A delicious Chinese chicken salad that you can make in advance and refrigerate. I like to make a big batch and enjoy it over a few days.
I’m really enjoying this salad lately. It is tasty and filling. It’s also very easy to make, and it uses up any leftover chicken you might have.
Despite the small amount of honey in the sesame dressing, this salad is quite low in carbs. And since I don’t add crunchy noodles (the cabbage provides plenty of crunch), it’s also gluten-free (provided you use a soy sauce alternative).
The ingredients you’ll need
Here’s an overview of what you’ll need to make this Chinese chicken salad. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below:
Shredded cooked chicken: I tend to use pre-cooked baked chicken breasts. You can also use rotisserie chicken. Just make sure to remove the skin.
Shredded raw cabbage: Adds a wonderful crunch to the salad.
Sliced green onions: I use only the green parts. They add both color and flavor.
For the sesame dressing:
Soy sauce: I use reduced-sodium soy sauce in most of my recipes. I find that traditional soy sauce is too salty. Obviously, you can also use a gluten-free alternative.
Sesame oil: I like using toasted sesame oil – it’s so flavorful!
Rice vinegar: If you don’t have any on hand, it’s OK to use white wine vinegar instead. I don’t recommend using plain distilled vinegar, though. It’s too sour, in my opinion.
Honey: Just one tablespoon to balance out the other flavors.
Minced garlic and ginger: You can mince them by yourself, or be lazy like me and use the stuff that comes in a jar. I don’t recommend subbing powders, though – they’re not as flavorful.
Red pepper flakes: They don’t make the salad truly spicy – they just add an extra layer of flavor.
How to make Chinese chicken salad
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. In a large bowl, toss together the shredded chicken, shredded cabbage, and sliced green onions.
2. In a small jar, mix the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss to coat.
3. Cover and refrigerate for one hour to allow the flavor to meld. Toss again before serving.
Keeping it low-carb and gluten-free
Some recipes add canned mandarin oranges to this type of salad. I prefer not to, simply because I’m not fond of fruit in savory salads. I also don’t add grapes to my chicken salad.
You can definitely skip the crunchy noodles and keep this salad lower in carbs and gluten-free (assuming you use a soy sauce alternative). The cabbage provides plenty of crunch. And if you’d like, you can add 1/4 cup of slivered almonds.
Despite the honey in the dressing, this salad is low-carb. A BIG bowl of it has only 9 grams of net carbs. You could also use a low carb honey substitute if you wish. But real honey tastes so good, and the small amount used here is really worth it, in my opinion.
How to serve Chinese chicken salad?
This is a main-course salad. It has chicken and vegetables and it’s very substantial and filling. It’s the perfect lunch, of course. But I also like to serve it for dinner, especially in the summer when I don’t feel like cooking.
There’s no need to serve this salad with sides. Just serve a bowl of it for a tasty, satisfying meal.
Can you keep the leftovers?
Yes! You can keep them for 3-4 days in the fridge, in an airtight container. I like to make a big batch of this tasty salad and then enjoy it over the course of a few days.
One of the best things about Chinese chicken salad is that you can make it in advance and refrigerate. In fact, it tastes better as the flavors are allowed to meld, so it’s best to make it a few hours before you plan on serving it.
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Chinese Chicken Salad
- 3 large cooked chicken breasts (1.5 lb.)
- 1 lb. shredded cabbage (6 cups; 1/2 medium head)
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions, green part only (2 oz)
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (or use a gluten-free alternative and add salt as needed)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Use your hands to shred the chicken breasts. Place the chicken pieces in a very large mixing bowl.
- Add the shredded cabbage and the green onions and toss together.
- In a small jar, add the dressing ingredients. Shake well to mix. Pour over the salad and toss to coat (I use my hands to ensure everything is well-coated).
- Cover and refrigerate for one hour to allow the flavors to meld. Toss again before serving.