I've been on a salad kick lately, so this asian chicken salad with homemade peanut cilantro dressing really hit the spot. It's loaded with vegetables, and the dressing is so so good. The salad is similar to the chopped salad kits you can get at the grocery store (shoutout to the Taylor Farms Asian Chopped Salad Kit), but so much better. The dressing was inspired by the peanut cilantro dressing on the Santa Fe Salad at the Cheesecake Factory, which is perfect with the Asian-inspired flavors in this salad. Best of all, it comes together in about 20 minutes, which makes it perfect for a quick and healthy weeknight meal.
Can I add a protein to this salad?
You sure can! I topped it with our delicious Easy Marinated Pan-Seared Chicken Breast to make it a meal, but it's also great as a side salad or vegetarian meal. It would also be great with grilled chicken, shredded rotisserie chicken, or any leftover chicken you have on hand. I haven't tried it, but I bet it would also be great with some teriyaki or bbq marinated shrimp or salmon.
Here's what's in this chopped salad.
The salad ingredients:
We've chosen simple ingredients for this salad that we tend to enjoy. If your family likes different vegetables than us, then feel free to swap things out and make this salad your own. If you're gluten-free, peanuts or almonds would be a great alternative to the chow mein noodles.
- Broccoli slaw. You can buy this in a bag at the grocery store. I love throwing it into my salads for some extra veggies and crunch.
- Romaine lettuce. You can buy pre-chopped or whole romaine hearts--we usually buy the hearts because they tend to be a little cheaper.
- Chow mein noodles. You want the crunchy noodles, usually sold in a can. They're generally in the Asian or international aisle at the grocery store.
- Mandarin oranges. We use canned mandarin oranges. Make sure you buy the ones that are canned in water instead of syrup--the added sugar just isn't necessary.
- Cilantro. Fresh is a must here.
- Bell pepper. Any color works--we use a mix of red, yellow, and orange.
The dressing ingredients:
This peanut cilantro vinaigrette is a tried and true recipe for us and tastes great on everything. I've been known to use the leftovers as a vegetable dipping sauce.
- Onion. We use a sweet onion--you can use whatever you like or have on hand.
- Jalapeño. If you don't like spicy food, you can omit this, but it really does add a lot of good flavor to the dressing.
- Honey. If you don't like (or have) honey, maple syrup is a good alternative.
- Rice vinegar. You could try regular white vinegar if you don't have rice vinegar on hand.
- Peanut butter. Use whatever you normally eat.
- Sesame oil
Here's how you make this Asian salad.
This chopped asian salad is super easy to make and tastes like the type of loaded salad you'd pay $15 for at your favorite restaurant.
- Make the spicy peanut cilantro vinaigrette.
Combine honey, water, rice vinegar, salt, peanut butter, sesame oil, jalapeño, onion, and cilantro in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- Chop the salad ingredients.
Finely chop the romaine lettuce, broccoli slaw, cilantro, and mandarin oranges and add to a large mixing bowl. Then finely dice the peppers and add those to the same bowl.
If you have a salad chopper, feel free to use that to chop your salad instead! Salad choppers are great little tools to have if you enjoy chopped salads often (which you should, because they're delicious and you get a little bit of everything in every bite).
- Compile the salad.
Add the dressing to the salad (use your desired amount) and mix until evenly coated. Then add the chow mein noodles and mix until combined. Serve immediately with chicken, shrimp, salmon or by itself.
Chopped Asian Salad with Spicy Peanut Cilantro Vinaigrette: FAQs
Yes! This dressing is also great with almond butter.
Yep! We love this with our Easy Marinated Pan-Seared Chicken Breast, but it'd also be great with rotisseries chicken, grilled chicken, or leftover chicken you already have on hand.
It'd be great with broccoli, sugar snap peas, carrots, peanuts, almonds, sesame seeds, or whatever else you can dream up!