This Sesame Chicken Salad recipe is perfectly crunchy, creamy, sweet, savory, and tossed with my favorite quick sesame vinaigrette.
Meet the crispy, crunchy, fresh and flavorful sesame chicken salad that I have made a million times over the years. And will surely continue to make a million more. ♡
What can I say — I will always love a good green salad with sesame vinaigrette!
That said, while I’ve mixed and matched many different ingredients to go in this basic salad over the years, I have to say that this is the classic combo that just works for me. We’re talkin’ lots of crisp salad greens (either a basic cabbage coleslaw or some crisp shredded Romaine), whatever shredded or diced chicken you have on hand (I most often shred a rotisserie or make some baked chicken breasts), lots of creamy diced avocado, crunchy shredded carrots, a generous helping of fresh cilantro and green onions, toasty sliced almonds, and my go-to simple sesame vinaigrette.
All together, these simple ingredients combine to create a light, bright, and perfectly-balanced green salad that I always find to be so satisfying. And it always, always hits the spot.
Who’s ready for some salad?!
Sesame Chicken Salad Ingredients:
Alright, a few quick notes about what’s in this sesame chicken salad recipe…
Coleslaw: To make things easy, just grab a bag of coleslaw mix. Or, you are welcome shred your own cabbage (green, red, or a blend) or some sort of lettuce (Romaine is great here).
Chicken: Diced, shredded, or whatever you happen to have on hand! I used some diced baked chicken breasts that I had in the freezer, but you could also grill chicken or shred a rotisserie.
Cilantro: I seem to add more and more cilantro every time I make this salad, and love the fresh flavor it adds here. That said, if you have an aversion to cilantro, feel free to just leave it out.
Green onions: I thinly-sliced a few green onions for this recipe. But you could also thinly-slice or dice red onions instead.
Sliced or slivered almonds: Which I highly recommend toasting briefly before adding them to the salad, to bring out their best flavor. I just spread mine out on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 5-8 minutes until they are lightly toasted and fragrant. (You could also toast them in a skillet on the stovetop.)
Shredded carrots: To add some extra color and crunch.
Avocado: To add some extra creaminess.
Sesame seeds: White, black or a blend of both — which we will use as a garnish to add some extra sesame flavor and crunch.
Sesame vinaigrette: Made with oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup (or honey), toasted sesame oil, ground ginger, garlic and black pepper.
How To Make This Salad:
Easy breezy! To make this salad, simply…
Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl (or shake together in a mason jar) until combined.
Toss the salad: Combine the coleslaw, chicken, cilantro, green onions, almonds, carrots and avocado togehter in a large mixing bowl, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and toss until combined
Serve: Serve the salad immediately, sprinkled with sesame seeds as a garnish.
Want to customize this sesame salad a bit? Feel free to…
Use a different protein: Shrimp, steak, salmon, pork, or tofu would all be delicious substitutions for the chicken.
Use different greens: Chopped Romaine or other lettuces or cabbages would also work well in this salad.
Use different nuts: Peanuts or cashew would also be great substitutions for almonds.
Add fruit: Diced mango, pineapple, oranges, pears, or Mandarin oranges would all be great in this salad too.
Add crunchy noodles or wonton strips: Crunchy chow mein noodles or crispy fried wonton strips would also give this salad some delicious extra crunch.
Make it vegetarian: Feel free to use crispy baked tofu or any other plant-based proteins in place of the chicken. Or just skip the extra protein entirely.
Make it gluten-free: Just be sure to use gluten-free tamari in place of soy sauce.