A flavorful, crunchy, and delightfully filling Asian Chicken Salad that makes a perfect summer lunch or light dinner. Fresh lettuce, carrots, and green onion meet crunchy chow mein noodles, water chestnuts, toasted almonds, and sesame seeds and get tossed in a sweet and slightly spicy sesame peanut dressing.
Grill the chicken outdoors to avoid heating up your chicken or take it inside to cook in the oven like you can this Basic Grilled Chicken, 7-Up Grilled Chicken, or Gorgeous Grilled Chicken. All the details on how are below!
- I love to use a combination of Iceberg lettuce and Napa cabbage for the best crunch and flavor.
- Allow the grilled Asian chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes after grilling before slicing. This allows the juices in the meat to redistribute and keeps the chicken nice and juicy.
- Don’t dress the salad too soon! Add the noodles, almonds, and dressing just before serving for the best CRUNCH!
Don’t have a grill? No problem!
This chicken can also be cooked on a grill pan (like this one) on the stove, OR baked in the oven. Just preheat your oven to 400˚F for 20 minutes, flip then cook an additional 5-15 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165˚F. Just note that baking the chicken will not give you the nice charred flavor and grill marks that cooking on the grill or indoor grill pan will give.
Assembling the salad for now… and for serving later
If you’re serving your Asian Chicken Salad now, just follow the directions for assembly in the recipe card. BUT if you’re like me and LOVE to have salads ready to go in your fridge for quick lunches follow these few tips:
- Combine individual portions of the lettuce/cabbage, carrots, green onion, water chestnuts, and grilled chicken in air-tight containers and refrigerate.
- Combine the sesame seeds, almonds, and crunchy noodles and store separately at room temperature.
- Keep the salad dressing in a dressing bottle or distribute it into individual portions and refrigerate.
- When ready to eat, top the individual salads with the crunchy toppings and drizzle with the dressing.
What are some good side dishes for Asian Chicken Salad?
I feel like this salad has just about all you might need in a meal with the grilled chicken, veggies, crunchies, and flavorful dressing, but here are some ideas:
- Dumplings, potstickers or wontons
- Edamame (steamed soy beans)
- BBQ Pork or Skewered Beef
For the Chicken:
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
For the Salad:
- 1 head lettuce or napa cabbage torn or thinly sliced
- 3 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1-2 cups crunchy chow mein noodles
For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- Prepare the chicken by combining the soy sauce, olive oil, garlic, sesame oil and honey in a gallon-sized zip top bag. Add the chicken and allow to marinade for 2-3 hours up to overnight.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill until cooked through and the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F. Allow chicken to cool, then slice into bite-sized pieces. Set chicken aside.
- Make the dressing in a small bowl by whisking together the canola oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, chili sauce and water. Whisk until smooth and creamy and set aside.
- Place the sesame seeds, poppy seeds and almonds in a small non-stick pan and cook over medium-heat, stirring frequently until lightly toasted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Assemble the salad by combining the lettuce, green onion, carrots and water chestnuts in a large bowl. Toss to combine and then add the toasted sesame and poppy seeds and almonds. Top the salad with the sliced, grilled chicken and drizzle with the dressing. Serve topped with a handful of crunchy chow-mein noodles.