Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Yossy Arefi


For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (use gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 1 (1 1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce, plus more to taste (use gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil or other neutral oil

For the salad

  • 1 large napa cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds), outer leaves removed, head halved, and leaves shredded crosswise
  • 1 (3-pound) rotisserie chicken, chilled or at room temperature, meat pulled off the bones into bite-size pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots, or 4 medium carrots, julienned
  • 6 ounces sugar snap peas or snow peas, thinly sliced crosswise on the diagonal
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 cup salt-and-pepper candied cashews (see below) or roasted salted cashews, roughly chopped


MAKE THE DRESSING: In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, tahini, ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce. Gradually add the oil, whisking constantly. Taste the dressing and add another 1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce if you’d like it spicier.

ASSEMBLE THE SALAD: In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the chicken, carrots, peas, and 1 cup cilantro leaves. Within 15 minutes of serving, drizzle the salad with three-fourths of the dressing, add the cashews, and toss. Add the remaining dressing, if desired, then garnish with additional cilantro, and serve with more chili-garlic sauce on the side.

POTLUCK PREP: While the salad stays crunchy, it does tend to release a lot of water. For that reason, it’s best to dress it within a few minutes of serving it. If you’re traveling with the salad, put the dressing in a jar (which makes it easy to shake if it separates) and keep the cashews in a separate container. Then just bring it all together soon before serving.

Salt-and-Pepper Candied Cashews

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted unsalted cashews

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and boil over medium-high heat until a deep amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper, followed by the cashews. Quickly spread the cashews onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Let stand until cool, and then break up into pieces and serve.

POTLUCK PREP. The nuts can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Spread them on a baking sheet and dry them briefly in a 300°F oven if they become sticky.


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