Chinese chicken salad with crunchy fresh vegetables and peanuts and a punchy dressing. This is the perfect light summer meal and makes a great lunch.
Let’s face it, this Chinese chicken salad is most definitely not an authentic Chinese recipe but it’s damn delicious and a hit with everyone I serve it to. The crunch of the vegetables and peanuts adds loads of texture but the real star of the show is the dressing. It’s simple but adds so much flavor to the finished salad.
Any crunchy vegetables will work in this Chinese chicken salad recipe. Of course cabbage and carrots are a good base to work from but feel free to add bean sprouts, spinach, kale, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, spring onion/green onion and even beetroot. When I make this for a quick lunch, I like using a bag of store-bought slaw mix and the one I like most has julienned beetroot and it’s delicious. You want approximately 6 cups of shredded/julienned vegetables to serve 4 people so go ahead and customise the amounts you add of each vegetable to your own preference. Shredded chicken, toasted peanuts and fresh cilantro/coriander add some healthy protein, fat and an extra boost of flavor.
- Cabbage. Any cabbage will work here. White cabbage, red cabbage, Napa Cabbage/Chinese cabbage or baby cabbage.
- Other vegetables you can add to slaw: Bell peppers, bean sprouts, spring onion/green onion, beetroot, spinach, kale, sugar snap peas.
- Chicken. This recipe is a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken. Rotisserie chicken works well too. If you’d prefer to keep this recipe vegetarian, leave out the chicken or replace with chickpeas.
- Peanuts. Cashews or almonds can be used instead.
For the sesame dressing:
- Oil. I used canola oil but avocado oil will also work.
- Soy sauce. Use Tamari or coconut aminos if you’d prefer to keep this recipe gluten free or low carb.
- Sesame oil.
- Lemon/lime juice. Rice vinegar can be substituted.
- Fresh ginger.
- Chilli. (optional)
How to make Chinese chicken salad
- Prepare the vegetables: If using whole vegetables, use a sharp knife and shred the cabbage thinly. Peel the carrots then julienne and do the same with any other vegetables you are using.
- Assemble the salad: Combine the vegetables, shredded chicken and peanuts in a large mixing bowl. Toasting the peanuts in a hot pan will bring the most out of the peanuts but this is an optional step. At this stage the salad can be covered and refrigerated overnight. It’s also a great idea to portion the salad into airtight containers to meal prep a healthy lunch for the week.
- Make the dressing: In a jar or small bowl, combine the salad dressing ingredients and shake/mix well. Right before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Easy chicken salad recipes
Chinese chicken salad
for the salad
- 3 cups cabbage shredded
- 2 large carrots peeled and julienned
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2-3 cups vegetables shredded (bell peppers, sugar snap peas, spinach, etc)
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- 1 cup salted peanuts
- 4-6 spring onions sliced
- handful fresh coriander leaves
for the dressing
- 4 tbsp soy sauce Use Tamari if you are gluten-free
- 3 tbsp honey optional
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 red chilli finely chopped (optional)
- For the salad, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
- To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together, adjusting the seasoning as you prefer.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, right before serving, toss to combine and serve immediately.