Are you looking for a family friendly dinner recipe that you can feel good about? Try this Asian Chicken Salad! Crunchy Napa cabbage is combined with crisp veggies, aromatic herbs, and tender chicken, then topped with a sweet and spicy Sriracha dressing.
Asian Chicken Salad
This Asian Chicken Salad with Spicy Sriracha Dressing is a gluten-free family favorite. We devour it completely in almost one sitting. It starts with a base of shredded Napa cabbage mixed with sliced bell pepper and shredded carrot. Scallions, cilantro, and chopped nuts add flavor and texture, and all of the ingredients are brought together with a sweet and spicy Sriracha dressing.
I don't make it very spicy when I make it for the four of us (my youngest can't take a lot of heat), but luckily you can easily adjust the heat to your preference. Feel free to either leave the Sriracha out altogether, or to double the amount I call for in the recipe. It's totally up to you!
If you're not a fan of cabbage but love Asian flavors, check out my recipe for Thai Sweet Potato Noodles.
What are the health benefits of cabbage?
Sweet, crunchy, and flavorful Napa cabbage is packed with nutrients like vitamins C, K, and B. It is high in folates, and is filled with antioxidants. It's also a great source of fiber, while being very low in calories, which makes it a fantastic addition to a paleo or keto meal plan.
Combine that with a plethora of other fresh vegetables, tender chicken, and a sweet and spicy dressing... it's absolutely addicting!
What's the difference between Napa and Savoy cabbage?
Both Napa cabbage and Savoy cabbage are perfectly interchangeable in this Asian salad recipe. You can tell the difference between Napa cabbage and Savoy cabbage by looking at the texture of the leaves and the tightness of the leaves on the cabbage head.
Napa cabbage leaves are tightly wound around the head of the cabbage, whereas Savoy cabbage leaves grow much more loosely and open. Savoy cabbage leaves also have a beautiful wrinkled appearance, where as Napa cabbage leaves are typically more smooth.
I recommend using Napa cabbage in this chicken salad recipe because of its crunch factor, but Savoy cabbage is a great alternative as well.
How to Make Asian Chicken Salad
- First, make the salad base. Add the chopped chicken, Napa cabbage, red bell pepper, carrots, scallions and cilantro. Toss or stir to combine, then cover and refrigerate the bowl until you're ready to dress and serve the salad.
- Next, make the spicy sriracha dressing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger and coconut sugar. Add the sesame oil and olive oil, and whisk until blended. Season with Sriracha to taste.
- Finally, dress the salad. When ready to serve, pour the spicy sriracha dressing over the Asian chicken and cabbage salad. Gently toss to coat the salad with the dressing, then portion into bowls, garnish if desired, and dig in!
Toppings for Asian Chicken Salad
We enjoy topping this salad with chopped dry roasted peanuts for a bit of Asian style flair and some extra crunch. But if you're allergic, or don't have dry roasted peanuts available, toasted sesame seeds or almonds would also be wonderful.
An extra sprinkle of scallions or cilantro is also a yummy addition!
Tips for Making Asian Cabbage Salad:
- Use a sharpened chef's knife to chop the cabbage right from the head. I recommend slicing it pretty thin. You will need about 8 cups of shredded cabbage for this Asian salad recipe.
- Slice your scallions on the bias. Not only do they look prettier, but the larger surface size of the slices will add more onion flavor to your Asian chicken salad.
- To save time, I like to use a store-bought rotisserie chicken in this recipe. Consider buying 2-3 rotisserie chickens the next time you visit Costco or your favorite grocery store. With a little advance planning you can have an entire week of delicious chicken dinners prepped including this crunchy chicken salad in no time.
To make this Asian Chicken Salad recipe Paleo:
Replace the lite rice vinegar in the spicy sriracha dressing with white wine vinegar. Also, replace the gluten-free soy sauce with coconut aminos; you just might need to add sea salt to the dressing to compensate, because coconut aminos aren't as salty as soy sauce.
If you enjoy this recipe, try this gluten-free chicken stir fry!
I hope you and your family enjoy this Asian Chicken Salad recipe as much as my family does!
Other Gluten Free Chicken Dinner Recipes to try:
If you love this recipe, I bet you'd enjoy these Asian chicken lettuce wraps from Joy Food Sunshine.
Asian Chicken Salad Recipe:
For the Salad:
- 2 ½ cups leftover chicken, shredded or cubed
- 1 medium-sized Napa (or Savoy) cabbage, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced in 1 inch pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 cup loosely packed and chopped cilantro
- chopped roasted unsalted peanuts for garnish
For the Spicy Sriracha Dressing:
For the Salad:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the leftover shredded or cubed chicken, Napa cabbage, red bell pepper, carrots, scallions and cilantro.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the Spicy Sriracha Dressing:
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the gluten-free soy sauce, lite rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger and coconut sugar.
- Add the sesame oil and olive oil, and whisk until blended.
- Season with Sriracha to taste.
- Dress the salad when ready to serve.
You may not use all of the dressing:
I panic if I don't have enough dressing to please everyone when I'm making a large salad, so dress the salad to taste. You may decide not to use all of it.
To make this recipe Paleo:
Replace the lite rice vinegar with white wine vinegar. Also replace the gluten-free soy sauce with coconut aminos; you just might need to add sea salt to the dressing to compensate, because coconut aminos aren't as salty as soy sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 524Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 484mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 21g
Don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @allergyfreeak and #allergyfreealaska with your simple Asian cabbage salad pics!