This Asian Chicken Salad uses a special technique of “marinating” the cabbage in dressing so it’s tender and easy to chew. The end result is a salad that is still crunchy, colorful, nutrient-packed and oh so delicious.

A large oval-shaped dark platter topped with Asian Salad.

This Asian Salad is the most colorful and crunchy!

As much as I love colorful chopped salads, they don’t always love me back. As a longtime sufferer of TMJ, sometimes they are just too dang hard on my jaw. So much chewing!

So, when making salads, especially with cabbage, I’ve started “marinating” the cabbage in a bit of dressing for a short time, while I prepare the rest of the ingredients needed for the meal.

The marination step in this Asian Chicken Salad doesn’t totally break down the cabbage and make it mushy, but it does tenderize it just enough to where the salad is easy to eat, and full of big flavor, too!

Why you will love this Asian Chicken Salad

  • Loaded with a variety of vegetables, this salad is not only delicious but it’s nutrient-packed!
  • This recipe is versatile enough to serve as a light lunch, refreshing side dish, or crowd-pleasing potluck contribution.
Ingredients laid out on a light surface, including cabbage, chicken, green onions, edamame, spices, red bell pepper, carrots and cilantro.

Asian Salad Recipe ingredients

  • cabbage – I like to use a combination of red and green cabbage to make my salad super colorful, but you can use all green, if you prefer.
  • chicken thighs – the primary protein source for the salad.
  • garlic powder, salt and pepper – for seasoning the chicken before roasting it.
  • green onions – for a milld onion flavor that isn’t overwhelming.
  • carrots – add sweetness and a vibrant orange color.
  • red bell pepper – provide a sweet and juicy crunch.
  • chow mein noodles – these really amp up the salad’s crunchy texture.
  • cilantro – adds a herbaceous note.
  • edamame – adds another boost of protein and a unique texture.
  • salted roasted peanuts – adds a salty and nutty flavor, as well as crunch.
  • dressing – use my homemade Asian Salad Dressing or a store-bought version.
A dark round bowl filled with an Asian salad recipe.

Asian Cabbage Salad Substitutions

  • GREENS – Instead of cabbage, shredded lettuce works for this Asian salad recipe as well.
  • CHICKEN – If you prefer chicken breast instead of chicken thighs, go for it!
  • BELL PEPPER – You don’t have to use red. Green, orange or yellow peppers are all great.
  • CRUNCH – Crispy wonton strips can be used in place of chow mein noodles.
  • NUTS – Cashews or almonds are great if you can’t use peanuts.

How to make Asian Chopped Salad

A glass bowl filled with green cabbage and purple cabbage, with a spoon drizzling sesame dressing over it.

1. CABBAGE. Place both types of cabbage in a large bowl and toss the cabbage together with half of the Asian salad dressing. Let this sit to allow the cabbage to marinate and soften a little while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

A glass bowl filled with raw chicken thighs sprinkled with seasonings.

2. SEASON. Toss the chicken thighs with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Six cooked chicken thighs on a rimmed baking pan.

3. ROAST. Transfer the chicken to the oven and roast until cooked through. Let cool 5 minutes before chopping the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

A glass bowl filled with chicken, red peppers, chow mein noodles, green onions, cilantro, carrots, cabbage, edamame and roasted peanuts.

4. TOSS. Add the green onions, carrots, bell pepper, chow mein noodles, cilantro, edamame, peanuts, chopped chicken and remaining salt to the cabbage mixture. Toss until everything is well combined. Taste and add more dressing if you think if needs it.

A glass bowl filled with chicken, red peppers, chow mein noodles, green onions, cilantro, carrots, cabbage, edamame and roasted peanuts, tossed together.

Home Chef Tips for this Asian Chicken Salad Recipe

  • Prepare the dressing in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for an easier weeknight meal.
  • Feel free to omit the chicken or substitute tofu for a vegetarian alternative.
  • If you have a food processor, use the shredding blade to shred the cabbage and carrots for this Asian cabbage salad.
A dark round bowl filled with Asian cabbage salad.

How to store Asian Salad

If you plan to store the salad for later consumption or think that you might have leftovers, I recommend tossing only as much as you think you’ll eat together with the dressing, as dressed salad becomes quite soggy in the fridge.

Refrigerate the extra components separately and toss them together right before serving the Asian Salad to maintain optimal crunch.

A dark round bowl filled with an Asian chicken salad recipe.
A dark round bowl filled with an Asian chicken salad recipe.

Asian Chopped Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 36 minutes

This Asian Chicken Salad uses a special technique of "marinating" the cabbage in dressing so it's tender and easy to chew. The end result is a salad that is still crunchy, colorful, nutrient-packed and oh so delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 batch (3/4 cup) Asian Salad Dressing
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chow mein noodles or crispy wonton strips
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup edamame (thawed if necessary)
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place green cabbage and red cabbage in large bowl. Pour half of Asian Salad Dressing over cabbage and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Spray large rimmed baking pan with cooking spray. Add chicken, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper to medium bowl and toss until well combined. Arrange in even layer on prepared pan. Transfer to oven and cook 16 to 18 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before chopping into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add green onions, carrots, red bell pepper, chow mein noodles, cilantro, edamame, peanuts, chicken, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to cabbage. Toss until well combined. Taste and add more Asian Salad Dressing to your preference. Serve immediately. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 457Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 836mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 7gSugar: 11gProtein: 16g

This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. Nutrition information does not include any optional ingredients or toppings. You should calculate the nutrition information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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