There is so much flavor and crunch in this Chinese Chicken Salad with Cashews, making it the perfect warm-weather lunch or dinner option! The homemade orange sesame dressing adds a fresh finishing touch to the sweet, savory, and satisfying meal.
Heads up! This recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad was originally published in June, 2014. The photos were updated in July, 2018.
I love a dish that combines a variety of textures and interesting flavors — especially salty and sweet together. With the rich sesame oil and fresh, sweet orange juice in the dressing, paired with the salty crunchy nuts, crisp veggies, and fresh orange slices in the salad, your taste buds will be singing a happy song!
I serve this as a make-ahead dinner, but the leftovers also work perfectly for lunch the next day. Plus, it’s hearty enough that even the men in my house consider it a real meal!
How do you make Chinese Chicken Salad?
It’s all about the toppings, friends! From the orange sesame dressing to the crisp, fresh vegetables, the sweet and juicy fruit, and the crunchy, buttery cashews, the combination of flavors and textures is what makes this Chinese Chicken Salad so delicious and satisfying.
I modeled my Chinese Chicken Salad after the entree salad from California Pizza Kitchen that I grew up on. I honestly haven’t been to that restaurant in about 20 years, but I still remember that salad!
The key ingredient, in my opinion, is definitely the toasted sesame oil that I use in the homemade Chinese salad dressing. It adds such a unique, rich flavor that I strongly urge you to use it in this dish. It just wouldn’t be the same without it!
And don’t worry — you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to use up the rest of the small bottle of sesame oil. From 10-Minute Oven-Roasted Sesame Broccoli to Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles and One Skillet “Egg Roll in a Bowl,” the ingredient will soon become a staple in your kitchen.
Serving the Chinese Chicken Salad to kids?
My boys like the “deconstructed” version — chicken, cashews, orange slices, peppers, and chow mein noodles — all served side by side in their own separate piles. Hey, whatever it takes!
The recipe makes more dressing than I ever need, so save the extra in a jar in your refrigerator and enjoy it throughout the week. It’s so tasty!
If you’re enjoying entree salads this season, you’ll also love these easy recipes — there’s a cuisine to keep your tastebuds happy every night of the week!
If you’ve tried this Chinese Chicken Salad with Cashews or any other recipe on The Seasoned Mom, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! You can follow me on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest, and on Twitter!
Chinese Chicken Salad with Cashews
With so many layers of flavor and so many delicious textures, this Chinese Chicken Salad with Cashews is a perfectly satisfying warm weather meal!
- 4 cups diced, cooked chicken (grilled chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken work well)
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup salted cashews
- 1 cup Chinese chow mein noodles
For the Orange Sesame Dressing:
- ¼ cup sesame oil
- ¼ cup olive oil or avocado oil
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
To prepare dressing:
Add all ingredients to a jar with a tight lid and shake until completely combined. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.
To prepare salad:
- In a large bowl, toss together chicken, celery, lettuce, bell peppers, onions, and oranges.
- Add enough of the dressing to lightly coat. Chill, covered, for up to 2 hours (or serve immediately).
- When ready to serve, divide evenly between four plates and garnish with cashews and chow mein noodles.
For a lighter salad, try decreasing the amount of cashews and chow mein noodles that you use on top. You can also cut the dressing to 1 tablespoon per serving.