Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This easy-to-make chicken salad tastes like the one you can order at many restaurants sans the unhealthy fried wonton strips.

chicken salad

If I didn’t have a husband and children to feed, I’d eat a chicken 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.

What you’ll need to make Chinese Chicken Salad

How to make the Salad

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!

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Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

This easy-to-make chicken salad tastes like the one you can order at many restaurants sans the unhealthy fried wonton strips.

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 (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup toasted 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

Powered by Edamam

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

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • YUM! Snuck a couple bites while making a double recipe for a potluck this evening. Here’s the wonderful thing: I hadn’t yet tried it myself but I know using any of Jenn’s recipes will always land a hit.
    I’m thinking shrimp or using a precooked chicken shredded will easily work here too. Or adding mandarin oranges to the side along with those wonton fried strips for those that love them. So good, can’t wait to eat a giant bowl tonight!

    • — Karin Landers on March 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • I love this salad dressing! I make it frequently and just use it on my every day normal salads and it makes them all so good! Thank you for this salad dressing recipe, its so easy and contains clean ingredients!

    • — Liz on July 17, 2018
    • Reply
  • Oops forgot the stars!

  • Delicious, Definitely a keeper. Will make again!

  • Your recipe did not disappoint. I can not wait to try others. Thank you for a great meal. Keeper!!

    Alexis
    Sonoma, California

    • — Alexis de Tessan
    • Reply
  • Out of this world! Thank you so much for this spectacular dressing recipe!

  • Is the sesame oil in the sesame ginger dressing roasted or unroasted?

    • Hi Eugene, either one is fine!

  • Whats the portion size for this?

    • I think a portion would be about 2 generous cups. Hope you enjoy!

  • 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?

    • Hi Kami, I would just use vegetable oil in place of the peanut oil.

  • Sounds like a fantastic recipe. Wondering if you meant roasted sesame oil or unroasted?

    • Hi Julie, unroasted is fine. Enjoy!

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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

    • Vegetable oil would be a good substitute. Enjoy!

  • 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.

    • 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!

  • 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.

    • Hi Nessa, The recipe has been updated with nutritional data. Sorry for the wait 🙂

  • 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.

    • Thanks, Linda. I will look into it and see if I can remove some of them.

  • If I don’t have a blender what dressing could I buy that would be comparable? Thanks!

    • 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.

  • 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!

    • So glad you enjoyed it!

  • 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…

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

  • Can I make the salad dressing ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days?

    • Hi Phyllis, Yes, that’s fine.

      • 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?

        • Hi Christine, I’d say it would keep well for 4-5 days. Enjoy!

  • 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.

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

  • Absolutely delicious and easy to make!

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

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

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

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

  • Looks amazing, Would it work with shrimp?

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

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

  • this is the best!!

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

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

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

  • 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.

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