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.
This salad calls for homemade Asian Salad Dressing, which works overtime as a marinade for chicken, shrimp, or pork. And if you’re resolving to lighten up your lunches, enjoy it with one of your favorites from 8 Infused Water Ideas. For dozens of other light and healthy lunch ideas, click on over.
Salad doesn’t always have to be a boring bag of lettuce from the grocery store. In fact, it doesn’t have to be lettuce at all. Cabbage makes a fabulous main ingredient in salads. Why? It always stays crispy, it’s super affordable, and it’s amazing for you.
(Plus 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!)
This Chinese Chicken salad 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.
Making a big bowl of Chinese Chicken Salad for a party? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Chinese Chicken Salad ingredients:
While you can add anything under the sun to Chinese Chicken Salad, this recipe pares it down to the delicious essentials. Also, feel free to add or subtract ingredients as you see fit, making Chinese Chicken Salad healthy as you like. There’s no wrong way to make it, unless you don’t make it at all.
- Chicken. Leftover rotisserie chicken or last weekend’s grilled chicken breasts work great! However, if you're making the chicken just for this salad, you can even use some of the 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.)
- 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.
- Red cabbage. The finer it's shredded, the better.
- Carrots. Shredded or spiralized carrots add color and vitamins. Make thin ribbons with a veggie peeler if you've lost your shredder.
- Cilantro. Hate cilantro? As always, leave it out! Maybe add some scallions instead.
- Chow mein noodles. Sold by the cardboard can in most grocery stores.
- Sesame seeds.
Other, purely optional ingredients:
- Slivered almonds.
- Ramen noodles. Uncooked, still crispy top ramen noodles, straight out of the package. Weird, but really good.
- Edamame. The frozen “steam in a bag” edamame work great. Pop them out of their shells and toss.
- Bean sprouts.
- Bell peppers.
- Wonton crisps. Some folks go the extra mile and fry up wonton wrappers.
- Bok choy.
- Rice noodles.
- Mandarin oranges.
- Pea Pods. Snow peas, peas, any sweet green pea.
Asian Salad Dressing ingredients:
This fantastic dressing will probably up your salad game, and you don't need any fancy ingredients, either. Everything is pretty easy to find in most grocery stores.
- Canola oil. Or any neutral oil, like grapeseed.
- Rice vinegar. Rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar are the same thing. (A rice wine vinegar substitute is champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar.)
- Soy sauce.
- 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.
- Ginger. Above all, fresh ginger please! Store extra ginger in the freezer for future uses--it freezes fabulously. No need to thaw before chopping up; just mince it up frozen.
- Toasted sesame oil.
How to make Chinese Chicken Salad:
Certainly better than Costco or any restaurant, this recipe is so easy and the end result is bright, colorful, and tasty.
- First, toss the cabbages, vegetables, cilantro, and chicken together in a bowl. Drizzle with the desired amount of dressing.
- 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!
Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe
For the Asian salad dressing:
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
For the salad:
- 4 cups cooked chicken shredded or diced
- 1 pound Napa cabbage cored and finely shredded (about 4 cups)
- 2 cups red cabbage cored and finely shredded
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro minced
- 1 cup chow mein noodles
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds for garnish, optional
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.