Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

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. With crisp greens, colorful vegetables, fresh herbs, crunchy nuts and lean protein in an Asian-style vinaigrette, it’s light yet completely satisfying.  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

Print Recipe
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.

 

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  • 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 link to facebook.com.

  • This looks AHHH-MAZING! Definately on my “must try” list!

  • Mmm I was just thinking I needed new salad ideas for summer. Love this…
    The dressing looks so delicious!

  • This is such a good combination for the dressing. I like tasty dressings.

  • Jane park

    this is the best!!

  • Perrie

    It’s just 10:45 am, but my mouth is watering.

  • This will be dinner tonight with fresh greens from the garden…thanks

  • Jenny

    Looks amazing, Would it work with shrimp?

    • Jenn

      Yes!

  • kelly almasy

    hands down my favorite salad. so stoked to try this out!!

  • Carol

    Looks great. Can you give a calorie and fat count per serving? Thanks!

  • mjssmd

    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!

  • Becca

    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.

  • 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.

  • Tam

    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.

  • bmmj

    I eat this salad 2 to 3 times a week ( depending on my work schedule) . I love it!!!

  • Nicki Howerton

    This salad is amazing! I wouldn’t change a thing, but my husband prefers it without the chicken added.

  • Pauline

    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!

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