A light and healthy Asian chicken salad. Simple, delicious, yum.
We’re in week two of our January salad series, (did you try last week’s Garlic Chicken Cobb Salad? It’s sooooo good!) and I’ve got to say, I have a good one for you today. This is the salad that taught me to appreciate a little sweetness with my greens.
Most of my life, every time I saw sweet dressing on a menu, I would ask the universe, WHY WOULD YOU PUT SUGAR ON YOUR LETTUCE?? Then I made this salad and it was a light bulb moment. Oh, because it’s delicious. That’s why.
Healthy (i.e., not smothered in delicious creamy dressings) salads can start to feel a little samey after a while, especially when we’re eating a lot of them. So it’s great to bring in different influences to mix things up.
This one has an Asian flair to it, made with soy sauce, mandarin oranges, fried chow mein noodles, and a sweet dressing made with toasted sesame oil.
See Also: Chicken Shawarma Salad
The toasted sesame oil gives the dressing a great, deep nutty umami flavor that makes it feel so distinct from your usual simple vinaigrette. And the ginger and garlic marinated chicken paired with the crunchy chow mein noodles and the plump burst of tart sweetness from the mandarins is AMAZING. Whenever I find myself growing tired of salads, I throw this one in the rotation to get me out of my funk!
As written, this Asian Chicken Salad recipe serves 4. To change the recipe yield, hover over the number of servings in the recipe below (or click if you are on mobile) and slide the slider–see recipe notes for further instructions.
Simply Delicious Asian Chicken Salad
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pound (about 2 small) boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded thin
- 1 large head romaine chopped
- 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges drained
- 1 cup (2oz) fried chow mein noodles
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar*
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Combine marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag and give it a shake. Add chicken and marinate at room temperature for 10 to 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is marinating, bring vinegar to boil in a small pot. Once the vinegar is boiling, remove from heat and add the sugar, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and pour into a mason jar. Shake to combine. Set aside to cool.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and grease with cooking spray. Add chicken to the pan and cook 5-8 minutes per side, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the breasts reads 160°F. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing into strips.
- Serve chicken over romaine, topped with mandarin oranges, chow mein noodles, and dressing. Enjoy!
Make-ahead Instructions: Chicken can be prepared up to two days in advance, as can the romaine, but it will lose some of its crispness. Dressing will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks. Salad should be assembled day of and chow mein noodles added just before serving to preserve their crunchiness.
Freezer Instructions: Extra chicken can be frozen in an air-tight container for up to 4 months. Allow to defrost in the refrigerator. Fruit and vegetables with high water content like mandarins and lettuce shouldn’t be frozen for salads, BUT freeze just fine for later use in smoothies.
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