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Asian Chicken Salad With Sesame-Ginger Dressing

This quick and easy Asian Chicken Salad With Sesame-Ginger Dressing is a delicious main dish salad that’s fresh, full of healthy ingredients, and packed with flavor and crunch. It’s perfect for lunch or a light dinner!

Romaine lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, and chicken are tossed with a simple homemade Asian-style vinaigrette and topped with green onions, cilantro, sliced almonds, and chow mein noodles. It tastes every bit as good as it looks!

All those yummy flavors, textures and colors combine to make one fantastic salad that rivals any restaurant Chinese chicken salad I’ve ever had.

And that dressing…oh, my goodness.

Made with olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, a bit of sugar to balance things out, and a hint of mayonnaise to help it emulsify, it’s sooo good and is what makes this salad a total winner!

This is one of those dishes where, when I say to David, “We’re having salad for dinner,” he looks a little disappointed at first…BUT, after he eats it, he says, “Let’s have this again tomorrow!”

We love having lighter meals at this time of the year when the weather is cold and we want to take a break from all the comfort-style foods that we tend to be eating a little more often.

But, of course, this salad can and most definitely should be enjoyed all year long.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s ready in just 30 minutes? How awesome is that?!

Lettuce, cabbage, carrots and chicken in a large bowl with small dishes of dressing, green onions, cilantro, almonds, and chow mein noodles on the side

Ingredients You Need:

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • Olive oil (regular or light-tasting; not extra-virgin)
  • Rice vinegar
  • Soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium soy sauce)
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Sugar
  • Ground ginger (the dry kind you find in the spice aisle)
  • Garlic powder
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chicken tenderloins
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Red/purple cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sliced almonds
  • Chow mein noodles (the dry, already-cooked kind, such as LaChoy)*
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

*Chow mein noodles can be found near the Asian foods in the grocery store.

Note: The above video is just a brief overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

Recipe Tips & Tidbits:

  • You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs) instead of tenderloins; adjust cooking time accordingly.
    • This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover roasted, grilled or rotisserie chicken; just chop or shred the cooked chicken and add it to your salad.
    • If you’re a crispy chicken fan, cook up some of your favorite breaded chicken tenders, chop them up, and use them in your salad.
  • Try other proteins, such as cooked shrimp, steak or tofu instead of chicken.
  • Use regular or light-tasting olive oil (or another neutral-flavored oil) for this recipe. Don’t use extra-virgin olive oil, as the flavor can be too strong.
  • Not a fan of cilantro? Just leave it out.
  • Bagged coleslaw mix could be used in place of the cabbage and carrots.
  • The small amount of mayonnaise in the dressing is there to help the dressing emulsify and keep it from separating too quickly. You can leave it out if you prefer.
  • Fried wonton strips can be substituted if you can’t get chow mein noodles (look for them near the Asian foods or sometimes they are near the croutons and other salad toppings).
  • Feel free to add more veggies, such as edamame, snow peas, bell peppers, broccoli…whatever sounds good to you.
  • Mandarin oranges would also be a great addition.
  • This recipe makes 2 entrée salads and enough dressing for those 2 salads. Serving more people? Just double or triple the recipe, etc. to make as much as you need.
sesame-ginger dressing being poured over salad in a bowl

Make-Ahead and Storing Leftovers:

  • Make-Ahead: This salad is best when made fresh, but you can prep the ingredients a few hours to a few days (up to 2 to 3 days) ahead of time if needed.
    • Keep the salad (romaine, cabbage and carrots), chicken, green onions, cilantro, and dressing stored separately in the refrigerator.
    • The almonds and chow mein noodles should be stored separately at room temperature (they can lose their crunch in the refrigerator).
    • Toss the salad with the chicken and dressing and add the toppings when you are ready to serve.
  • Storing Leftovers: Once the salad has been tossed with the dressing, you won’t be able to store any leftovers because everything will get soggy rather quickly.
    • If you plan to have leftovers, only toss the amount of salad you are going to eat now with some of the dressing and keep the rest stored separately (as above) for up to 2 to 3 days so everything stays fresh and crisp.
    • Remember: If you made anything ahead of time, be sure to take that time into account (for example, if you prepped all the ingredients a day ahead, that leaves only 1 to 2 days to store the leftovers).
top-down view of 2 plates of Asian chicken salad with two forks on the side

This salad is definitely enough to be a light meal all by itself, but I also love serving it with my Homemade Egg Drop Soup. It’s such a great combination!

I hope you try this Asian Chicken Salad With Sesame-Ginger Dressing recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Main-Dish Salad Recipes You Might Like…

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

Asian chicken salad on a white plate

Asian Chicken Salad With Sesame-Ginger Dressing

This quick and easy Asian Chicken Salad With Sesame-Ginger Dressing is a delicious main dish salad that's fresh, full of healthy ingredients, and packed with flavor and crunch. It's perfect for lunch or a light dinner!
Print Recipe Rate/Comment Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 509
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

For the Sesame-Ginger Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, regular or light-tasting (don't use extra-virgin; the flavor is too strong)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, I use reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, the dried spice
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mayonnaise
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

For the Salad:

  • ½ pound chicken tenderloins
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded red/purple cabbage
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 1 tablespoon sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • ½ cup chow mein noodles, the dry already-cooked kind, such as LaChoy

Instructions

Make the Sesame-Ginger Dressing:

  • Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-combined.
    Alternately, you can whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

Cook the Chicken:

  • Season the chicken tenderloins with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a small to medium skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken and cook about 4 minutes per side or until cooked through (internal temperature of 165°F).
  • Remove the chicken from the pan to a plate; let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Assemble the Salad:

  • Place the lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and chicken in a large bowl.
  • Give the dressing a final quick shake and add it to the bowl; toss until well-combined and everything is evenly coated with the dressing.
  • Divide the salad between two large plates or bowls.
  • Top each salad with half of the green onions, cilantro, almonds, and chow mein noodles.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs) instead of tenderloins; adjust cooking time accordingly.
  • This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover roasted, grilled or rotisserie chicken; just chop or shred the cooked chicken and add it to your salad.
  • If you’re a crispy chicken fan, cook up some of your favorite breaded chicken tenders, chop them up, and use them in your salad.
  • Not a fan of cilantro? Just leave it out.
  • This recipe makes 2 entrée salads and enough dressing for those 2 salads. Serving more people? Just double or triple the recipe, etc. to make as much as you need.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Mention @nowcookthis or tag #nowcookthisrecipes!
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