This year, I’ve been making a conscious effort to increase my daily greens! And I’ve been doing that by eating a salad as a main course at least once a week.
I’m not talking about eating wimpy salads that consist of nothing but lettuce and dressing. I’m talking entrée salads. Salads with plenty of texture, color and of course, major flavor. I need my salad to be crunchy, creamy, sweet and salty. And, it must have fruit and greenery (of course).
This Asian chicken salad with creamy sesame dressing has ALL of that. It’s made up of crunchy cabbage, toasted cashews and sesame seeds, carrots, cilantro, green onions and sweet mandarins. Then, it’s topped with a sweet and savory sesame dressing.
Let’s talk about this creamy dressing for a minute. It’s a little sweet, a little salty and has just the right amount of umami. I use nut butter for creaminess so this dressing is completely dairy-free. You can use cashew butter, almond butter or peanut butter. It also has some major flavor ingredients packed in: rice wine vinegar, coconut aminos (or soy sauce), sesame oil, ginger and honey.
I got the majority of the ingredients used in this recipe from ALDI. They have such a great produce section and their organic and gluten-free options seem to expand every time I visit. You can even find a big selection of nuts and nut butters there. These are typically higher priced items elsewhere, but at ALDI you can get them for less than what you’ll find at other stores (I’m pretty much obsessed with their cashew butter – try my cashew butter blondies for dessert!).
If you want to eat healthier while still feeling satisfied then this is the salad to make. I like topping mine with grilled chicken for extra protein but you can leave it out if you want to. For a quick-fix, use some pre-cooked rotisserie chicken instead.
Asian Chicken Salad
- ½ cup unsalted whole cashews cut in half or roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 chicken breasts grilled and sliced (or use leftover chicken)
- ½ head cabbage thinly sliced
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- 4 mandarins peeled and cut into segments
- ½ cup olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons cashew or almond butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the cashews and sesame seeds on a small baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss the cabbage, carrots, cilantro leaves and green onions in a large bowl. Top with grilled chicken and mandarins.
- Add all of the dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined; drizzle on top of the salad.
- Garnish with cashews and sesame seeds and serve.