I love ordering the Asian chicken salad when I go to Cheesecake Factory. My husband makes fun of me for ordering a salad when we go out to eat, but this one isn’t just a sad, cold pile of iceberg. It has such great texture and flavor, and it feels special.
I wanted to recreate an Asian chicken salad to prep for workweek lunches, and this one fit the bill beautifully. The chicken adds protein, the peanuts give great crunch, and the Mandarin oranges round out the mostly umami dish with welcome sweetness.
But…it took me a few tries to get the vinaigrette right. The Cheesecake Factory’s Asian chicken salad dressing is plum sauce-based, but I didn’t want that much sugar in mine. I prefer a dressing that’s a bit more on the savory side—especially if I’m eating it for lunch all week.
The dressing I made has just a bit of light brown sugar for sweetness, but relies largely on soy sauce, sesame seed oil, and apple cider vinegar to up the flavor ante. Feel free to adjust the dressing to your liking (I personally like a more acidic dressing, so add more olive or sesame oil if that’s your jam.)
To make this salad even speedier, use leftover rotisserie chicken. Make it vegetarian by opting for pan-fried tofu or shelled edamame.
Asian Chicken Salad
- 1 bag coleslaw mix (about 6-7 cups)
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts
- 1 can Mandarin oranges in water
- 5 scallions, diced
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seed oil
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup neutral olive oil
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Whisk together last 8 ingredients in a bowl.
Toss lettuce and chicken together in dressing. Top with oranges, chopped scallions, and peanuts. Serve immediately.