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Cashew Chicken Salad with Mandarins

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cashew chicken salad

Recipe At-A-Glance

Enjoy this Cashew Chicken Salad with Mandarins on a salad, rye crisps, crackers, toasted bagels, or even straight-up.


Ready in 30 minutes

This salad makes me hopeful.

Not only did I make this salad this weekend (including chopping the peppers and green onion without gagging), but I also ate this salad. And it tasted good! And I didn’t even need to pick out the red peppers or the green onion to enjoy it. I ate healthy veggie-filled food! It’s a damn miracle. Maybe I’ve turned the corner on the evil morning sickness monster. Maybe my food aversions are fading away. Maybe I can start sharing more interesting recipes again.

*knocks feverishly on wood*

cashew chicken salad

We’ve been eating a lot of chicken salad in our house lately. In fact, we’ve been eating a lot of all kinds of ready-to-eat salads (tuna salad, egg salad, etc.) because it’s so easy to make up a big batch and then just eat on them all week long. My body is still mostly boycotting dinner—well, other than bowls of cereal and PB&J sandwiches—so getting something a little more substantial for lunch is a necessity for me. Plus, it gives Craig something that’s easy to grab when he is ready to eat some dinner.

cashew chicken salad

This cashew chicken salad is such a fun twist on your typical chicken salad. Usually, chicken salad is mostly chicken, with some other stuff tossed in. In this particular salad, the chicken works in harmony with tons of other delicious (and good for you) items—thinly sliced Napa cabbage, shredded carrots, julienned red peppers, chopped cashews. It all comes together to make this amazing collection of flavors and textures that is totally different from the chicken salad you’re used to. Adding all these extra veggies is a great way to stretch a few cups of cooked chicken out—instead of four servings that two cups of chicken might usually cover, this salad easily will serve 8-10.

cashew chicken salad

The nutty, rich dressing for this salad uses a few tablespoons of cashew butter. If you’ve never used cashew butter, it’s available nowadays at most grocery stores near the peanut butter (I think even Jif makes it now). And it’s crazy delicious. But cashew butter ain’t cheap, and if you don’t plan on using it for anything other than this salad, I can’t, in good conscience, ask you to shell out $8 for a tiny jar. Instead, my suggestion is to buy a bag of raw cashews and make your own cashew butter (which is easy peasy if you have a food processor or a high-speed blender). You’ll need the cashews for the salad anyway—just pick up a bit extra.

cashew chicken salad

Craig ate this salad atop of a bunch of salad greens. Since I’m still sans-salad greens, I ate mine straight-up. We’ll probably serve up leftovers on rye crisps, with crackers, and maybe even on a toasted bagel if we’re feeling crazy.

Because this could easily be considered a slaw (that happens to have chicken in it), you could also serve this as a side dish. Heck, you could even leave the chicken out completely and serve it as a side dish to these sticky chicken drumsticks (and then invite me over, please).

cashew chicken salad

Hopefully this the first of many regular recipes coming back into the rotation. Everyone please send lots of anti-morning sickness vibes my way. Keep the monster away!


Cashew Chicken Salad with Mandarins

Cashew Chicken Salad with Mandarins

Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Enjoy this Cashew Chicken Salad with Mandarins on a salad, rye crisps, crackers, toasted bagels, or even straight-up.


For the Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons cashew butter
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Salad:

  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, shredded or sliced thinly
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup julienne red bell pepper (about 1/2 large)
  • 1 cup Mandarin orange segments (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cashews


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the salad ingredients and toss until well-mixed. Pour the dressing over top, and toss to coat. Serve immediately, or let flavors meld for 30 minutes in fridge for best flavor.

Did anyone out there do any food prep over the weekend? What’d you make?

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

7 Responses
  1. I find that food prep over the weekend is COMPLETELY worth the effort! Being able to grab food on my way out the door in the morning that is delicious and healthy makes all the difference throughout the week.
    This weekend I made and portioned homemade applesauce for breakfast and mid morning snacks, made about 25 healthy candies (Sunbutter “reese’s” cups modified from Kellie’s Food to Glow) that are just scrumptious, and chicken curry with butternut squash “salsa” (I’m allergic to tomatoes) and lime rice for lunches! I also prepackaged my granola and pita chips for snacks. I’m all set for a good and healthy week!

  2. Crystal C.

    Looks tasty! As a vegetarian, and with a husband who is allergic to chicken, I might try this but leave out the chicken, like you suggested, as a side for dinner sometime…bet it would still be really good! Maybe with chickpeas in place of the chicken?! Yesterday I took the time to cut up veggies (carrots and celery…haven’t tackled the cauliflower yet, for some reason I don’t like cutting it up even though I like eating it) and hard boil some eggs for snacks. Also made some applesauce and froze it in ice cube trays for my 9 month old. I just take one or two cubes out the day before I need them, let them defrost in the fridge…easy peasy. Oh yeah, and made veggie and tofu spring rolls last night for dinner, which we also had for lunch today. Whew. 🙂 Hope your morning sickness is on it’s way out for good!

  3. Jill

    I knew the minute I saw this recipe in my inbox yesterday that I would love it! And I do…I just finished having it for lunch! You combined all of my favorite ingredients. This is a keeper and I will be making it again soon, thanks! I am sending anti-morning sickness vibes your way, big time!

  4. Meredith

    This recipe will be going in my belly tonight!

    We did some meal prep last weekend which consisted of Cherry, Chocolate Quinoa Bars, chopped celery, peppers and carrots, and overnight oats.

    Love your blog!

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