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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.
Course Salad
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 410kcal


For the Asian salad dressing:

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


  • 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.



  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.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 770mg | Potassium: 521mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 696IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 4mg