Chinese Chicken Salad

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Instead of using the “kitchen sink” approach, this crunchy, colorful Chinese Chicken Salad has a carefully-curated selection of vegetables and toppings. The dressing is delicious and doubles as a marinade and dipping sauce, too.

A bowl of Chinese chicken salad with Asian salad dressing.

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

Labeled ingredients for Chinese chicken salad.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Rice vinegar: It might also be labeled as “rice wine vinegar” (they are the same thing).
  • 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.
  • Canola oil: Or any neutral oil, like grapeseed oil or light olive oil.
  • Fresh ginger: Do not substitute ground (powdered) ginger because it doesn’t have the same flavor.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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. To make the 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.
A bowl of Asian Salad Dressing sitting in front of a bowl of Chinese Chicken Salad.
  1. In a large bowl, add chicken, green and red cabbage, carrots, scallions, and cilantro.
A bowl of Chinese chicken salad with Asian salad dressing.
  1. Drizzle with salad dressing.
A bowl of Chinese chicken salad with Asian salad dressing.
  1. Toss to combine and sprinkle with chow mein noodles and sesame seeds.
A bowl of Chinese chicken salad with Asian salad dressing.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 6 generous, entrée-sized servings.
  • Storage: Store leftover salad covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cabbage holds up better than lettuce, so this salad has staying-power.
  • 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.
  • More mix-ins: Try slivered, toasted almonds, ramen noodles, edamame, bean sprouts, bok choy, wonton crisps, pea pods, or mandarin orange segments.

Recipe FAQs

What is a substitute for Hoisin sauce?

You can make your own Hoisin sauce with common pantry ingredients.
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder

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A bowl of Chinese chicken salad with Asian salad dressing.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Instead of using the "kitchen sink" approach, this crunchy, colorful Chinese Chicken Salad has a carefully-curated selection of vegetables and toppings. The dressing is delicious and doubles as a marinade and dipping sauce, too.
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 35 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Calories 410

Ingredients 

For the Asian salad dressing:

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

For the salad:

  • 4 cups cooked chicken shredded or diced (see note 5)
  • 1 pound napa cabbage cored and finely shredded (about 4 cups, see note 6)
  • 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 7)
  • 1 cup chow mein noodles
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • To make the 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.
  • 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.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Rice vinegar: It might also be labeled as “rice wine vinegar” (they are the same thing).
  2. 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.
  3. Canola oil: Or any neutral oil, like grapeseed oil or light olive oil.
  4. Fresh ginger: Do not substitute ground (powdered) ginger because it doesn’t have the same flavor.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Cilantro: If you don’t like cilantro, leave it out or substitute something else (fresh basil or parsley would both be good).
  8. Yield: This recipe makes 6 generous, entrée-sized servings.
  9. Storage: Store leftover salad covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cabbage holds up better than lettuce, so this salad has staying-power.
  10. 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 410kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 32gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 770mgPotassium: 521mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 696IUVitamin C: 38mgCalcium: 118mgIron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. I’ve tried many different Asian Chicken Salad recipes over the years, but this one beats them all! Happy the search is over as this will now be my “go to” Chinese/Asian Chicken Salad! It’s the perfect balance of textures and flavors and my whole family loved it as well!5 stars

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