This Asian-Inspired Chicken Salad is really more of a slaw that we serve in any way possible. From entrees to side dishes to a modified version for pulled pork sliders. This salad is fresh, it’s dressed, it’s exciting, and it’s super easy. Plus, per usual, it’s highly adaptable to suit your needs.
Napa Cabbage. Honestly, this is my only non-negotiable. Could other cabbage be used? Sure, but the curly leaves and delicate texture of Napa (or Chinese) cabbage really makes a difference.
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Water. Okay, this must be addressed. Every vegetable in this salad is extremely watery. This salad really needs to be served immediately after it’s been dressed. That’s because the dressing thins out as moisture wicks out of the cut veggies.
The longer it sits, the more liquid accumulates at the bottom of the bowl, and the more the dressing gets pulled off of the vegetables. You can absolutely prepare this salad ahead of time, just leave the dressing and the roasted peanuts off the slaw mixture until you’re ready to serve.
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Dressing. The dressing is super easy to make and the only thing that you could add to jazz it up is a teaspoon of sugar. I’ve excluded it, but if you really wanted it to be a slaw to go alongside bbq or something similar, the addition of sugar (and the omission of chicken) will be more reminiscent of traditional slaw.
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Optional additions. In the recipe below, I’ve included a few optional additions that can be used to really beef up the salad. These additions could also be used as substitutes if you’re in the mood to change it up. Have fun. Get creative.
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- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1 cups mayonnaise
- 0.5 cups sesame oil
- 0.25 cups lime juice
- 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 1″ piece of ginger, grated fresh
- 3 cloves of garlic, grated fresh
- 1 large head Napa cabbage, cut into long quarters (if there are only small heads available, get two)
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into quarters
- 3 large celery stalks
- 3 green onions
- 0.5 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
- 0.5 cups dry roasted and salted peanuts
- 0.5 red onion (optional)
- 1 small jicama, cut into quarters, or 1 small can water chestnuts (optional)
- roasted sesame sticks, for garnish (optional)
- In a large pot, bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and poach at a high simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of each breast reads 160 degrees. Set aside.
- In a large liquid measuring cup, mix together mayo, sesame oil, lime juice, tamari, ginger, and garlic. Set in the fridge to rest while you prepare the salad.
- Using a mandolin set to ¼”, cut the Napa cabbage quarters into an extra-large bowl. Reset the mandolin to 1/8” and cut the bell pepper, celery, and green onions into the bowl. If you are adding the optional red onion and jicama, do this now.
- Cut the cooked chicken breasts into bite-sized cubes and add to the cabbage mixture. Add the cilantro and pour dressing over top. Mix to combine.
- Serve immediately with roasted peanuts, a touch more cilantro and optional sesame sticks. Note: this salad does not sit well, as the moisture from the vegetables loosens the dressing and creates excess liquid. Serve and eat immediately, or reserve the dressing until ready to eat.