This Chinese Chicken Salad is one of our favorite 90’s throwback recipes. First of all…it’s called Chinese Chicken Salad. It’s not even a real salad, but I just couldn’t call it by a different name. If I am going to live in a world where this is considered salad…I’m ok with that. We can continue to discuss why this salad isn’t very PC…but instead I’m just going to stop there and say…Long live the 90’s.
Years later, I can see why my mom made this “salad” all of the time. It’s super easy to throw together, it only gets better after a day in the fridge, and it’s a cure-all for the famous “there’s nothing to eat around here.” Work lunches? Check! Late night cravings? Check! It really is the quintessential salad to eat while standing in front of an open fridge door. Chinese Chicken Salad is a classic for a reason!
We haven’t made many changes since the 90’s, because it’s pretty darn good just the way it is. These days I make it with whole wheat pasta, and after taking the photos we realized sesame seeds were a pretty necessary addition. And Sriracha, did it even exist in the 90’s?!? My mind wants to think it did exist before internet memes and before the obsession got a little out of control, but of course, nobody really remembers life before the internet, or Sriracha. Wait…
Chinese Chicken Salad
Makes about 6-8 Servings
- 1 (12 oz) package whole wheat angel hair pasta
- 3-4 chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup diced green onions
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (cherry tomatoes also work well here)
- 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (I used ones that weren’t packed in oil, if that’s all you have, that’s ok – just drain them well)
for the dressing:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- 2/3 cup rice vinegar
- sriracha to add to the finished salad for some kick
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- baby corn, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- if anyone has any other add-in ideas, let me know!
Prepare the chicken: Do whatever way is easiest for you. I preheated the oven to 400F and added some salt and some asian spice seasoning I had to the chicken and baked them until they were done, about 20 minutes. You can poach the chicken, use rotisserie chicken, whatever works! Just make sure the chicken is cooked. This would not but good with raw chicken.
Add all of the dressing ingredients to a jar, close the lid, and shake! I suppose you could whisk everything together, but vigorously shaking this dressing in a jar is the only way we have ever done it. Make sure you give the dressing enough time to marinate, you want to make sure all the sugar gets dissolved.
Cook pasta according to package instructions and drain. Add pasta to a large bowl, shake the dressing one more time, and add about half of it to the pasta and mix well. Dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pasta. Add the green onion, tomatoes, and sundried tomatoes. Add the rest of the dressing and mix well again. While you can serve immediately, this salad usually tastes better after a night in the refrigerator. Lasts in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.