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Make a Chinese chicken salad in 20 minutes that pops with flavor with a perfectly balanced dressing. This ultra-crunchy year-round main course salad epitomizes the saying “Eat The Rainbow,” and with its myriad of veggies and tender chicken, it’s absolutely delicious. The Asian dressing ingredients are available at most grocery stores, so there’s no need to feel intimidated.

A bowl of Chinese chicken salad with shredded chicken, vegetables, cilantro, and sliced almonds, garnished with lime wedges and accompanied by wooden chopsticks.

Make Chinese chicken salad with a light dressing as an easy and healthy midweek dinner or lunch.

Do you love Asian-inspired food? If yes, then you’ve got to check out these Panda Express recipes including black pepper chicken – it’s SO good. Don’t miss out on this Asian zoodle salad either.

A colorful bowl of fresh Asian-inspired Chinese chicken salad surrounded by fresh lime, chili pepper, and chopsticks on a white surface.

Why You’ll Love It

A quick midweek meal: Using shredded leftover chicken and broccoli slaw package reduces prep time.
Customizable: You can easily customize the flavors. If you don’t like certain ingredients, simply leave them out.
Great for meal prep: If you plan to make this recipe for meal prepping, prepare and store the salad and dressing separately in the fridge. This way, you can eat the salad throughout the week without it getting soggy.
Light and healthy: This salad is bulked up with fiber-loaded veggies and will leave you feeling satisfied but not stuffed.

A bowl of Chinese chicken salad with vegetables, garnished with cilantro and sliced almonds, accompanied by chopsticks, lime halves, a red chili pepper, and additional salad on a light-colored surface.

Ingredients for Chinese Chicken Salad

A complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

Salad Ingredients

Broccoli slaw (broccoli, carrots, red cabbage coleslaw mix): The broccoli slaw adds a crunchy texture and a mix of flavors to the salad. It’s rich in vitamins and adds a colorful element to the dish.
Shredded carrots: Broccoli slaw usually has carrots in it, but I like adding extra shredded carrots to this salad for volume and crunch.
Shredded chicken: To make it easy, you can use ready-made grilled, poached, or rotisserie chicken.
Sliced almonds: Switch these with nuts if you like, but do include nuts for crunch.
Cilantro: Cilantro adds a bright, citrusy flavor and a hint of freshness to the salad. I like to use the leaves and stalks for extra flavor and texture.

Top-down view of various ingredients neatly arranged on a marble surface, showcasing all the essentials for an Asian-inspired  Chinese chicken salad.

Salad Dressing Ingredients

Soy sauce: Soy sauce is the base of the dressing, adding a savory, umami flavor and a salty kick. Choose a low-sodium soy sauce if you’re watching your salt intake.
Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar provides a tangy acidity to balance the richness of the other ingredients.
Olive oil: It helps emulsify the ingredients and provides a healthy source of monounsaturated fats. You can also use another vegetable oil, like avocado oil, in this Chinese chicken salad.
Sesame oil: Sesame oil contributes a rich, nutty aroma and a distinctive flavor to the dressing. It’s best used in moderation due to its potent taste and adds an authentic Asian flair to the dish.
Smooth peanut butter: This helps thicken the dressing and yummy, rich flavor. You can substitute with almond butter or tahini for a similar creamy texture.

Top view of a prep scene for Chinese chicken salad featuring a whisk in a cup of sauce, surrounded by shredded chicken, halved lime, bell peppers, cilantro, green onions, and sliced almonds on a marble countertop.

How To Make Chinese Chicken Salad

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Build the salad base: Mix together the broccoli slaw with shredded green cabbage, cooked chicken, carrots, red bell pepper, cucumbers, and almonds in a large bowl. Set it aside.
Make the salad dressing: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if you need to.
Dress the salad: Pour the dressing over it and garnish it with green onions and cilantro. Toss everything together lightly to combine. Serve immediately.

A bowl of colorful Chinese chicken salad with chopsticks on the side.

Substitutions and Variations

Nuts: Play around and try switching almonds for walnuts, cashews, pine nuts, or peanuts. Sesame seeds are great too. Crunchy chow mein noodles add a nice crunch if you aren’t using nuts.
Fruits & vegetables: Fold in canned mandarin oranges, sliced radishes, napa or purple cabbage, red onion as well as green onions, iceberg or iceberg lettuce, edamame, or bean sprouts.
Protein: Use shredded turkey instead, chicken thighs, or pork.
Vegetarian: Leave out the chicken and just enjoy the veggies. You can also try switching it with tofu, tempeh, or your favorite plant-based protein.
Bulked version: Stir in chow mein noodles, ramen noodles, or crispy wonton strips (which you find in the Wolfgang Puck salad).
Honey: Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of honey as a substitute for the brown sugar.

