This Asian chicken salad features crispy breaded chicken tossed with crisp vegetables and a creamy dressing.
This salad is a perfect dish to eat for lunch or a light dinner, featuring a mix of crispy fresh vegetables and chicken tenders, all tossed in a flavorful Asian-style dressing. I was inspired to create this recipe after consistently ordering the famous Applebee’s salad a little too often.
By making it myself, it’s not only cheaper, but I know exactly what goes into it..and it tastes so much better, too!
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Healthy and nutritious. Made with a bunch of fresh vegetables and low-fat protein, this salad is packed with nutrients.
- A perfect make-ahead salad. Make a big batch of this salad and keep the dressing separate. Mix and enjoy a big bowl of it for lunch or dinner throughout the week.
- Loaded with flavors and textures. My family loves this salad because it’s loaded with tons of fun textures (crispy noodles, crisp vegetables, crispy chicken) and full of umami-forward flavors.
This Asian salad features a mix of chicken and crunchy vegetables all tossed in a delicious almond butter dressing. Here’s everything you need to make it.
- Chicken tenders. I made my own crispy chicken tenders (my chicken katsu recipe but with tenders instead of breast meat) but any frozen chicken tenders work too.
- Chopped vegetables. Use a mixture of green cabbage, carrots, iceberg lettuce, and greens. These vegetables provide a crunchy base for the salad.
- Almonds. Slivered almonds for more crunch and nutty flavor.
- Sesame seeds. A staple ingredient in Asian-style cooking. Sesame seeds add a mild sweetness and nutty flavor to dishes along with some crunch.
- Crispy noodles (optional). If you happen to have these at home, fry one and add it to the salad for extra flavor and crispiness. Avoid this ingredient if your goal is to keep this salad as healthy as possible.
For the Asian chicken salad dressing:
- Almond butter.To provide a creamy base for the dressing.
- Chilli sauce. To add some heat. Add more or less of this sauce depending on your preferences.
- Soy sauce. To add a savory and salty flavor to the sauce. You can use tamari or liquid aminos for a gluten-free option.
- Ketchup. Adds a punch of sweetness.
- Cayenne pepper. For some heat. This is completely optional and I tend to only add this if I’m making it for myself.
- Water. To thin out the sauce.
How to make a Chinese chicken salad
What I love about this recipe is that it comes together very quickly. I often make this as a last minute potluck dish when I need something fast but impressive.
Step 1 – Cook the chicken. Season chicken tenders and grill or pan-fry them. Once cooked, slice the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
Step 2 – Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, mix all your dressing ingredients and mix well until fully combined. Add a tablespoon of water to the dressing, aiming for a pourable but thick consistency. Toss it over the salad.
Step 3- Assemble. Slice the chicken, add it on top of the salad, and sprinkle the slivered almonds and crispy noodles over the top.
- Use peanut butter. If you don’t have almond butter at home, use peanut butter to make the dressing. The peanut butter will provide a nutty and creamy base for the sauce while yielding a sweeter flavor.
- Add more veggies. Bell peppers, cucumbers, snap peas, and red cabbage will fit perfectly into this salad and add more vitamins and colors to it.
- Use other protein. I like the breaded chicken because it reminds me of both Panera’s and Applebees, but grilled or baked chicken works too. Even shredded leftover air fryer whole chicken or spatchcock chicken works.
Store the salad leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
If you are making the salad in advance, store the chopped vegetables, cooked chicken tenders, and dressing separately. Mix them all together right before serving the salad.
Stored in an airtight container or jar, the salad dressing keeps well for up to a week, refrigerated. You can use it to drizzle other salads too.
More delicious salad recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
Chicken salad has numerous variations. The one that is called Chinese chicken salad typically features shredded or sliced chicken, crunchy vegetables, and a dressing that contains Asian cooking staples.
Chinese chicken salad pairs well with various Asian dishes. You can serve it with noodles, spring rolls, dried rice, dumplings, etc.
Asian Chicken Salad
- 2 chicken tenders pre-cooked or homemade
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 2 tablespoon slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup crispy noodles optional
- Prepare your crispy chicken tenders as instructed. Slice into bite sized pieces and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Using a tablespoon, add water until a thick dressing is formed. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped veggies and mix well. Add half the dressing and mix through until all the veggies are coated. Add the chopped chicken and mix until fully combined.
- Serve in bowls and top with extra dressing, sesame seeds, and slivered almonds.
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