This Chinese Chicken Salad is loaded with fresh lettuce, cabbage, carrots, sweet mandarin oranges, crunchy almonds and cilantro all tossed together with a delicious ginger-sesame vinaigrette!

This Chinese Chicken Salad is loaded with fresh lettuce, cabbage, carrots, sweet mandarin oranges, crunchy almonds and cilantro all tossed together with a delicious ginger-sesame vinaigrette!

Let’s talk about my all-time FAVORITE salad, shall we?  This crunchy and delicious Chinese chicken salad recipe was inspired by ALL the salads I love to order anytime we go out to restaurants.  If you’ve ever had Cheesecake Factory’s Chinese chicken salad then you know exactly what I mean…DELISH.  This salad is loaded with all of your favorites and the Asian salad dressing makes everything taste that much better!

Why You’ll Love This

  • This salad is a crowd favorite and super simple to make in just 15 minutes!
  • Can easily be prepped ahead of time for quick assembly.
  • Tastes way better (and cheaper) than ordering take-out, but a much healthier option. 
  • Perfect for lunches or even dinner as this salad is super filling, but it works great as a side dish too!
This Chinese Chicken Salad is loaded with fresh lettuce, cabbage, carrots, sweet mandarin oranges, crunchy almonds and cilantro all tossed together with a delicious ginger-sesame vinaigrette!

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • chicken – I love making this with rotisserie chicken because it’s quick, easy and SO flavorful!  You could also use cubed chicken breasts, leftover shredded chicken or even canned chicken would work. 
  • romaine lettuce – crunchy romaine lettuce is my absolute fav, but you could also use iceberg lettuce or just extra cabbage.
  • cabbage – I like to use a mix of napa cabbage and red cabbage, but you could use regular cabbage or just stick with all lettuce.
  • carrots – I always julienne my carrots for salads, but you could also grate them or even purchase store-bought matchstick carrots which always makes things easier!
  • mandarin oranges – I usually just use canned mandarin oranges (make sure they’re in 100% juice), but you could also just cut up some fresh oranges
  • cilantro and green onions
  • almonds – I used sliced almonds in this recipe for that added crunch, but you could use cashews or peanuts instead if you prefer!

Use your crock pot or Instant Pot to make the most flavorful, fall-apart shredded chicken!  Simply throw your chicken breasts into the pot, add 1/2 cup chicken broth along with some salt and pepper, then turn it on!

Ingredients for Ginger-Sesame Dressing

  • olive oil – I like to use a good olive oil that doesn’t have to be expensive, just make sure it’s cold-pressed and organic for the most flavor (in my opinion). Avocado oil or vegetable oil would work as well.
  • sesame oil – adds a delicious nutty flavor to the dressing.
  • soy sauce – I always use low-sodium soy sauce as I find that regular soy sauce can make this dressing too salty. You could also swap the soy sauce with tamari or coconut aminos to make this gluten-free or paleo.
  • rice vinegar – this adds a nice tangy flavor and some zip to the salad. You could also use apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar.
  • honey – adds a little sweetness to the dressing without using refined sugars.  You could also swap the honey with maple syrup if you don’t have honey on hand.
  • garlic + ginger – fresh garlic and fresh ginger are definitely best!
This Chinese Chicken Salad is loaded with fresh lettuce, cabbage, carrots, sweet mandarin oranges, crunchy almonds and cilantro all tossed together with a delicious ginger-sesame vinaigrette!

How to Make Ginger-Sesame Dressing

You’ve probably seen this recipe several times on my blog and that’s because this dressing is an absolute staple in our home!  It’s a delicious blend of soy sauce, garlic, fresh ginger, honey, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and olive oil.  I like to stick to lower sodium soy sauce as I personally think the regular one is too salty, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.  You could also swap the soy sauce with coconut aminos or tamari if keeping this gluten-free or paleo.

This ginger-sesame dressing will last about a week in your fridge so feel free to make this ahead of time!  I always make a big batch of the dressing and just store it in my fridge to use anytime I’m in the mood for this salad.  Just make sure to dress the salad right before eating so your veggies stay crisp and fresh.

Make a little extra ginger-sesame dressing to marinate your chicken with for even more flavor in this salad!

