To enjoy salad it is important to keep it interesting and shake things up! The old lettuce, chicken with balsamic is just not cutting it any more. Who’s with me here? This Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe is packed with loads of colourful veggies and the red cabbage adds not only colour but a fantastic crunch!
Plus the sweetness of the oranges combined with the slightly spicy Asian inspired dressing make this one of my favourite go to salads any time of year!
Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe
A few years ago just as I was hitting my 40’s I came to what seemed like an impossible wall to overcome. It seemed no matter what I did I just could not lose the weight I was putting on. I ate clean, cut my carbs, worked out everyday and the weight just kept piling on.
I reached out to my fitness model friends, body building friends, mom friends and pretty much anyone who could help and still nothing worked. That was until I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. Her name is Kathy Wilkes at Energia Health & Fitness and she was my Zumba Instructor (an amazing one at that!) but she is also an Holistic Nutritionist who is not shy to be honest but also knows her stuff so she has earned the right to tell you like it is!
Turns out I was actually not eating enough vegetables, working out too much and addicted to sugar! Within a month I was starting to see results. Did you know that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine and in practically everything?
Even though I thought I was eating “clean” by not eating packaged goods and staying away from bread. I was instead eating way too sugar. Yes sugar!
Sugar is a tricky little bugger! We all know bread is a simple carbohydrate or form of sugar but did you also know that rice, cheese, yogurt and a million other things – pretty much anything that is white is sugar? Fact!
As soon as I started to replace my fruit with veggies, eat more healthy fats and lean proteins and cut out anything with even 1 g of added sugar the weight start to pour off.
So on that note here is a little list of some of the foods that are hidden sources of sugar.
10 Foods That Are High Sources of Sugar:
- Low-Fat Regular Yogurt
- BBQ Sauce
- Protein Bars
- Pasta Sauce
I am not a Nutritionist of any kind but cutting out these foods has been a game changer. One of my biggest questions for some reason was about carrots though? Aren’t they high in sugar? Why aren’t they on the list? Let’s dive in…
Are Carrots High In Sugar?
Yes they are high in natural sugars but not by much more than other vegetables. One half cup is only 26 calories and grams of sugar. Carrots though are very high in fibre and help to keep you feeling full longer and also give you a satisfying bit of crunch that sometimes is lacking in a low carb lifestyle. This article from The Globe & Mail breaks down all the deets on carrots… so crunch away!
I like to make this big colourful Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe as part of my meal prep for the week. It keeps very well in the fridge for up to 5 days but only if you don’t add the dressing. The instructions make for a large enough salad to bring to picnics and potlucks and every time I bring it somewhere it is a crowd favourite with people always asking me for the recipe. You just simply can’t go wrong with this crowd pleaser!
The bright colours of the red peppers, carrots, green onions, red cabbage and bright green romaine make for a rainbow of goodness. Add the roasted peanuts (optional) and spicy sesame dressing and again the perfect salad! That is if you like spicy as much as I do. The recipe for the dressing makes enough for two of these salads and you can add no chili peppers or more chili peppers depending on who you like your heat level. Be warned though that when this dressing sits those chillis really come to life and light a fire so be careful not to add too much. The sweetness of the mandarin oranges helps to take the edge off the heat and provide a nice contrast of flavour.
Making Chinese Chicken Salad
First things first… you want the freshest veggies you can get to get the maximum crunch possible. Sesame oil and soy sauce can be found in the Asian food section of most grocery stores.
Slice the romaine lettuce, red cabbage, green onions and red pepper very think. Add chopped cilantro and carrot sticks add even more colour and the mandarin oranges offer a little sweetness to brighten up this salad. For the dressing – some sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, balsamic vinegar, vegetable oil, roasted sesame seeds and chili flakes (optional).
2 roasted chicken breasts to add when ready to eat.
In a large bowl add all the veggies and mandarin oranges. Mix well.
Roast the sesame seeds by placing them in a small pan on the stove at medium heat for about 3 minutes. Shaking or stirring occasionally to ensure the seeds are evenly roasted. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
For less mess I like to use a funnel to help me add the ingredients to my salad dressing bottle. This way all the ingredients go straight in the bottle and not all over your counter. Add the sesame oil, vinegar, vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds and chilis. Seal lid tightly and shake. The seeds will always float to the top so make sure you shake well each time you go to use.
Store the salad dressing in a seal container until you are ready to use.
Shred the chicken breast using a fork or I simply peal apart with my hands cave man style. For speed I like to just use those grocery store roasted chickens and almost always have one in my fridge for recipes just like this. This way I always have some protein on hand when I need some for salads or alongside some raw veggies at lunch.
Add the chicken to the salad when you are ready to eat along with the salad dressing. Looks like a lot but only takes about 15 minutes to prepare this salad and it is a big salad so enough for a family of four or a few weekday lunches.
Recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad
Chinese Chicken Salad
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 1/2 head romaine lettuce shredded very thin with a sharp knife
- 1/2 head purple cabbage shredded very thin with a sharp knife
- 1 bunch green onions chopped
- 1 red bell pepper sliced very thin
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup canned mandarin oranges - well drained drained
- 2 large Chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts chopped (optional)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- Hot chili pepper flakes to taste
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1/4 tsp each sea salt & pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup of toasted sesame seeds
- Lightly toast the sesame seeds in the oven or in a frying pan on low
- Add chopped and sliced veggies to a large bowl
- Add well drained manadarin oranges and roasted peanuts (optional)
- Shred chicken with a fork or cut thin with a knife and add to salad just before ready to eat.
- Toss salad to mix
Asian Salad Dressing
- Add liquid ingredients to small bowl or dressing bottle and mix well then add toasted sesame seeds and chili flakes (optional)
- Add Dressing to salad just before you are about to serve and mix well