An easy recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad that’s as delicious as it is healthy. Say hello to a rainbow of crunchy veggies, chicken, and noodles tossed in a gingery dressing that will knock your socks off.

Chinese chicken salad in a orange serving bowl.

Cabbage has superpowers: it almost never wilts, it’s super affordable, and it’s packed with nutrients. And it lasts forever and a day in the fridge, so now you know what you can do with the one rolling around in your veggie drawer!

Even though it’s really easy, the recipe is completely homemade, right down to the dressing, which is so good you’ll be tempted to drink it. And, no real cooking is required. Take that, weekday.

Recipe ingredients:

Chinese Chicken salad ingredients in various bowls and labeled.

Ingredient notes:

  1. Hoisin sauce: Usually used as a sweet glaze for meat, hoisin sauce is made from soy beans, fennel, garlic, and chili peppers. Easy to find in the Asian foods section of any grocery.
  2. Ginger: Fresh ginger please! Store extra ginger in the freezer for future uses. No need to thaw before chopping up; just mince it up frozen.
  3. Napa cabbage: Lighter in texture (almost fluffy) than regular cabbage. If you can’t find it, use Savoy cabbage, bok choy, or plain old green cabbage. Find out how to cut cabbage like a pro, too.
  4. Chicken: Leftover rotisserie chicken or yesterday’s grilled chicken breasts work great. You can even use some of the salad dressing as a marinade before cooking, to boost the flavor up even more (Safety first: make extra dressing for the marinade, then discard whatever comes into contact with raw meat).
  5. Cilantro: If you don’t like cilantro, leave it out or substitute something else (fresh basil or parsley would both be good).

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Before you start, make the dressing. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, hoisin sauce, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil together in a bowl. Set this aside so the flavors have a chance to mingle together.
    Asian salad dressing in a clear bowl.
  2. Next, toss the cabbages, vegetables, cilantro, and chicken together in another bigger bowl. Drizzle with the desired amount of dressing.
    Asian salad dressing being poured into a clear bowl with chinese chicken salad ingredients.
  3. Then toss everything up until well-coated. Top with sesame seeds and chow mein noodles. That, salad-loving friends, is all there is to it.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Make ahead: Make the dressing up to 4 days before you need it. Just store in the refrigerator until you’re ready. The salad is best when tossed just before you’re ready to eat.
  • Optional ingredients: Slivered almonds, ramen noodles, edamame, bean sprouts, bok choy, wonton crisps, pea pods, or mandarin orange segments.

Chinese chicken salad in a orange serving bowl.

More fantastic salad recipes:

Chinese chicken salad in a orange serving bowl.

Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

An easy recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad that’s as delicious as it is healthy. Say hello to a rainbow of crunchy veggies, chicken, and noodles tossed in a gingery dressing that will knock your socks off.
5 from 19 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Calories 304

Ingredients 

For the Asian salad dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce (see note 1)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated (see note 2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For the salad:

  • 4 cups cooked chicken shredded or diced (see note 3)
  • 1 pound Napa cabbage cored and finely shredded (about 4 cups, see note 4)
  • 2 cups red cabbage cored and finely shredded
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro minced (see note 5)
  • 1 cup chow mein noodles
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds for garnish, optional

Instructions 

To make the Asian salad dressing:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. Allow flavors to blend at room temperature while preparing the rest of the salad. Or, store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

To make the salad:

