Asian chicken salad is crisp, refreshing, satisfying, and delicious! It's very simple to make and is perfect as a side dish or a meal. Loaded with ingredients like napa cabbage, tender chicken, toasted almonds, snow peas, and coated with a tasty sesame soy dressing, it's a salad that is sure to become a favorite!
We all need more salads that we can say we love to eat and this is one of them!
Fresh, crisp, delicious, and satisfying, this Asian chicken salad is perfect as a side or main and ticks all texture and flavor boxes!
How To Make the Salad
For the dressing you'll need:
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Neutral-flavored oil
- Rice vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Salt and pepper
Toasting sesame seeds: You can buy toasted sesame seeds, but I prefer to toast them myself because they taste more fresh and have a nutty taste that adds nicely to the flavor of the dressing.
Heat sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until they turn a golden brown, being careful that they don't burn.
Combine the cooled toasted sesame seeds with the remaining dressing ingredients in a measuring cup or bowl and whisk well to blend.
Refrigerate the dressing for at least 30 minutes before using.
For the salad, you'll need:
- Finely cut napa cabbage
- Cooked chicken breast (poached or grilled), finely chopped
- Snow peas, flash cooked and sliced
- Chopped green onions
- Toasted sliced almonds
Flash cooking the snow peas: Flash cooking the snow peas for half a minute brings the vibrant green color in them and it also takes a bit of the rawness away. All you need is to submerge the snow peas in hot boiling water for 30 seconds!
It is very important to only cook them for about 30 seconds and immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water so that the snow peas retain some crispness and crunch to them. Any longer and they will become soggy.
Combining All the Ingredients
Combine the napa cabbage, chicken, and snow peas in a large mixing bowl. Add about ¾ of each of the green onions and sliced almonds, saving the remaining ¼ of each to sprinkle on top of the salad before serving.
Add all the dressing to the bowl and mix all the ingredients. Transfer to a salad bowl and top with the remaining green onions, sliced almonds, and extra toasted sesame seeds and enjoy!
Commonly Asked Questions
Do I have to use poached chicken?
While I like using poached chicken for this recipe because it's really easy to make, grilled chicken or the meat from a roast chicken or rotisserie chicken also work perfectly for this salad.
What if I am vegetarian?
Substitute the chicken with a variety of mushrooms!
What can I substitute for the napa cabbage?
If you can't find napa cabbage, use regular western cabbage or romaine lettuce.
Do I have to toast the sesame seeds and almond slices?
You do not have to, but toasting the sesame seeds and almond slices them gives them a nice flavor. Toasted almonds are also more crisp and lends a nice crunch to the salad.
Looking For More Tasty Salads?
This Asian chicken salad is sure to be a hit and a favorite. Fresh, crisp, substantial, and loaded with textures and flavors, this is definitely a winner that falls easily into the No Boring Salads category!
Asian Chicken Salad
- 3-4 cups shredded napa cabbage
- 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
- 75 grams snow peas
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds, toasted and divided
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- Mandarin orange wedges
- Julienned bell peppers
- Grated carrot
- Dried cranberries
- Chopped nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
- Add the sesame seeds to a small dry skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Toast the sesame seeds, stirring every 1-2 minutes until they are golden brown. Be careful that they do not burn. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a measuring cup or bowl, combine the neutral-flavored oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and ¾ of the toasted sesame seeds. Whisk well to combine.
- Season salt and pepper to taste.
Flash-cooking and Preparing the Snow Peas:
- Remove the tips and strings from the snow peas.
- Prepare a bowl with cold water and ice and set aside.
- Place snow peas in a heat safe bowl and pour in hot just-boiled water, making sure snow peas are submerged.
- Remove the snow peas with a slotted spoon after 30 seconds and transfer immediately to the ice water.
- Cut cooled snow peas into strips.
Preparing the Salad:
- In a large bowl, add the shredded napa cabbage, shredded chicken, snow pea strips, ¾ of the chopped green onions, ¾ of the toasted sliced almonds, and shredded carrot (if using).
- Pour all the dressing into the bowl and toss with the salad ingredients.
- Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and top with the remaining chopped green onions and almond slices. Top with more toasted sesame seeds, if desired.
- Serve immediately.
- You can buy toasted sesame seeds to use in the dressing if you do not want to toast your own.
- Use GF soy sauce, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos as a gluten-free substitute for the soy sauce.
- Regular western cabbage or romaine lettuce can be used instead of napa cabbage.
- Use poached or grilled chicken breast, or leftover meat from roast chicken is also good.
- For a vegetarian option, substitute the chicken with a variety of mushrooms.
- Flash-cooking the snow peas is not necessary, but does make the peas look more green and softens them enough while also retaining some crispness.
- Customize the salad with other ingredients like grated carrots, julienned bell peppers, cucumbers, Mandarin orange wedges, dried cranberries, nuts, etc.
- Salad tastes best if eaten right away; leftovers will not taste as good.