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Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

5 stars based on 12 votes

chinese-chicken-salad

If I didn’t have a husband and children to feed, I’d eat a salad like this every night of the summer. The taste is similar to the Chinese Chicken Salad served at many restaurants, only I’ve left off the unhealthy fried wonton strips that are usually piled on top. Though the ingredient list looks long, the recipe couldn’t be easier to make — especially if you use leftover or rotisserie chicken instead of making your own. 

Begin by cooking the chicken. I like to use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts for this recipe. Simply coat the breasts with oil, salt and pepper and roast them on a foil-lined baking sheet for 35-40 minutes, or until the juices run clear.

In the meantime, make the dressing. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. (Note: It’s necessary to roughly chop the garlic and ginger before blending, otherwise they won’t get completely puréed.)

Next, prep the salad ingredients. For the greens, I like to use a combination of romaine lettuce hearts and mild-flavored Napa cabbage, but the salad is just as good with romaine only. As for the vegetables and add-ins, I love the combination of grated carrots, cilantro, red peppers, scallions and cashews, but you could substitute just about anything. Thinly sliced cucumbers, fresh mint, peanuts, red cabbage, water chestnuts and fried wonton strips would all work well.

When the chicken breasts are cool, remove the skin and pull the meat off the bone, then slice it into thin strips.

Combine the salad, chicken and dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or 2 cups shredded cooked chicken)
  • Peanut oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper

For the Dressing

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-1/2 inch square piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

For the Salad

  • 4 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped (or use a combination of romaine and Napa cabbage)
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots, from 2 carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup salted cashews or peanuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the chicken breasts on a foil lined sheet pan. Rub the skin with oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and juices run clear. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
  3. In the meantime, make the dressing. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Remove the skin from the cooked chicken breasts and slice into bite-size pieces; add to salad bowl. Add dressing, little by little, and toss to combine (you may have a little dressing left over). Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 751
  • Fat: 53g
  • Saturated fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 46g
  • Sugar: 26g
  • Fiber: 15g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Sodium: 1019mg
  • Cholesterol: 56mg

Reviews & Comments

  • Whats the portion size for this?

    - Chrissy on September 22, 2016 Reply
    • I think a portion would be about 2 generous cups. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on September 22, 2016 Reply
  • I don’t use peanut oil but I like the nut flavor. Would it be better to substitute vegetable oil or a combination of vegetable oil and peanut butter?

    - Kami on July 7, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Kami, I would just use vegetable oil in place of the peanut oil.

      - Jenn on July 7, 2016 Reply
  • Sounds like a fantastic recipe. Wondering if you meant roasted sesame oil or unroasted?

    - Julie on July 2, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Julie, unroasted is fine. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on July 2, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Love this recipe for chicken salad, so delicious, fresh and satisfying. Your pictures are lovely too.

    - elizabethcooks on June 24, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just tried the Chinese Chicken Salad, and it was wonderful!! Been trying your recipes for the last year and have never been disappointed!! Thank you for all the recipes!! Can hardly wait for the cook book!!
    Best…Dennis

    - Dennis Erickson on June 3, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this today for my husband and I and we both loved it!! The only thing I omitted was the cilantro, other than that followed the recipe to a “T”. It was quick and easy to make. Try this one, you will not be disappointed.

    - Cheryl Q on April 24, 2016 Reply
  • I would really like to try this salad recipe, however, my husband can’t have nuts. Is there a substitute for the peanut oil or can I just leave it out?

    Thanks

    - PkP on February 29, 2016 Reply
    • Vegetable oil would be a good substitute. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on February 29, 2016 Reply
  • Has anyone tried this dressing substituting Equal for the honey, or without any sweetener at all? I’m on a doctor-supervised, ultra-low-carb dietary regimen: the complex carbs in all those lovely veggies are fine in sensible quantities, but simple carbs like honey and sugar and corn syrup are a huge no-no.

    - Spikeygrrl on January 3, 2016 Reply
    • Use medjool dates! They are very sweet and honey like in flavor but have potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, fiber and other micronutrients. They are a natural, whole food and while eating a whole bag would not be optimal, a couple blended with the dressing would add nutrition and the sweetness . Please don’t use artificial sweeteners! Don’t forget to remove the pit first!

      - Lisa on June 26, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe! Looking forward to more. I’m curious to what the nutritional facts of this recipe are. I’m watching my weight and would appreciate knowing how many calories I’m consuming each time…great thanks in advance.

    - Nessa on September 27, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Nessa, The recipe has been updated with nutritional data. Sorry for the wait :)

      - Jenn on October 1, 2015 Reply
  • Your website now has so many popups on it that it is really annoying. Can’t hardly see the recipe for all the junk popping on top of it! Didn’t used to be that way.

    - Linda on September 3, 2015 Reply
    • Thanks, Linda. I will look into it and see if I can remove some of them.

      - Jenn on September 3, 2015 Reply
  • If I don’t have a blender what dressing could I buy that would be comparable? Thanks!

