It’s rare that I’ll have a salad as a full meal. I love it on the side of something hot, but a salad on its own as an entire meal often feels a bit disappointing to a hearty eater like myself. However, this Asian Chicken Salad recipe is definitely one of the few exceptions that I am more than happy to make. It contains such an incredible medley of vegetables, giving this meal so much color and texture that it feels so satisfying.
You can really choose any variety of vegetables for this salad; they definitely don’t have to be “Asian” in any way. My personal preference is to choose items that have a good crunch and can hold up for a few days in the fridge since I like to pack up several containers of this salad for pre-prepped lunches. My standard combination are: romaine lettuce, napa cabbage, red peppers, sugar snap peas, grated carrots, and green onions (aka scallions). Regardless of the combo, I definitely include sliced mint, which adds just the right herbal note to the blend.
For the protein, I typically go for chicken or tofu but skirt steak, pork tenderloin, and shrimp are all great candidates as well. Whatever protein you decide to use, begin by marinating it with a splash of soy sauce. Use a grill pan to give it a some grill marks and then finish cooking it in the oven.
While the ingredients are completely up to you to personalize, this salad is tied together with a classic Asian-styled vinaigrette made up of equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar with about twice the amount of canola oil. If I’m already using green onions in my salad, I’ll include the chopped white parts of the green onion in my vinaigrette. This is easily a vinaigrette you can make a larger batch of and always have it ready to up the flavor on just about anything you’re eating.
Let us know what ingredients you’ll be including in your version of this Asian Chopped Salad in the comments below!
- Skin/bone-less chicken breasts – 1 lb.
- Soy sauce – 1 tbs. + 2 tbs.
- Mint, sliced into ribbons – 12 leaves
- Red peppers, sliced – 1
- Sugar snap peas, trimmed – ½ lb.
- Romaine hearts, chopped – 2
- Napa cabbage, sliced – ½ head
- Carrots, peeled & grated - 2
- Green onions, chopped – 1 bunch
- Grapeseed oil – 1 tbs.
- Rice vinegar – 2 tbs.
- Toasted sesame oil – 2 tsp.
- Canola oil – ¼ cup
- Chicken – Season with 1 tbs. soy sauce, some salt and pepper, and tenderize with a fork (See this video for more on seasoning and tenderizing proteins)
- Mint / Red peppers / Sugar snap peas / Romaine / Napa cabbage / Carrots – Prep as directed
- Green onions – Chop keeping white and green parts separate
- Heat oven to 375 degrees
- Heat an oven-proof pan (like a cast iron skillet, grill pan) over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbs. grapeseed oil and then chicken breasts to heated oil. Sear on both sides for ~2 to 3 minutes each until you get a deep golden color. Move into oven and then roast for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees
- Place sugar snap peas in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes. You want them to be cooked but still have a crunch
- Make dressing by mixing together 2 tbs. soy sauce, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil and white parts of green onions. Whisk in canola oil
- Slice chicken breast and toss all ingredients together with dressing or have everyone dress their own salads
- This also makes a great salad to bring to lunch. Keep dressing in a separate container and dress when you’re ready to eat. It’ll make your co-workers so jealous!