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 Summertime, the kitchen is my least favorite place to be. Who wants to be tied to a burning stove in 100 F weather, right?
So when temperatures start to crank up, I swap our more elaborate dinners for simple salads and sandwiches at home which are a welcomed change of fare. They’re quick and easy to prep and are also loaded with fresh flavors and good-for-you nutrients.
Chinese salad ingredients
- 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 to use 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 at 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 1/4-inch thick. Cover with a cloth or paper towel to keep from drying out.
- Drop the strips in the hot oil to keep from sticking together. Move around in the pot using a slotted spoon or spider to evenly cook and keep 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!
- 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 or chop.
- 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.