Chinese Chicken Salad is loaded with vibrant flavors and textures. Great for a main dish salad that’s filling and satisfying!
This favorite restaurant dish is easy to make at home too!
The filling, wholesome ingredients and bold flavors in the dressing make it a perfect year-round main dish recipe.
Bright colors and fresh crunchy texture make it a family favorite recipe.
What Is Chinese Chicken Salad?
It is a robust salad featuring chopped or shredded chicken.
Asian ingredients and flavors that have become popular in the United States combine to make the salad a fresh, brightly flavored, crunchy main dish.
There are many variation of this recipe. I’m not sure there a true standard version!
Some versions include canned mandarin orange segments or fried Chow Mein noodles.
Instead I opted for more fresh ingredients that give the burst of flavor and the crunchy texture.
What’s in it? Loads of wholesome delicious ingredients!
- Soft Napa cabbage
- Red cabbage
- Green onions
- Shredded chicken breast – homemade or Rotisserie chicken
- Sliced almonds – finish the presentation and give another crunch
The combination of red and green cabbages make a beautiful color combination for the other ingredients!
How to Make Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing
The dressing is a combination of wonderful Asian flavors:
- Sesame oil
- Rice Wine Vinegar – Rice Vinegar can also be used
- Chili oil – for a light bit of heat
- Tamari or soy sauce – for some salt
- fresh Ginger
- Brown Sugar
It’s tangy, salty, spicy and bright in flavor adding the finishing touch on the salad.
The fresh ginger and garlic flavors add a big punch of flavor!
Add all ingredients to a jar and seal.
Shake to combine and set aside for the flavors to infuse while making the salad.
PRO TIP for Adding the Dressing
If you’ll be serving the salad in one sitting, use all of the dressing.
If you will serve it over a few meals, add the dressing ONLY to individual portions of salad and store the rest in the refrigerator.
Keep the salad in a sealed container or covered with plastic wrap, and the dressing separately in a sealed jar.
This will keep the salad fresh and crunchy until the dressing is added.
Make it Gluten-Free!
This recipe does not contain Chow Mein noodles as some recipes do.
That takes the gluten away from the ingredients.
When making the dressing use Tamari, which is a gluten-free version of soy sauce!
PRO TIP: How to Cook Chicken for the Salad
Shredded chicken breast adds tasty protein to this salad recipe.
The recipe calls for making the BEST shredded chicken via a little trick I have!
It makes moist, shredded chicken packed with great flavor!
It doesn’t taste like stewed chicken which is often used on salads.
Also a cool shredding method (no forks or fingers required) that’s truly life changing.
Both this methods are easy and something you’ll use again and again in different recipes.
Make it a Meal!
Since this is a main dish recipe with a variety of satisfying ingredients, it’s fine to serve it by itself.
If you want to add more to the menu here are some suggestions:
- Pot Stickers (I make frozen gluten-free pot stickers that are as good as those homemade; keep it easy)
- Egg Rolls
- Fruit Skewers
- Spicy Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice
- Spicy Garlic Sriracha Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Singapore Street Noodles
Chinese Chicken Salad
Ingredients for the Dressing:
- 1/3 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Tamari (if gluten-free) or regular Soy Sauce (if not gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 1 teaspoon Chili Oil
- 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh diced Ginger Root
- 1 large Garlic Clove , diced
Ingredients for the Salad:
- 1 recipe Homemade Moist Shredded Chicken Breast (equivalent of 3 cups shredded chicken)
- 5 cups Shredded Napa Cabbage (I cut across the cabbage and separate the slice into individual strands of cabbage)
- 3 cups Finely Shredded Red Cabbage
- 2 cups Grated Carrots
- ½ cup chopped fresh Cilantro leaves
- 4 large Scallions (green onions), trimmed and sliced (both white and green portions)
- ¼ cup Sesame Seeds (white, black or a mix)
- ¼ cup Sliced Almonds
- Prepared the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients into a small jar with a lid. Seal, shake vigorously and set aside for the flavors to infuse.
- Prepare the homemade moist shredded chicken breast. While the chicken breasts are cooking, in a large bowl combine the Napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cilantro and green onions; toss to combine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Allow the freshly shredded chicken to cool slightly and combine with the salad and the sesame seeds; toss.
- Dressing the salad: if you plan to serve the entire salad, add all of the dressing and toss. If you plan to use the salad over multiple meals, dress individual servings of the salad and store the salad and dressing separately to keep the salad crisp. Sprinkle the top of the salad with sliced almonds just before serving to keep them crunchy.
Originally published: January 6, 2017