Can this Salad be Prepped in Advance?

Absolutely!  In fact I love prepping everything in advance so that I can easily throw this salad together for an easy lunch or as a delicious side dish with my dinner.  In order for the lettuce and cabbage to stay fresh and prevent wilting, I like to store everything in separate containers until I’m ready to assemble and toss together.

  • Store the Mandaran oranges in a sealed container in the fridge and pre-slice the carrots and green onions, storing them in a sealed baggy or container.
  • Shred some cooked rotisserie chicken (or use any other leftover chicken you may have on hand) and store separately in the fridge.
  • Blend together the ingredients for the sesame ginger dressing and store in a sealed mason jar in the fridge.  Just before serving, let the dressing sit at room temp for about 10 minutes to let the oil become liquid again and give the dressing a good shake or whisk to mix everything together.  The Chinese chicken salad dressing will last up to a week in the fridge.
This Chinese Chicken Salad is loaded with fresh lettuce, cabbage, carrots, sweet mandarin oranges, crunchy almonds and cilantro all tossed together with a delicious ginger-sesame vinaigrette!

Other Additions

  • Add in more veggies such as red bell pepper strips, snap peas, slices of cucumber, shredded zucchini or even asparagus.
  • Switch up the protein by using shrimp, salmon or even ground pork, turkey or chicken.
  • Go meatless by using tofu (highly recommend marinating it in some dressing!) or leaving the protein out of this salad all together.
  • Make this a more filling salad by adding your favorite noodles such as soba noodles, ramen noodles or even lo mein.

Prepping and Storage

This Asian chicken salad will last up to 2 to 3 days stored in a sealed, airtight container in the fridge.

How to Adjust this Salad for Your Diet

  • Gluten-Free – just swap the soy sauce for tamari or coconut aminos
  • Nut-Free – skip the almonds and add a good crunch with some wonton strips or chow mein noodles
  • Paleo – swap the soy sauce for coconut aminos
  • Keto/Low Carb – swap the honey with Swerve sweetener (or any other keto sweetener you prefer) and omit the mandarin oranges
  • Whole 30 – swap the soy sauce for coconut aminos and instead of honey, try adding a little juice from the mandarin oranges to sweeten!

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Hope you all enjoy this Chinese Chicken Salad and if you love this as much as we do, please leave me ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram using the hashtag #eatyourselfskinny! I love seeing all your delicious recreations!

4.87 from 15 votes

Chinese Chicken Salad

This Chinese Chicken Salad is loaded with fresh lettuce, cabbage, carrots, sweet mandarin oranges, crunchy almonds and cilantro all tossed together with a delicious ginger-sesame vinaigrette!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken (I used rotisserie)
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, thinly chopped
  • 2 cups napa cabbage, thinly chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned or shredded
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds (or cashews)
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, optional

For the Ginger-Sesame Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
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Instructions 

  • To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small jar with a sealed lid and shake well until combined. I also use this jar to store any extra dressing to use for the week.
  • To make the salad, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.
  • Drizzle salad with ginger-sesame dressing and mix until fully coated. Garnish with sesame seeds, serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.9g | Protein: 15.7g | Fat: 17.2g | Saturated Fat: 3.1g | Sodium: 225mg | Fiber: 3.6g | Sugar: 12.8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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As a self-proclaimed foodie and fitness enthusiast, I have a passion for cooking and a huge desire to show that living a healthy lifestyle can actually be easy and fun!  Feel free to use the meal guide above to find your new favorite meal ideas or the dietary guides to the right to narrow things down even more!

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14 Comments

  1. Colleen says:

    5 stars
    My husband and I love this salad recipe. It’s our favorite dinner salad. I’ll cut up enough veggies to last 2-3 days. I keep the oranges, nuts, seeds and dressing separate then assemble when we are ready to eat. I love the flavor of sesame, so I add a little more sesame oil to the dressing. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!

  2. Melissa Hagemann says:

    5 stars
    Roasted a duck , and was looking for a recipe for the meat. Since health is a priority in this house, your recipe pulled me in. Dressing ingredients are perfect. Salad ingredients are colorful and delicious. 5 star!