Mandarin Orange Sesame Chicken Salad
Raise your hand if you think salads are boring. Now put your hand down, because giiirrllll we need to chat.
If you think salads are boring, you’re probably thinking a bed of lettuce, a few croutons, maybe a tomato slice here and there - topped with ranch dressing.
When I say salad… I’m thinking a variety of crunchy, fresh greens, a mix of possible proteins, fruits, nuts, and a rich and tasty homemade dressing that brings all of the other flavors right to the surface.
Now if that doesn’t sound too boring, then let’s talk about this amazing, robust Mandarin Orange Sesame Chicken Salad. Because it has all the right mixin’s to make you think flavor, crunch, zest, and a fully, happy belly.
I first tried this salad a few weeks ago, when I decided to try an Elimination Food Plan.
Unfortunately, the food plan itself was just a bit too strict for my liking - but this salad that I had during week one was just right.
While the salad is perfect as is - I think my favorite thing about it, is that there’s so many possible variations!
The salad base is a bed of shredded carrots and red and green cabbage (a cruciferous veggie with an endless amount of benefits!), but if you want to reduce the cabbage or nix it all together, you can substitute any of your favorite greens to spice things up a little.
Is cabbage a part of your regular diet? I can honestly say it was never a regular part of mine until recently!
Because cabbage is the mainstay of this recipe, let’s talk about that a little…
Cabbage is loaded with antioxidants, basically helping to protect your body from the destruction toxins and stress.
It helps to suppress inflammation, which can lead to cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.
Loaded with fiber, it’s extremely beneficial to your digestion. In a fermented form, it’s a great source of probiotics and helps boost gut health and immunity.
It’s a low calorie, low carbohydrate food - so you can enjoy it freely without worry!
It’s one of the most affordable veggies!
The protein is shredded chicken, but you can absolutely substitute pork if you like! I used my favorite chicken, robust with flavor from the Instant Pot Whole Chicken I cooked the day before. Using a pre-cooked chicken certainly simplifies the process, just be sure to make your own or find chicken without preservatives and added sugar.
Finally, it’s topped off with mandarin oranges, almond slivers, cilantro, and the super simple, zesty homemade dressing.
Now… doesn’t that sound good? Good, let’s get to the recipe then!
Mandarin Orange Sesame Chicken Salad
prep time: 30 minutes
cook time: ---
total time: 30 minutes
- 1/2 Red Cabbage, diced
- 1/2 Green Cabbage, diced
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- 2 cups matchstick carrots OR 10 Large Carrots, peeled & shredded (I used a potato peeler)
- 1 cup almond slivers
- 6-8 peeled mandarin oranges
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/3 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Remove outer layer leaves of cabbage. Cut each cabbage head in half. Dice each half into bite size pieces. Add to large bowl.
- If chicken is recently cooked, allow to cool to room temperature
- If using refrigerated chicken and serving immediately, slightly heat chicken.
- Combine with shredded chicken, carrots, mandarin oranges, almond slivers, and chopped cilantro. Mix well.
- Mix dressing ingredients in mixing bowl
- Pour over salad, mix together well!
A few notes:
- Before getting started, review the ingredients carefully. There may be a few new ones to you - but don’t worry, they’re a great addition to your pantry!
- You may consider adding only half of the dressing at first and mixing well to determine how much you prefer for your tastes.
- If you will be the only one enjoying this delicious salad, note that it does make a large salad! You may consider doing one of two things:
Cut the ingredients in half (including the dressing!)
Prepare the dressing on the side - this will allow you to refrigerate both salad and dressing, without your salad wilting over 2-3 days.
- If you’re sharing this with family - grab your bowl quick because it will go fast!