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Savor the vibrant flavors of an Asian sesame chicken salad, where crisp greens, tender chicken, and a homemade sesame vinaigrette come together in harmony. Topped with crispy wonton strips and drizzled with a spicy glaze, this salad is a refreshing and satisfying meal.
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What makes this dish special
Would it be embarrassing to admit that my favorite salad is Chinese chicken salad? Ever since I was young, I always loved it. Yes, I even enjoy the old-school version with canned mandarin oranges and store-bought crispy chow mein noodles. Today, I'm going back to the basics and revisiting that salad. However, instead of writing a recipe that's already been done, I'm adding my own touches.
What makes this Asian sesame chicken salad different from the rest? It's all about the sesame vinaigrette and the homemade crispy wonton strips. The extra vegetables and herbs don't hurt either. Trust me, it's a truly delicious salad. In fact, it might even trump the old-school recipe.
- Lettuce: I chose romaine lettuce for the crisp texture but you can use any other leafy greens such as spinach, kale, mixed salad greens, or iceberg lettuce.
- Red cabbage: adds color and texture to the salad. Substitute with green cabbage or Napa cabbage if desired.
- Chicken: Although chicken is usually the star protein of Chinese chicken salad, you can substitute it with tofu, tempeh, shrimp, or any other protein. I purchased my chicken from Farm Foods.
- Snow peas: Adds a crunchy, sweet element to the salad. Other options include snap peas.
- Oranges: Fresh oranges make a difference in taste and quality to the overall salad. However, you can use other citrus such as tangerines, blood oranges, or even grapefruit.
- Avocado: Although avocado is not traditionally found in Chinese chicken salad, it does add a creamy, rich element to this version.
- Almonds: Adds a nutty crunch and depth of flavor. Substitute with peanuts or cashews if desired.
How to make Asian sesame chicken salad
Step 1: Make the salad dressing
This salad dressing is actually my mom's recipe and I've always loved it. People used to try her dressing and would urge her to sell it because it was so tasty. Even as an adult, I still love it just as much as I did when I was young. And now I'm sharing the recipe with you so you can enjoy it too!
Oh, and did I mention that it's incredibly easy to make? All you have to do is combine sesame seeds, granulated sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic in a Vitamix. While the blender is running, gradually add olive oil until the mixture becomes smooth and emulsified. That's it, folks! Transfer the dressing to a bowl and set it aside.
Step 2: Fry wonton crisps
Next, it's time to make the crispy and flavorful wonton crisps. These strips will completely transform the Asian sesame chicken salad - no more packaged fried chow mein noodles!
To make the strips, first, make the glaze. In a small saucepot, combine granulated sugar, water, sriracha, and a pinch of salt. Place the pot over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, ensuring that the sugar is fully dissolved. In a separate bowl, create a cornstarch slurry by combining cornstarch with water, and then add it to the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer for about a minute until the mixture thickens. Remove the pot from the heat and let the glaze cool completely.
Now, cut egg roll wrappers into ½-inch-thick strips. In a medium pot, heat enough oil to cover the strips to a depth of at least 1 inch. Once the oil reaches a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, carefully drop the egg roll strips into the oil and fry them until they turn golden brown and crispy. You may need to fry the strips in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried strips and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
Drizzle the cooled spicy glaze over the crispy wonton strips and gently toss them to ensure they are evenly coated. The glaze is sticky so if it's easier, you can just drizzle the glaze on top and skip tossing them. Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top and set aside the seasoned wonton crisps.
Step 3: Assemble
Now it's time to bring all the components together. In a large bowl, combine the chopped romaine lettuce, shredded red cabbage, cooked shredded chicken, chopped snow peas, segmented oranges, sliced Persian cucumbers, chopped avocados, toasted sliced almonds, chopped scallions, and chopped cilantro. Add the desired amount of sesame vinaigrette to the salad and toss everything together. You can adjust the amount of dressing based on your personal preference. Once the salad is well coated with the dressing, transfer it to serving bowls or plates.
Top the Asian sesame chicken salad with the sweet chili wonton crisps and dig in!
Ever since I created this recipe, I've prepared this salad more times than I can count. The combination of the crispy wontons, flavorful dressing, and vibrant salad ingredients creates a perfect balance of taste and texture. And the best part? It tastes light and healthy but is still very satisfying!
Frequently asked questions
Absolutely! The dressing can be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just give it a good shake or stir before using it on your salad.
Fortunately, this Asian sesame chicken salad is very customizable. You can add bell peppers, shredded carrots, edamame, and even broccoli.
Place all of the vegetables on the bottom of the container, finishing with the romaine lettuce, scallions, cilantro, and finally, the almonds. Wrap the wonton crisps separately and top the salad right before enjoying.
More chicken salad recipes
Looking for more chicken salad ideas? Try these:
Asian Sesame Chicken Salad
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoons water
- 2 egg roll wrappers
- Oil for frying
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
Chinese chicken salad
- 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 1 cup cooked chopped snow peas
- 2 oranges segmented
- 2 Persian cucumbers sliced
- 2 avocados chopped
- ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Make sesame vinaigrette. Combine sesame seeds, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic in a blender. With the blender running, slowly add olive oil until well combined and oil is emulsified. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Make wonton crisps. Combine sugar, water, sriracha, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and heat until sugar is fully dissolved. Combine cornstarch and 1 ½ teaspoons water in a small bowl and pour cornstarch slurry into saucepot. Simmer for another minute or until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Cut egg roll wrappers into ½-inch-thick strips. Heat enough oil in a medium pot to come up at least 1 inch up the sides. When the oil temperature reaches 350 degrees F, carefully drop egg roll strips and fry until golden brown. You may have to fry the egg roll strips in batches. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer strips to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Drizzle spicy glaze on wonton crisps and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and set aside.
- Prepare salads. In a large bowl, combine chopped romaine, red cabbage, chicken, snow peas, orange segments, sliced cucumber, avocado, almonds, scallions, and cilantro. Add as much vinaigrette as desired and toss to combine. Transfer salad to bowls and top with wonton crisps. Serve immediately.