My mom made up this chicken salad with Asian-inspired flavors and it's been a summer favorite in our house for years. It's refreshing, filling, and delicious! This salad is substantial enough to be a meal on its own, but it also makes a great side for a grilled protein. It's gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and also Whole 30-friendly if you omit the honey!
Asian Chicken Salad
Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side dish.
Ingredients for the Salad:
1 large head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced*
2 to 3 cups cooked and diced or shredded chicken breast
1/3 cup diced red onion and/or 4-5 sliced green onions
1 cup diced red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into bite-size pieces
1 can sliced water chestnuts (8-ounce)
1 can bamboo shoots (8-ounce)
1 can mandarin oranges (15-ounce) or 1 large fresh orange, peeled and diced
1 cup roasted and salted cashews
Ingredients for the Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup coconut aminos
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons rice or coconut vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (omit for Whole 30)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, seeds and pith removed, minced (optional--use for a little heat if desired! Half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes whisked in the sauce will also work to spice it up if desired. I leave out the heat when serving to kids)
Prepare your chicken breasts as desired and cool ahead of time; chop your veggies.
Toss the cabbage, onion, pepper, carrots, snap peas, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and chicken together in a large bowl. (Set aside the mandarin oranges and cashews for now.)
Whisk together all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning.* Pour over cabbage and stir.
Add the mandarin oranges or diced orange; stir gently.
Refrigerate until ready to serve (at least an hour, if you can). Similar to coleslaw, the flavors will intensify as it sits.
Top with roasted salted cashews just before serving.
Enjoy as a refreshing meal or side dish!
* This is a very flexible recipe. If there's a veggie you don't care for, leave it out; if there's something you feel like adding, throw it in!
*This recipe will also work for bok choy if you prefer that to Napa cabbage.
*When you taste the salad dressing for seasoning, add more of anything you feel it needs. If there's not enough salt, add some; if you love ginger and it's not ginger-y enough, add a bit; if it's not sweet enough, add some more honey! Do keep in mind that the flavors will intensify as it sits.