Oh my gosh, is it HOT outside! We hit 104º today! Whew! It’s even too hot to expend the energy fanning yourself! I needed to prepare something cool and refreshing for dinner but I didn’t want to work hard making it. Something quick and easy was in order. Enter my “Quick and Easy Chinese Chicken Salad.” What I love best about this salad is there’s very little prep needed if you buy pre-shredded rotisserie chicken, pre-cut lettuce, shredded carrots, and bottled dressing like I did! Then you literally just need to stack the water chestnut slices to cut them in half, and chop up the cilantro. Easy, peasy!
The dressing recipe I have here is a pretty simple one to make but if you really want to save time and effort, there are a lot of excellent bottled Chinese Chicken Salad Dressings out on the market. Just buy yourself a bottle and skip making it from scratch. Trust me, it’ll turn out just fine.
QUICK AND EASY CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD
For the Salad:
- 1 rotisserie chicken, or 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
- 1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into bite sized pieces
- ¾ cup shredded carrots
- 1 small can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained and cut in half
- 1 small can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup canned crunchy chow mein noodles (can substitute ⅔ cup slivered almonds)
- 2-3 tbsps. toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
For the Dressing:
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup rice vinegar (plain or seasoned)
- 3 tbsps. soy sauce
- 1½ tbsps. sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. peeled, grated fresh ginger
- ½ tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- If using rotisserie chicken: Remove chicken meat from the bones and shred into bite-sized pieces. (I buy it already pre-shredded at Costco.)
If using boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Drizzle chicken with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and bake at 350ºF until chicken is just cooked through, about 30-40 minutes. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces.
- Make dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
- Place chicken, lettuce, carrots, water chestnuts, mandarin oranges, cilantro and chow mein noodles in a large salad bowl.
- Pour dressing over everything and toss together gently.
- Serve in individual salad bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
- Salad can be served cold or at room temperature.
Note: For those of you who’ve asked me, one of my favorite bottled chinese chicken salad dressings is “Joey D’s Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing & Marinade.” It’s really good, but I’m sure there are others just as good out there. Use your favorite one.