Chinese Chicken Salad is the mother of all salads! Chock full of lettuce, carrots, edamame, poached chicken, and crisp wonton strips in a sweet and tangy Asian-inspired dressing, it's like a party in your mouth! It's a great side dish or light meal the whole family will love.
I love to cook and enjoy putting delicious meals together but come to Summertime; the kitchen is my least favorite place. Who wants to be tied to a burning stove in 100 F weather?
So when temperatures crank up, I swap our more elaborate dinners for simple salads and sandwiches at home, which are a welcome change of fare. They're quick, easy to prep, and loaded with fresh flavors and good-for-you nutrients.
This Chinese Chicken Salad, for example, takes less than 30 minutes to make yet tastes like you slaved in the kitchen for hours. Chock full of lettuce, carrots, edamame, poached chicken, and crisp wonton strips in a sweet and tangy Asian-inspired dressing, every bite is like a party in your mouth!
- Veggies - I use a mix of iceberg lettuce, shredded red cabbage, julienned carrots, and edamame. You can easily swap Romaine, napa cabbage, green onions, or your favorite green salad mix.
- Chicken - I like poached chicken breast, but grilled or rotisserie chicken works, too. Just debone and then shred or cut into chunks.
- Crispy wonton strips - you can find packaged crispy wontons in the salad section of your local supermarket, or you can make them at home! You can also use crunchy chow mein noodles, which are also available at most grocery stores,
- Optional add-ins - feel free to add almond slivers for extra crunch or mandarin oranges for a fruity hint of flavor.
Asian sesame salad dressing
- You can use your favorite Asian salad dressing to save time or make it from scratch with simple pantry ingredients for the best taste.
- Whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, brown sugar, and grated fresh ginger until well-blended. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- You can make it in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to make crispy fried wontons
- Use oil with a neutral flavor and high smoke points, such as peanut, safflower, or canola oil. For best results, heat to an optimal oil temperature of 350 F to 375 F. Do not overcrowd the pan and cook in batches as needed.
- Cut the wonton wrappers into strips about ¼-inch thick. Cover with a cloth or paper towel to keep it from drying out.
- Drop the strips in the hot oil. Move around in the pot using a slotted spoon or spider to cook evenly and keeping from sticking together.
- Remove the fried wontons from the pan a shade lighter than you'd like, as they will continue to brown in the residual heat and will crisp up as they cool.
- Drain on a wire rack and allow to cool.
- They can be made a day or two in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
I like to poach the chicken breast as this method cooks the meat gently and keeps it moist and tender. Just follow the easy process below!
- Combine chicken, salt, and enough water to cover in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, skimming scum that floats on top.
- As soon as the water comes to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the chicken turns opaque and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 165°F.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pot and chill in the refrigerator until completely cooled. Coarsely shred or chop.
- It can be made ahead; store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Chinese chicken salad is delicious as a meal starter or as a meal-in-itself!
- If prepping ahead of time, store the veggies, chicken, fried wontons, and dressing separately and toss them together when ready to serve to maintain the best texture.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package (12 ounces) wonton wrappers, cut into thin strips
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, torn
- ¼ head red cabbage, shredded
- 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
- ½ cup edamame
For the Dressing
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
- 1 thumb-size ginger, peeled and grated
- In a pot over medium heat, combine chicken, salt, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, skimming scum that floats on top.
- As soon as the water comes to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken turns opaque and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 165°F.
- With a slotted spoon, remove chicken from the pot and chill in the refrigerator until completely cooled. Coarsely shred.
- In a wide pan over medium heat, heat oil to 350 F. Add the wonton strips in batches and fry, stirring regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until golden. With a slotted spoon, remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Wonton strips will crisp as they cool.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, and edamame. Just before serving, drizzle with dressing and garnish with fried wonton strips. Gently toss to combine.
For the Dressing
- In a bowl, combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, chili garlic sauce, and ginger. Whisk together until well-blended.
- Remove the fried wontons from the pan a shade lighter than you'd like as they will continue to brown in the residual heat and will crisp up as they cool.
- Grilled or rotisserie chicken works in the recipe, too. Just debone and then shred or cut into chunks.
- You can substitute the wonton strips with crunchy chow mein noodles which you can find at most grocery stores,
- Feel free to add almond slivers for extra crunch or mandarin oranges for a fruity hint of flavor.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”