Chinese Chicken Salad is a new lunchtime favorite in our house, and I think you’ll see why the first time you try it!
What Goes in This Chinese Chicken Salad?
The crunchy napa cabbage, carrots and snap peas play so well with the tender chicken and crunchy cashews. Plus, the simple orange ginger dressing adds a fresh pop of flavor that brings it all together. Plus, it’s gluten-free and paleo.
Is Chinese Chicken Salad Healthy?
Not only does this salad taste incredible, it’s loaded with nutrients. Chinese cabbage is rich in potassium and Vitamins A and C. The chicken adds a dense source of protein, and the ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory food. Those are just a few of the highlights.
I first made this Chinese Chicken Salad recipe last month when my mother-in-law was in town visiting us from Scotland. As it happened, the weather was super hot for September here in San Diego – 100 degrees!
Instead of turning to slow cooked, hearty fall favorites, I put together some of my favorite salads…because who wants to fire up the oven when it’s that hot?!
We loved it so much that I think we ate three batches of this salad over the week. Safe to say it was an instant hit.
How to Modify This Recipe
There’s about a bazillion ways you can customize this Chinese Chicken Salad to suit your liking.
- Swap out any of the veggies you’d like for what’s on hand. No napa cabbage around? Just use regular green cabbage.
- Switch snap peas for snow peas. (Yes, these are okay on a paleo-style plan because you can eat the peas inside raw unlike other legumes. And truthfully, they’re more green fleshy pod than anything else.)
- Don’t like cashews? Use any other nut you like in this Chinese Chicken Salad. The nuts add a little bit more crunch.
- You could always leave out the chicken to make this a meatless salad.
- Need to put it together even faster? Skip poaching the chicken yourself and add shredded meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken. No shame in that!
How to Poach Chicken Breasts
If you do opt to poach the chicken breasts yourself, follow this simple method:
- Lay the chicken breasts in a large, high-sided skillet or Dutch oven. They should be flat and in one layer.
- Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
- Fill the skillet with water until it covers the chicken completely.
- Cover the pan, and bring the water to a boil. Then, reduce the heat so the water is gently simmering.
- Poach the chicken for about 15 minutes or until the meat is completely cooked through.
- Cool the chicken on a plate, then dice, shred, cube, etc.
You can definitely meal prep this salad for your work week ahead. If you opt for that, don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to eat. The veggies will stay crisp that way.
Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe
This Chinese Chicken Salad makes an easy pack-ahead lunch, and it's loaded with crispy veggies, healthy protein, and tasty dressing.
- 1 lb chicken breasts poached (see method above), then cubed
- 1/2 medium napa or Chinese cabbage sliced thinly
- 2 medium carrots julienned
- 3 green onions white and light green parts only, sliced thinly
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- 1 cup snap peas halved
- 6 tbsp orange juice you can always buy a couple oranges and squeeze the juice out
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- Sea salt & black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup cashews roughly chopped
- In a very large bowl, combine the poached chicken, cabbage, carrots, green onions, bean sprouts, and snap peas. Toss the ingredients to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, olive oil, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and ginger. Gently stir until mixed, then pour over the salad. Toss to coat.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with cashews.