Sesame Ginger Chicken Salad: It’s a Meal

My husband is more than a little dismayed about the weight he gained over the busy season this year, so guess what we’ve been eating?

Salad.  Lots of it.

But we’re regular salad eaters, so this isn’t dismal news.  I just make the salad the main course when we’re feeling tubby.  My lanky almost sixteen-year-old son tolerates it for a couple of days and then invariably wants to know where the meat is.

Lettuce in Your Kitchen by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby was a birthday present from a good friend many years ago.  One of the most frequent ways I’ve used it is to get dressing ideas.  I don’t have difficulty putting salad ingredients together ever.  But I do struggle from time to time with more than the same old citrus based dressing I tend to rely upon.

It had been quite some time since I made what is often referred to as a Chinese Chicken Salad, and although I was in the mood for something Asian inspired, I didn’t want canned mandarin oranges, or any fruit, for that matter, in our dinner.  At least not this week.  Give us time, and we’ll be desperate.

So I settled on a crunchy combination of vegetables with sauteed chicken and a dressing I altered because although I loved the sound of the ingredients, the quantities were pretty bold — especially the sugar.  There’s no point in eating salad if the dressing is loaded with calories, right?


Asian Inspired Chicken Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Dressing Ingredients
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1-2 T sesame oil
1/3 c. rice wine vinegar
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 T fresh minced ginger
salt & pepper to taste


In a small jar with a lid, mix all ingredients and shake.  Taste and adjust flavors to your liking.  Pour over salad and toss, or pass around to pour on individual salads.

Salad Ingredients
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 small head savoy cabbage, shredded
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 c. snap peas
1/2 large red pepper, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
4 green onions, chopped
1-1/2 c. bean sprouts
1/2 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/8 c. roasted sunflower seeds



Season chicken pieces and saute in a bit of olive oil until both sides are golden brown and the meat is no longer pink.  Set aside to cool, then cut into large pieces.  Set aside.

In a very large bowl, add romaine, then savoy.  Arrange chicken pieces around the exterior, filling the center with carrots, peas, red peppers, onions, and cilantro.  Sprinkle bean sprouts around the exterior, and toss in the sunflower seeds.

Recipe Notes:

  • The original dressing called for 1/3 c. sesame oil, 1/2 c. soy sauce, and 1/4 c. sugar!  I should try harder to give recipes I haven’t tried a break before I adjust them, but I couldn’t get past so much sesame oil.  Two tablespoons added plenty of flavor without overpowering the other flavors.
  • And the sugar?  No comment.  If sweetness is something you enjoy, some honey would be nice in this.
  • This is a huge salad that nicely stuffed the four of us.  I would think that with all the chewing we did, some calories were burned in the process maybe?