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  • Brianna Rhodes, RD, CD

Chinese Chicken Salad

For a unique, yet super easy meal, this Chinese Chicken Salad is excellent! Full of flavor with a homemade dressing and marinade, crunchy noodles and fresh cabbage, you are sure to enjoy this fresh meal!

I don’t know that this is authentic Chinese food—in fact, I’m pretty confident it’s not. But I am a big fan of Asian inspiration dishes. The flavors are great! And they are excellent dishes for incorporating lots of vegetables right into that main entrée.

Traditional uses of cabbage in the American diet are limited. There’s obviously coleslaw, which can be pretty good, but usually made with a heavy dressing. There are cabbage soups. One of my family’s staple meals growing up was Cabbage Patch Stew—a tomato based soup with chopped cabbage and a large dollop of mashed potatoes in the middle. If your into it, there’s also sauerkraut. Those seem to be the go-to ideas for cabbage in typical American cuisine.

Cabbage is a great food choice because it’s rich in fiber, anti-oxidants, and other nutrients. It’s also really economical and colorful (red cabbage is anyway)! This recipe is a great way to sneak a little more cabbage into your family member’s lives.

In making this meal, feel free to buy the whole cabbage and shred it yourself. That is extremely cheap, though slightly more labor intensive. This time, I decided to go with the 1 lb Tri-Color Coleslaw mix at Walmart. I think it was $1.17, and it’s just shredded green cabbage, red cabbage and carrots all washed and ready to eat. All the beauty and color with zero effort! I dressed the cabbage mix up with my own chopped carrots, cilantro and green onions.

The marinade is simple—I had all the ingredients on hand already. If you don’t have hoisin sauce, you could certainly substitute teriyaki sauce without a significant change. Also, a tip for fresh ginger—store the ginger root in the freezer and it will last forever! When you have a recipe calling for fresh ginger, simply pull out the frozen root and use a cheese grader to shave off the quantity you need. I picked this tip up from my neighbor and it works great!

Use the dressing as a marinade for the chicken as well. I chopped the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and let it marinade for about 2 hours before cooking the chicken in a large skillet. This sets the chicken up to blend well with the flavors of your salad.

Keep everything separate and you will have excellent leftovers for the next day. Once you mix the dressing in with the cabbage, it will start to wilt, so only mix up what you need. I placed my serving in a small bowl, added my chicken and dressing and tossed it before placing it on my plate. Just like they do at Cafe Zupas or Paradise Bakery.

Because this salad is a pretty light, I paired it with an egg roll. I’ll admit it—this egg roll came out of a box from the freezer aisle. I am interested in experimenting with home-made egg rolls but for this meal, I was going for simple and quick. There was no interest in adding a complicated recipe for a side dish. I chose the vegetable egg roll since it was not intended as an entrée. The second night we had this meal, I paired it with some mini wontons. It was the first time I’d introduced these types of foods to my kids, and they did pretty well with them.

For the kiddos, I served them up a pile of cabbage with Ranch dressing (Ranch is golden for getting kids to eat veggies!), marinated chicken, crunchy noodles and matchstick carrots. I also gave them the egg roll or wantons. My older girls were a little leery of the egg roll but loved the wontons. My 2 year old loved both. Just goes to show you never know till you try!

The Meal:

  • 2 cups cabbage salad

  • 2 Tbsp Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing

  • 4 oz marinated chicken

  • ¼ cup crunchy Chow Mein noodles

  • 1 vegetable eggroll

Recipe Used in this meal:


Chinese Chicken Salad

Serving size: 1 salad

Servings per Recipe: 6



  • ½ cup soy sauce

  • 1 ½ tsp minced garlic

  • 1 ½ Tbsp fresh grated ginger

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 ½ Tbsp sesame oil

  • 3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

  • ½ cup rice vinegar


  • 2 lbs chicken breast (boneless, skinless)

  • 1 ½ lbs shredded cabbage (tri-color blend recommended)

  • 4 medium carrots (cut into matchsticks)

  • 6 stalks green onion (chopped)

  • ½ cup fresh cilantro (chopped)

  • 1 ½ cups crunchy Chow Mein noodles


  1. Combine the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, olive oil, sesame oil and hoisin sauce in a small bowl. Set aside 4 Tbsp for marinating the chicken, then add the rice vinegar. Blend well, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Slice the chicken breast into bite-size pieces. Place in a gallon size bag and add the reserved marinade. Allow to marinate in the fridge for about 2 hours.

  3. Prepare the salad by combining cabbage, carrots, green onion and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.

  4. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and turn on high heat. Add the marinated chicken and cook thoroughly. Remove from heat and set aside.

  5. Plate up each salad with approx 2 cups of cabbage mixture, 4 oz chicken, and 2 Tbsp dressing. Top each with ¼ cup crunchy noodles. Serve immediately


If you plan to serve the entire batch at one meal, combine the salad, chicken and dressing in one large bowl. If you plan to have leftovers, I recommend adding dressing to each serving as needed. The cabbage will wilt if stored after mixing with dressing.


Nutrition Facts Label for Entire Meal:

Nutrition Facts Label for Chinese Chicken Salad with Dressing:

Nutrition Facts Label for Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing:

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