body of the leaf. Look for a narrow (1/8_) translucent burrow speckled with black dots breaking up the deep green color of the leaf. These burrows will often trap the worm within the leaf. To rid the leaf of these worms, carefully slit the bumpy part within the burrow with a sharp knife and remove the worm.

INSPECTION:

  1. Soak leaves in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, care must be taken to thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
  2. Separate the spinach leaves and agitate them in the soapy solution.
  3. Using a heavy stream of water or a power hose, remove all foreign matter and soap from the leaf surface. Alternatively, a vegetable brush may be used on both sides of the leaf.
  4. Several leaves should be checked over a light box or under strong overhead light to verify that the washing procedure has been effective. Both sides of the leaf must be checked.
  5. If it is practical, it is best to check each leaf.