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?



24 thoughts on “Sesame Ginger Chicken Salad: It’s a Meal

  1. Oh, that looks & sounds Heavenly! I wish Mr. Snooty would GAIN some weight so we could diet together, lol. Not going to happen.
    I loved the way you wrote this and, as always, your pictures are crisp, clear, and magnificent.
    Can’t wait to try this.

  2. hmmm yummy! I have been eating a lot of salads lately too and this is just a great idea you have given me for my next salad adventure.

  3. Salads and summer go hand-in-hand for us. For one thing, it’s just too bloody HOT in this part of the world to eat anything that requires much cooking. (Well, that and we’re both trying to shed a few extra pounds…)
    This one looks absolutely marvelous!

  4. Hey Snooty! How are things? Good to hear from you. I feel the same with respect to the hunkster gaining weight, since it’s never really been a problem for him. But he’s not feeling great about his girth, so salad it is. We have been able to go on a few walks together, so that’s a good compromise!
    Hey Ben — I know you’re a salad fiend and this one’s for you. It’s really tasty. Let me know what changes you make.
    Hi Jerry. I’ve been wondering about how you are doing on your food plan. Tough work, for sure! This is a keeper. Throw the chicken on the grill;)
    Noble Pig — let me know how the honey is. I don’t like too much, but a bit sounds really great. And some heat — chilis or something…

  5. Hm, the salad looks fantastic but I’m with you on the dressing- 1/4 cup of sugar?!?! I’m not big on mixing my savory with sweet anyways. The Citron Honey I just used in a recipe would be perfect for this~ got it from Trader Joe’s. It has Yuzu fruit in it and tastes like a pink grapefruit honey. You bring the salad, I’ll bring the honey, honey. 😉

  6. Since you are one of my favorite blogs I tagged you for 7 random facts, 7 favorite blogs, and you tag 3 or more blogs for random facts.
    Love this recipe too!

  7. Oh my. It’s without a doubt three hours past dinnertime and you post what?! Argh. Must eat something now. So yummy.

  8. Now that’s the kind of salad I like, with lots of different components so you get a bunch of different flavors and textures. The dressing sounds great too. Always looking for dressing ideas.
    About the sugar…I’m fond of tangy dressings, but I always have a hard time getting the sugar to dissolve. 1/4 cup sound like a lot (the yield is less than 1 cup, right?) and I can only imagine how much whisking is required to get that to go into solution. anyhow, I’ve turned to agave nectar for sweetener. It’s more viscous than honey and dissolves fairly easily. But a tablespoon would probably be sufficient.

  9. This sounds pretty fabulous. I’m a pretty big salad eater but have been trying to eat salad as a main dish more often as well. (It’s hard not to put on weight in the winter.) I like the substance of this salad. It’s a salad for someone not naturally prone to eating salads, as well, which is often nice for anti-salad family members and whatnot.

  10. Ooh! This looks awesome! I get a salad like this at a little hole in the wall pho restaurant near me (in Philadelphia), but this is even better cause you can add a lot of what you want and take out what you don’t (eh hem.. extra sugar!).
    I like your pictures too!

  11. Looks good. But 1/3 cup seasame oil? I’ve never seen anything call for more than a few tablespoons as that stuff is potent! No wonder it had so much sugar in it. Smart of you to change it.

  12. What a gorgeous salad! I love to have salads for dinner, but I think my metabolism works overtime when I sleep, because whenever I eat salad for dinner, I wake up STARVING. You would think I was a size 2, but I’m not. 🙂

  13. Ahem. While I understand the desire to cut down on extra sugar and calories in salad (I mean, it’s salad!), I think sometimes the point of salad should be that it tastes good. Like a good wedge salad, slathered in blue cheese dressing and bacon bits.

  14. You were right – way too much sesame oil!
    Great looking salad! We are full into salad season ourselves right now… And so many suggest too much of a too caloric dressing. I tweak first, too!

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