    - Mallori on August 2, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Mallori, I’m sorry, I don’t know of a store-bought dressing that would be comparable. But it’s fine to make the dressing by hand; just chop the garlic and ginger very finely.

      - Jenn on August 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I want to compliment you on an excellent recipe. The dressing is spot on; tangy, not overly sweet and very refreshing. I’ve made your recipe three times in the last three weeks – my wife and I love it that much. Very, very well done. I look forward to reviewing other recipes on your website!

    - ZipperStan on June 30, 2015 Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it!

      - Jenn on June 30, 2015 Reply
  • This looks great. I was thinking of substituting Trader Joes organic baked tofu/teriyaki seasoned for the chicken.

    wondering if anyone has tried this with tofu…

    - Loiss on June 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another fantastic recipe. This salad deserves 6 stars!!! I substituted roasted, slivered almonds and added peeled and sectioned orange slices. WOW!

    - Julie on May 27, 2015 Reply
  • Can I make the salad dressing ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days?

    - Phyllis on May 17, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Phyllis, Yes, that’s fine.

      - Jenn on May 18, 2015 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Is 3 days the max the dressing will keep? Would it keep in the fridge for a week or is it best to eat it sooner?

        - Christine S. on June 1, 2015 Reply
        • Hi Christine, I’d say it would keep well for 4-5 days. Enjoy!

          - Jenn on June 2, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have tried multiple recipes for a salad like this one, and this one is perfection! Bright flavors, and the best combination of ingredients. The dressing is just right… sweet and spicy and fresh tasting.

    - Paula Rankin on May 7, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Definitely worth all five stars! I made this recipe for a potluck and it was very much appreciated.

    - M. Pikake on February 15, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely delicious and easy to make!

    - Sarah on December 20, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was awesome. Constantly changing flavors coming through alive in your mouth. Another awesome recipe.

    - egbluesuede on August 9, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wonderful recipe, light yet filling. Perfect for those days that are in the triple digits. Served with garlic bread and fresh fruit for dessert.

    - Patricia on July 11, 2014 Reply
  • I had a salad similar to this while visiting Seattle Washington and have been craving ever since, this was perfect! I added a few black sesame seeds. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

    - Pauline on March 24, 2013 Reply
  • This salad is amazing! I wouldn’t change a thing, but my husband prefers it without the chicken added.

    - Nicki Howerton on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • I eat this salad 2 to 3 times a week ( depending on my work schedule) . I love it!!!

    - bmmj on August 31, 2012 Reply
  • This salad was So Good! the only thing i changed was that I put a Thai pepper in the blender with the rest of the dressing ingredients, just because we always like a little heat. I will surely be making this time and time again as it makes perfect summer dinner.

    - Tam on July 24, 2012 Reply
  • The chinese chicken salad was delicious. So easy and everyone enjoyed it. I served it to guests for a summer lunch. I will be serving this recipe again.

    - K. Nagorka on July 12, 2012 Reply
  • Everything is better with ginger! I saw a great tip on a cooking show yesterday and want to share it. Buy fresh ginger peel and freeze it in chucks then take out of freezer and grate frozen. It grates really well and I did not notice any difference in taste. I don’t know about you but I hate thinking I have fresh ginger and finding it with mold on it, such a waste.

    - Becca on July 12, 2012 Reply
  • This is a great cool dish for a hot summer’s night — paired with mojitos! I adjusted it a bit for less salt and healthier oils by using only 3 Tbsp of lite soy and decreasing the peanut oil to 1/4 cup. I made up the difference with canola. It might have lost a little taste, but was still delicious! I also only used 1 head of romaine with the same mix of vegetables and chicken, and thought the balance was good.
    Will definitely make again!

    - mjssmd on July 4, 2012 Reply
  • Looks great. Can you give a calorie and fat count per serving? Thanks!

    - Carol on June 29, 2012 Reply
  • hands down my favorite salad. so stoked to try this out!!

    - kelly almasy on June 29, 2012 Reply
  • Looks amazing, Would it work with shrimp?

    - Jenny on June 28, 2012 Reply
    • Yes!

      - Jenn on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • This will be dinner tonight with fresh greens from the garden…thanks

    - Diane on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • It’s just 10:45 am, but my mouth is watering.

    - Perrie on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • this is the best!!

    - Jane park on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • This is such a good combination for the dressing. I like tasty dressings.

    - The Contessa on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • Mmm I was just thinking I needed new salad ideas for summer. Love this…
    The dressing looks so delicious!

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • This looks AHHH-MAZING! Definately on my “must try” list!

    - Lauren | Hippie Dog Company on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • Great recipe! We will be featuring it tomorrow for our “Like it with Loosen” Friday Facebook series, which pairs tasty recipes with Dr. Loosen Rieslings. We’ll pair this one with Dr. Loosen “Blue Slate” Riesling. You can see the pairing suggestion at http://www.facebook.com/drloosen.

    - Tamara Greenleaf on June 28, 2012 Reply

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