Chinese Chicken Salad
Chinese Chicken Salad is hearty with shredded chicken and a colorful mix of fresh vegetables. With a creamy peanut butter dressing, this is one of our favorite ways to enjoy an Asian salad!
When it comes to go-to salad recipes for our family, this is one of them. We rely on this Chinese Chicken Salad for toting along to picnics in the summertime and for packing in lunch bags during the school year.
Every single one of us finds the Chinese chicken salad dressing in this salad irresistible. With a mixture of peanut butter and soy sauce at the base, plus fresh ginger and garlic, it’s pretty amazing…I have to admit.
I also especially like that this salad is packed with lean chicken protein and a colorful array of fresh vegetables. It makes me feel good to serve this hearty salad to my family!
Here are a few more salads that work great for picnics and lunch bags: We never, ever tire of this Sun Dried Tomato Pasta. This Sweet Onion Coleslaw Dressing makes for a super easy and tasty cold salad. And our girls absolutely adore finding these Individual Caprese Pasta Salads in their school lunch bags!
I’ve been making this Asian chicken salad for a great number of years. And now that our girls are older and super capable in the kitchen, they are usually the ones who dictate when we make it, and how we make it.
And every time, this Chinese chicken salad recipe looks just a little bit different…
How to make Chinese Chicken Salad
Our girls prefer this salad be made with green beans and sugar snap peas. I know the snow pea pods would lend a bit more of a truer ethnic feel for this Asian salad, but we love the sugar snap peas, full and plump. I also like to change it up with asparagus in lieu of green beans, but that never goes over well with Hatti and Tessa!
Sometimes I add an extra sweet bell pepper, using a colorful mix of one red, one green, and one yellow. Other times I just feel like a couple of red ones. And shelled edamame beans are a lovely addition, too.
Sometimes we use all toasted white sesame seeds, and other times I like to toss in some black ones for their pretty color contrast.
There’s just so much you can do to tailor this salad to whatever you have on hand, or whatever you are craving.
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for the dressing:
- 3/4 c. vegetable oil
- 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 c. soy sauce
- 2 T. toasted sesame oil
- 3 T. honey
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tsp. minced fresh ginger (add a bit more if you really like ginger!)
- 1 T. toasted white sesame seeds
- 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
for the salad:
- 6 large chicken breasts
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. green beans, asparagus, and/or sugar snap peas – ends removed, cut into 1″ to 2″ pieces
- 2 sweet bell peppers – red, green, yellow, or orange – cored, seeded, and sliced into 1″ to 2″ pieces
- 1 10-oz. bag shredded carrots, or a couple peeled carrots that are thinly sliced
- 4 green onions (white and green parts), sliced thinly on the diagonal
- 1 T. toasted white sesame seeds (or use black sesame seeds for a more striking contrast)
- For the dressing: Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.
- For the salad: Prepare the chicken. Depending on what I’m in the mood for, I’ll either roast or grill the chicken breasts. Whatever you choose to do, first rub some olive oil onto the chicken breasts and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. If roasting, place the chicken on a large rimmed pan covered in foil (easy clean-up!) and place in a 350° F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until chicken is just cooked through. If grilling, place on a medium-high grill and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is done. Set aside until cool enough to handle, and then shred the chicken by using two forks to pull apart into bite-sized pieces.
- While the chicken is cooking, blanch the green beans, asparagus and/or sugar snap peas in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until just crisp-tender. Immediately place them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain.
- If you don’t have toasted sesame seeds on hand, toast some while the chicken is cooking. Do this by placing the 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds for both the dressing and the salad into a dry saute pan. Saute over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are nicely browned and fragrant. Shake the pan every minute or two, to prevent burning. Remove sesame seeds to a plate to cool.
- Combine shredded chicken, green beans, peppers, and shredded carrots in a large bowl. Pour prepared salad dressing over the top. Gently fold to combine. Sprinkle the green onions and remaining tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds over the top and season to taste. Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper over the top. I prefer to serve it cold, but it’s also just fine at room temperature.
adapted quite a bit from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 396Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 747mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 24g
Here are a few more salads I’d like to try. They look great for picnics and lunch bags! I’m ALWAYS up for shrimp, so this Shrimp Pasta Salad from Wine & Glue looks fabulous to me. The flavors in this Greek Pasta Salad from Noble Pig are calling my name. And all the yes to this Cranberry Chicken Salad from Fifteen Spatulas!
This post was previously published in 2012. Photographs and some of the text were updated in 2018.
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