Every once in awhile, I crave a good Chinese Chicken Salad. The salad is tangy, sweet, sour, and just a little spicy. And I don’t know what it is, but there’s something special about those little Mandarin oranges that makes me feel like I’m eating a treat. It’s a perfect full meal with your protein, veggies, and carbs. But the most beautiful part of making a meal like this is that you can easily double or triple the recipe to make awesome leftovers. Just pack leftover salad in containers and you’ve got easy grab-and-go work lunches. It’s an easy, quick, healthy, and delicious meal that’s always a big hit in my house!
What you’ll need:
- For the salad:
- 4 chicken breasts or 8 chicken tenders
- 1/2 head napa cabbage, thinly shredded (about 6 cups)
- 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 5 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges in water, drained
- 1 package plain Ramen noodles, dry (seasoning excluded)
- For the dressing:
- 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh or dry garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh or dry ginger
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon hot sauce, like Sriracha
**A few tips on the ingredients: Buying heads of cabbage is very inexpensive, but if you want to save some time you can buy bags of already shredded cabbage instead. If you can’t find Mandarin oranges in water, buying them in syrup is fine. Just drain and rinse them. Also, notice all my dressing ingredients are measured by the tablespoon… to save a dish! Just make sure you measure the dry ingredients first (ginger, garlic, brown sugar) before you measure the wet ingredients, and just eyeball the hot sauce.
What you’ll need to do:
Start by cooking your chicken in a large pan (see “Let’s Talk Chicken” for instructions).
While the chicken cooks, chop your veggies. Have a large salad bowl handy so you can toss your veggies in as they’re chopped. You’ll want to slice the cabbage thinly. I like to cut the head of cabbage in half, cut out the hard core, place it on the cutting board on it’s flat side for stability, and then just slice right to left. Then, peel and chop your carrot. Chop your scallions (green onions) thinly and toss them in the bowl. Drain and rinse your Mandarin oranges, then add them to the salad.
Your chicken is still probably cooking at this point, so move on to the salad dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together all salad dressing ingredients. Or, if you have a container with a lid (like a salad cruet or even a small Tupperware), add all ingredients, cover, and shake to combine. Make sure you read my tip about adding dry ingredients first and then the wet ingredients! Set the dressing aside.
Once your chicken is done, chop into bite-sized cubes and add to the salad. Toss the salad with the dressing. Lastly, crumble the dry Ramen noodles with your fingers and top the salad for an extra crunch.