Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing
Tuesday, August 7, 2018 Cooking
This Chinese Chicken Salad takes the healthier high road than the heavier versions I always see at those popular food chains that everyone loves. But this one with crunchy romaine, wontons, and an almond crunch, topped with protein-packed chicken breast, pasta noodles, and a flavor-flav sesame dressing.
Lighter fare that totally satisfies is what I’m craving now. And as summer’s flowy skirts and loose-fitting shift dresses morph into fall’s jeans and thigh hugging pants, it seems lighter food is part of my weekly anthem.
And that’s where my all-time favorite—and healthier—Chinese Chicken Salad comes in.
I’ve updated this recipe post because I refer to it all the time and it needed some updated love.
I CRAVE this salad, and it’s one I love to make for ladies lunches or for a simple, and lighter meal for a crowd. Because who doesn’t love a good Chinese Chicken Salad anyway?
Since I don’t live in the same states as the restaurants where I used to pick them up for lunch anymore, I’ve created a tasty homage to two of my favorite Chinese chicken salad spots, and man, they are on point.
I based this salad on two of my Los Angeles quick eats faves: Feast from the East where they use it to dress crunchy romaine topped with their lightly fried and highly addictive wonton strips, but I added rotini pasta noodles ala the Chinese Chicken Salad from California Chicken Cafe.
Good thing I had these food memories embedded in my taste buds so I could replicate.
How to Make a Healthier Chinese Chicken Salad
I know this may not sound like 100% healthy-for-you food (fried wontons?), but moderation is my favorite friend.
So, as long as you watch your portion size, the amount of dressing you use, and the number of crunchy wontons you top it with, you’ll still be in the zone and your cravings will be 100% satisfied yet still healthified.
Because the ingredients have true staying power, this salad is so easy to meal prep for the week and have everything ready to go.
- romaine lettuce
- chicken breast
- green onions
- rotini pasta (use whole wheat or gluten free if you prefer)
- sliced almonds
- fried wontons (you can leave these off, but they’re so good that moderation is my favorite ingredient too 🙂 )
I’m a fan of meal prepping a few chicken breasts for the week to have them on hand for quick lunches and easy dinners, and this recipe is exactly one reason why.
And of course a grocery store rotisserie chicken will always save a few extra minutes in the kitchen. I used just one chicken breast for these salads and saved the rest for the lunch leftovers.
The spiraled rotelle pasta that tops the crunchy romaine plus the spunky green onion are probably my favorite additions to this salad. While you could skip the rotelle pasta, I don’t.
How to Make the Sesame Dressing
This dressing is the key to the flavor for this salad. It’s incredibly easy to make and takes just a few minutes to shake into shape.
Simply add the following ingredients to a small jar with a lid and shake. Or, of course you can whisk away if you’d like.
- grapeseed oil — it has a milder flavor than olive oil. You can use canola oil if you’d like too.
- seasoned rice vinegar — get the seasoned version, not the unseasoned
- sesame oil
- light soy sauce
- sesame seeds
- fresh ground pepper and kosher salt
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing
- For the Salad
- 12 3-inch wonton skins, sliced into ¼″ strips
- ¼ cup canola or corn oil for frying
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 chicken breast, shredded
- 2 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted lightly
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 cups cooked fusilli pasta noodles, cooled
- For the Dressing
- 1½ tablespoons grapeseed oil or canola oil
- 6 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (add more to taste if you prefer a strong sesame taste)
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat canola or corn oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, fry the wonton skins in batches of 5-7 strips for 30 seconds each side or until lightly browned, working quickly so they don’t burn. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels until cooled.
- In a large bowl, combine lettuce, chicken breast, green onion, almonds, and pasta.
- Add the dressing ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until until well mixed or whisk in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Dress the lettuce mixture with 2-3 tablespoons of sesame dressing and top with more sesame seeds, wonton strips, and serve.
Serving size: serves 2
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