Salad Dressing from Islands China Coast, Another Greatest Hit

by Cate on August 29, 2007

When having salad, I like one where the dressing coats every piece of lettuce. Not drenched, but just enough so you have dressing with every bite. I despise salad that doesn’t have enough dressing. Panera has awesome salad, and it has nothing to do with the ingredients they use. The secret is in how they make it … their bowls. Each salad is made to order, one at a time. When making your salad, they mix it by hand in a huge bowl. All the better to make sure it’s properly dressed. And ever since I discovered their little trick, it’s what I do too. Sure it’s a pain to have to wash a huge bowl that won’t fit in my dishwasher, but the end result in your mouth is well worth it.

And tonight we revisited another “Greatest Hit.” Islands China Coast Salad Dressing. Although we don’t have the chain here, Islands is a 30-restaurant chain that is in California and Arizona. I first made this recipe some five years ago, and it’s been a repeater ever since. If you’re like me, you’ll find it difficult to stop yourself from just slurping the dressing right from the bowl on its own.

The salad part? Easy. I usually use a mix of shredded iceberg and coleslaw, and then add sliced red onion, julienned carrots, mandarin oranges, the crunchy noodles from Ramen packages and a smattering of sesame seeds. If I want to turn it into a meal, I add either bite-size pieces of cooked chicken (rotisserie is great for this) or cooked shrimp. A great meal when it’s hot … and even when it’s not.

P.S. Kelly gets total credit for coining the “Greatest Hits” phrase for the tried-and-true recipes we’re revisiting.

Islands China Coast Salad Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
5 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with an electric mixer until well blended and sugar is dissolved.

The all-important big bowl.

Salad Before the Dressing

Salad After the Dressing

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Mahoney August 30, 2007 at 1:06 am

Thanks for the credit. The dressing sounds good. I know salad is good for me, but I wouldn’t eat it without dressing :)


Anonymous August 30, 2007 at 1:53 am

Do you toast your noodles? This dressing looks delish and I am going to try it for lunch tomorrow! Thanks. Jancd-Houston


Cate August 30, 2007 at 1:56 am

Kelly – I’m right there with you.

Jancd – No, I didn’t. Just took them straight from the bag and crushed them a bit. Love the crunch they add to the salad.


Claire August 30, 2007 at 1:43 pm

I love Panera…unfortunately there is not one near me. This method is the way a local deli called Newks does their salads. Yummy!


Anonymous August 31, 2007 at 1:50 pm

There’s a whole chain that does salads this way. It’s called Saladworks. It’s great.


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