This Chinese Chicken Salad has already become my “salad of the summer” and I’m quite sure I’ll be making it well into other seasons of the year. Made using an easy homemade peanut sauce for ultimate freshness. Serve this to family and friends, it’s almost too easy.
Incredibly fresh and contrasting ingredients like crunchy, shredded cabbage, sweet, garden-fresh carrots, chunks of cucumber and sliced scallions. Then add sweet segments from fresh oranges and tender, shredded chicken. More color and flavor is added with a toss of fresh or frozen peas, and depending on what’s in season, I like to use sugar-snap peas or slivered snow peas. Then sprinkle a generous helping of sliced almonds and toasted sesame seeds.
And the dressing! This fresh-from-scratch Peanut Sauce Recipe doubles as the perfect Chinese chicken salad dressing or as a chicken satay sauce. It doesn’t take long to blend the dressing together, but why not make it ahead of time to speed up the prep even further?
Speaking of the time it takes to prep this salad, if your chicken is pre-cooked and the dressing made ahead of time, you can have dinner on the table in about 15 minutes. I’ve found the best method for cooking chicken breasts for this salad is to gently boil them until an instant-read thermometer reads 160F degrees in the center of the thickest part, but you could add grilled chicken or even left-over rotisserie chicken.
Chinese Chicken Salad also easily converts to a raw vegan-friendly salad simply by omitting the chicken. Change it up a bit but adding some red bell pepper, jalapeno slices, avocado and even broccoli or shredded brussel sprouts. The green cabbage is refreshing and crunchy, but you could use any dark leafy lettuce and some slices of red cabbage instead. Switch out the almonds for cashews or Spanish peanuts.
This recipe is so versatile, so healthy, and so tasty, you’ll be craving it during the hot summer months especially when turning on the oven is a definite no-go.
Chinese Chicken Salad
For the Dressing:
- ½ cup soy sauce or tamari- tamari is the gluten-free option
- ½ cup regular peanut butter, not peanut butter that needs stirring
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 cup canola oil, expeller-pressed is health option
- 1-10 ounce bag shredded coleslaw mix or 4 cups finely shredded green cabbage
- ¼ pound snow peas, trimmed and sliced lengthwise or sugar-snap peas removed from pods
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
- 1 carrot peeled and then shredded into ribbons with the peeler (or grate with cheese grater)
- 2 scallions sliced
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 2 oranges, peeled, white pith removed, and cut between the membranes to remove segments
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
For the Dressing:
- In a blender, process ½ cup soy sauce (or tamari), ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup vinegar, 2 chopped garlic, 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper until combined. Add 2 Tablespoons sesame oil and 1 cup canola oil and blended until smooth.
For the Salad:
- In a large bowl, toss together 10 ounces coleslaw mix, ¼ pound snow peas, 1 cucumber, 1 carrots, 2 scallions and 2 Tablespoons parsley.
- Add about ½ cup of the dressing and toss to combine.
- Transfer to a serving platter. Top with 3 cups chicken, 2 oranges, ½ cup almonds and 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds.
- Drizzle with extra dressing and serve or serve with the dressing to pass around the table.
- tip: Make the dressing ahead of time, up to several days, and keep in air-tight container in the fridge until ready to assemble.
- Tip: My best chicken option is to boil 5 half breasts until internal temperature measures 160F degrees. Let cool and then shred. (Bring water to boil before adding the chicken)
- Tip: If you desire and have time, toast the almond slices and the sesame seeds for even better flavor. This is nice but not critical.
- Tip: Using sugar-snap peas when they're in season is fabulous for a nice flavor and pretty presentation, so I highly recommend this option. Other options besides the snow peas are using fresh from frozen petite peas, or edamame.
I love new ideas for summery salads, this looks and sounds perfect!
Sally Humeniuk says
Hi Alice, you’ll love this one for summer, I just know it! 🙂
betty anne says
I’ve been looking for a delicious asian chicken salad recipe for a while now. This sounds great! Love the snow peas in there!
Sally Humeniuk says
Thanks, Betty Anne! This is a great one. I think you’ll love it!
This salad is SO GOOD! I made it two days in row its that good! I will definitely make it again and again.
I made this for dinner and we loved it! Really tasted like restaurant-quality. My husband said he could eat it every night! Thank for sharing Sally, we really enjoyed it!
Sally Humeniuk says
Wow, Martha! What a great compliment. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. 🙂
tim h says
This recipe looks amazing, I just love your blog! Do you think you could make this recipe using tofu in place of the chicken and it still be just as good? Im a vegetarian 🙂
Sally Humeniuk says
Hi Tim, Absolutely! One of my kids is also vegetarian and we usually just leave out the chicken when making it for him. But tofu, especially if it’s sautéed up, would be fabulous on this salad!
Donna Maahs says
I just made this peanut dressing and I doubled the recipe because I’m having 6 guests. There is so much dressing–well over a quart and I can’t believe there is not a mistake in the ingredients’ amounts. My main concern is that it tastes way too salty so I’m thinking I’m going to have to start all over. My question is, are you certain these amounts are correct? I’ve looked at other recipes for a peanut dressing and the dressings make around 1 cup which seems that would be an adequate amount of dressing for serving 4 people. My guests are coming on Monday and I’m wondering if I should just start over and make about 1-2 cups of the dressing. (Haven’t put together the salad ingredients yet.
Donna, I checked my notes and the recipe and this is correct. The regular recipe (not doubled) does make almost 3 cups of dressing. But when you toss or drizzle it over the salad, the chicken and other ingredients soak up a lot of dressing. Maybe the 2 full tablespoons of salt is too much when doubled, especially if you’re using regular table salt. If you want to start over, I would still double everything except I would only add 1 teaspoon of salt and then taste it and add more if you want then. When you assemble the salad, it will be nice if you can toss the dressing in with everything, at least with the chicken and then have extra for passing or leftovers for another use. I hope this helps you. I’ve made this recipe multiple times (never doubled though) and it’s always a huge hit. Let me know how it goes for you.
Your recipe actually calls for a teaspoon–NOT A TABLESPOON–of salt so in doubling that, I used 2 TEASPOONS the first time. But since this was definitely TOO MUCH! I’ll try it again and probably give it the taste test before adding any additional salt at all. (I used Kosher salt the first time–not table salt.) I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks again.
Oh gosh, sorry about that. I meant to type teaspoon, not tablespoon :. Yes, good idea- don’t add any until you taste it.
Kevin | Keviniscooking says
Boy are we two peas in a pod! This is so similar to mine and we eat it quite often. Who needs Summer to enjoy this one. The photos are beautiful Sally. Hope this finds you well. 🙂
Thank you, my dear, I too feel like we are kindred spirits. This recipe is a regular around my house as well. Hope you’re staying nice and cool.