A close-up of a bowl of Chinese chicken salad containing shredded chicken, zucchini, carrots, cilantro, and sliced almonds, garnished with fresh cilantro. Red chili peppers and a halved lime are beside the bowl.

Serving Suggestions

Appetizer: Start out with cute heart-shaped pork pot stickers. These make a fun-filled start to the meal. My easy pink beetroot hummus with a side of crackers is another colorful dish if you want to stick with the rainbow theme.
Main: If you serve Chinese chicken salad as a main, try butter shrimp and juicy pan-seared pork chops as the hero main. This easy General Tso shrimp stir fry is a perfect follow-on, too.
Dessert: Finish the meal off with a no-bake pineapple lush dessert.

A bowl of Asian-inspired chicken salad with a dressing bowl and lime wedges in the background.

How To Store Chicken Salad

Store: If you plan to store the salad and dressing separately, this salad will stay fresh for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. If you dress the salad, I recommend you store it for 2 days max. The sesame ginger dressing will make the salad soggy if sitting in it too long. If you have any leftover dressing, that will keep fresh for up to 1 week in the fridge.
Freeze: This salad is not a good recipe for freezing.

Making a Chinese chicken salad with shredded chicken, salad mix, lime, bell peppers, peanut butter, cilantro, green onions, and sliced almonds on a marble surface.

Top Tips

Prep your ingredients ahead: Prepare all your ingredients in advance, including shredding the chicken, slicing the vegetables, and toasting the almonds. This salad is a midweek convenient meal so have everything ready to go.
Keep it crunchy: Chinese chicken salad is all about texture, so use vegetables that are crisp. Avoid over-dressing the salad, as this can lead to soggy ingredients.
Balance flavors: Taste and adjust the dressing to get the perfect balance. Think sweet, salty, savory all at once.
Use high-quality ingredients: Use fresh, high-quality ingredients whenever possible. Look for crisp, vibrant vegetables and steer clear of anything remotely wilted.

A plate of a dinner chicken salad  placed in front of a halved lime and red chili pepper. A white bowl containing more dinner salad is in the background.

Chinese Chicken Salad FAQs

Check out these key takeaways from this recipe post:

Can I use store-bought dressing for Chinese chicken salad?

While homemade dressing is best for the freshest flavor, store-bought Asian-style dressings are a good alternative.

How do I keep the vegetables crisp in Chinese chicken salad?

To keep the vegetables crisp, avoid overdressing the salad and refrigerate it until serving.

How can I make Chinese chicken salad spicy?

Add some heat to your Chinese chicken salad, including sliced chili peppers, chili flakes, or a dash of sriracha in the dressing. Adjust the amount according to your desired level of spiciness.

A vibrant bowl of Chinese chicken salad with chopsticks resting on the bowl.

Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

5 from 3 votes

Chinese Chicken Salad

By: Bella Bucchiotti
Make Chinese chicken salad with a light dressing as an easy and healthy midweek dinner or lunch.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

For the Salad:

  • 3 Cups broccoli slaw, broccoli, carrots, red cabbage mix
  • ½ Cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into strips
  • 2 Cups chicken, shredded
  • 1 Cup almonds, sliced
  • 4 green onions, sliced, for topping
  • ½ Cup cilantro, fresh chopped, for garnish

For The Dressing:

  • ½ Cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice, fresh
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 red chili pepper, chopped, optional
  • 1 Teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic, ground
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons peanut butter, creamy
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • black pepper, freshly cracked, to taste

Instructions 

  • Combine the broccoli slaw, carrots, bell pepper, cucumbers, chicken, and almonds in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad, and garnish with green onions and cilantro. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

Notes

Prep your ingredients ahead: Prepare all your ingredients in advance, including shredding the chicken, slicing the vegetables, and toasting the almonds. This salad is a midweek convenient meal so have everything ready to go.
Keep it crunchy: Chinese chicken salad is all about texture, so use vegetables that are crisp. Avoid over-dressing the salad, as this can lead to soggy ingredients.
Balance flavors: Taste and adjust the dressing to get the perfect balance. Think sweet, salty, savory all at once.
Use high-quality ingredients: Use fresh, high-quality ingredients whenever possible. Look for crisp, vibrant vegetables and steer clear of anything remotely wilted.

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 1139mg | Potassium: 671mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2934IU | Vitamin C: 95mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 3mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

This 20-minute Chinese chicken salad is a no-brainer as a mid-week meal. It’s a year-round main course salad that you can eat on repeat. Make it with your favorite veggies, keep a batch in the fridge, and eat it all week long.

Other Salad Recipes To Try 

 

Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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