  • In a large bowl, add chicken, green and red cabbage, carrots, scallions, and cilantro. Drizzle with salad dressing and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chow mein noodles and sesame seeds, if using.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Hoisin sauce: Usually used as a sweet glaze for meat, hoisin sauce is made from soy beans, fennel, garlic, and chili peppers. Easy to find in the Asian foods section of any grocery.
  2. Ginger: Fresh ginger please! Store extra ginger in the freezer for future uses. No need to thaw before chopping up; just mince it up frozen.
  3. Napa cabbage: Lighter in texture (almost fluffy) than regular cabbage. If you can't find it, use Savoy cabbage, bok choy, or plain old green cabbage. Find out how to cut cabbage like a pro, too.
  4. Chicken: Leftover rotisserie chicken or yesterday's grilled chicken breasts work great. You can even use some of the salad dressing as a marinade before cooking, to boost the flavor up even more (Safety first: make extra dressing for the marinade, then discard whatever comes into contact with raw meat).
  5. Cilantro: If you don't like cilantro, leave it out or substitute something else (fresh basil or parsley would both be good).
  6. Make ahead: Make the dressing up to 4 days before you need it. Just store in the refrigerator until you're ready. The salad is best when tossed just before you're ready to eat.
  7. Optional ingredients: Slivered almonds, ramen noodles, edamame, bean sprouts, bok choy, wonton crisps, pea pods, or mandarin orange segments.

Nutrition

Calories: 304kcal
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Meggan,
    I am excited to maje this salad for tomorrow’s VT vs ND tailgate! Can I cut the cabbage today for tomorrow? I don’t want it to turn brown, etc. The dressing is already made and in the fridge. Thanks for helping!

    1. Hi Carol!!! Sorry I didn’t get back to you in time. YES you can cut the cabbage today for tomorrow (or yesterday for today….). It’s super hardy and won’t turn brown. You could store it in water even, if you were worried about it. Sorry for not getting back to you in time. BUT HOORAY FOR TAILGATING!!!!!!

  2. Meggan, Joe added to perfection I can tell by his comment. This salad has become a regular that we eat several times a month. So good for us too. I’m going to check out some of your other salads now that I’m here again:)5 stars

  3. Thank you Meggan for this awesome recipe! Like Heather said, it’s a nut-n-bolts base – you can add 1,000 things! I add chopped water chestnuts, toasted slivered almonds, mandarin oranges and crushed ramen noodles. To the dressing I add a clove of shredded garlic and some of the mandarin orange syrup. Nom Nom!5 stars

    1. Thank you!!! Seriously, makes my day. I love that salad too, but I’m always delighted when someone else likes it too. :) Take care and thanks again!

  4. I love produce that sticks around for a while! Cabbage is so nice that way. cilantro, on the other hand…little bugger. This salad is a classic! I love the dressing!!5 stars

  5. You’re so right about the humble cabbage – it will sit there for weeks and come to no harm!

    Chinese recipes are a perfect way to use it up. I’ve never made a Chinese salad like this, Meggan, but agree that it looks delicious.

    I love your way of thinking too that less is more when it comes to the ingredients.5 stars

  6. I used this as a base and it was AMAZING!  I subbed scallions for the white onion and sesame-oat sticks for chow mein noodles.  I also used marinated shaved pork, seared then chopped in place of chicken.  I found a bag of “Cruciferous Crunch” at Trader Joe’s that I used for the cabbage.  The dressing was so good as written that I made a double batch to keep for other salads.  I prepped it all on Sunday then assembled big bento boxes each morning before work.  I ate this for 3 straight days and was sad when I had to find something else on the 4th day! 5 stars

    1. Heather, this is really quite spectacular. I do love that cruciferous crunch from TJ’s and all your subs. I might remake this recipe to include some of them! I’ll credit you if I do. :) So glad you enjoyed it! I’m craving this salad now!

  7. I also love Chinese chicken salads and yours looks so scrumptious! Can hardly wait to try it at home. Thanks for sharing.5 stars

  8. Hey Meggan,

    I loved your recipe. Made it twice already. I am planning to add this recipe in my Best of October recipe roundup to be published on the 31st of October, this year. I know it’s an old post but I have found this recipe useful, and the fresh flavours don’t really go out of style. I would love to add a picture of the salad in my blog post. I hope it is alright by you.
    Would love to hear back.
    Thank you.5 stars

    1. Hi Shreyashi, thank you so much for your kid words! I’m glad you liked the salad. Recipes never really get “old”, so even though it’s an old post, like you said, a fresh flavors never go out of style! Especially salads! You can certainly use an image as long as you link back. I look forward to seeing your post at the end of the month! :)