A forkful of mandarin chicken salad rests atop a single serving bowl of salad.

During my dieting years, I considered salads an obligation food—something I had to choke down to “earn” my other food. Understandably, salads eventually started feeling like a punishment, and that led to years of getting exactly zero enjoyment out of a big bowl of fresh veggies.

But thankfully, the mind and soul eventually heal from diet culture, and I’m happy to say I am fully, completely, head-over-heels in love with salads now! I now eat salad because it makes my heart and soul happy, not out of any sense of dietary obligation. And that’s easy to do when you have a salad as robust, flavorful, and beautiful as this Chopped Chinese Chicken Salad!

It’s easy to appreciate the wonderful crunch of crisp Napa cabbage and crispy chow mein noodles. What’s not to love about the sweet, juicy explosion of mandarin oranges and the tender, savory bites of chicken? I love the way our homemade Asian salad dressing smoothly drizzles on top. This is a salad that inspires joy. To me, this is nourishment in a bowl—nourishment for your mind, body, and soul.

Overhead of large serving bowl of finished chicken salad and arranged around it are the homemade dressing, fresh cilantro, and crunchy chow mein noodles to garnish.

We know this isn’t traditional Chinese fare, but the flavor profile was inspired by common ingredients from Chinese and other Asian cuisines—soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and sesame. We are grateful to have so much wonderful inspirations from across the globe to help us in our recipe creation!

How do I make this Chinese chicken salad?

If you’re starting with already cooked chicken, you only need about 10 minutes of prep time to be on your way to a delicious Chinese chicken salad lunch:

  1. Make the dressing. Blend the dressing ingredients on high in a blender until smooth.
  2. Mix it together. Stir the dressing in to the cabbage, oranges, chicken, and green onions until everything is coated with the dressing. Stick it in the fridge for 30+ minutes.
  3. Add some crunch. Right at serving time, add the crunchy almonds and chow mein noodles. Enjoy!

Two hands holding wooden salad servers toss a single serving of mandarin chicken salad with homemade dressing.

Talk to me about this Asian salad dressing!

This dressing is so darn good, you might find yourself just dipping a spoon in the bottle. It’s a breeze to mix up, but it does require some special ingredients that you can grab from either your local Asian grocery store or the international food section of your supermarket. Once you have them on hand, they are shelf-stable for a long while, so you can make this dressing at will. Here’s what you’ll need for the dressing:

Homemade salad dressing in a glass bottle with fresh cilantro lying beside it.

Do you eat it hot or cold?

This chopped salad is meant to be eaten cold, although if your chicken is still warm from cooking, that’ll work perfectly fine on top!

What do you serve with Chinese chicken salad?

This hearty chopped salad is a great light lunch or light dinner on its own! Add some crackers, breadsticks, or bread alongside to fill it out for a more hearty dinner.

Close-up of a single serving of mandarin chicken salad in a bowl with dressing on top.

Can I use rotisserie chicken?

Absolutely! Rotisserie chicken is one of our favorite cooking shortcuts, and it works great in this Chinese chicken salad.

Can I meal prep this?

A salad in a jar is one of our go-to meal prep recipes. In fact, the flavor gets even better after some time in the fridge! Just hold off on adding the almonds and chow mein noodles until right before serving, or they will lose their crunch.

How long is mandarin chicken salad good for?

Theoretically, you can make this up to 5 days in advance. But honestly? It rarely makes it that long—it’s too good to leave languishing in the fridge!



A forkful of mandarin chicken salad rests atop a single serving bowl of salad.

Chopped Chinese Chicken Salad with Mandarin Oranges

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This Chopped Chinese Chicken Salad is packed with flavor thanks to an easy-to-make Asian salad dressing and sweet Mandarin oranges.


For the Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2" piece fresh ginger (about 1 tablespoon minced)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey OR 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Salad

  • 1 small head Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can mandarin oranges in juice, drained
  • 3 cups cooked, chopped chicken (rotisserie chicken works great for this)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 2 cups chow mein noodles, optional, leave out for a gluten-free salad
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


  1. Combine all ingredients for the dressing in the carafe of a blender. Blend on high until very smooth, and set aside.
  2. To make the salad, combine the cabbage, oranges, chicken, and green onions. Toss with the dressing to coat. Let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  3. Just before serving, top with toasted almonds and chow mein noodles.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 765Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 1283mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 8gSugar: 31gProtein: 36g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. 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!

  2. Made granola bars and plain quinoa. Bars go in the freezer and the quinoa is a side dish one day, and filler added to my sloppy joes later in the week. Yum!

  3. 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. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. This looks amazing! I’m obsessed with takeout cashew chicken right now – maybe this will keep me from ordering so often!