Asian Chicken Salad

Last updated: June 4th, 2024

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If you like the sesame chicken salad from Panera, you’ll love our Asian chicken salad! Made with fresh, healthy ingredients and a homemade sesame salad dressing, this recipe is the perfect summer lunch.

A Panera inspired Asian chicken salad on a plate

Our Panera-inspired Asian chicken salad recipe is made with healthy ingredients like cabbage, almonds, carrots, scallions, toasted sesame seeds, and wonton strips for crunchy textures and flavors that complement the juicy chicken and sesame dressing. It’s loosely based on Panera’s Asian sesame salad, but it’s more colorful and complex – which is why we love making it at home instead of ordering out!

So if you like Panera’s Asian sesame salad, you’ll love our easy and flavorful Asian chicken salad. It’s the perfect lighter dish for summer and makes a great lunch, whether you’re meal prepping for the work week or lunching on a sunny Saturday in your backyard.

Asian Chicken Salad Recipe Ingredients

Our Asian chicken salad also features homemade sesame chicken, which you can easily make with just 5 ingredients:

  • Chicken breast
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Minced garlic
  • Sesame oil

To assemble the salad, you’ll need: 

  • Chopped hearts of romaine
  • Red cabbage
  • Almonds
  • Shredded carrots
  • Scallions
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Wonton strips
  • Sesame salad dressing (see below)
An Asian sesame chicken salad on a plate

Panera Inspired Asian Sesame Salad Dressing Recipe

Since we wanted to make a Panera style Asian chicken salad at home, we came up with our own version of their sesame dressing. It’s not quite the same as Panera’s, but we’ll argue it’s even more flavorful – and it’s made with less ingredients!

Here’s what you’ll need to make the sesame salad dressing:

  • Rice vinegar
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Low sodium soy sauce

That’s it – just 4 ingredients! And it’s super easy to make, too. All you need is a jar and a measuring spoon:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a mason jar (tip: you can use the measurement lines on the jar to measure out the rice vinegar and hoisin sauce).
  2. Seal the lid tightly and shake to combine.
  3. Refrigerate until needed.
A jar of homemade sesame salad dressing with a spoon for serving

How To Make A Healthy Asian Chicken Salad

It’s easy to make this Asian chicken salad recipe in just about 30 minutes. Start by prepping the chicken and chopping all the veggies while the chicken marinates, then simply cook the chicken and assemble the salad.

Here is a step-by-step guide to making our Asian chicken salad:

  1. First, prepare the sesame chicken. Slice the chicken into bite-size pieces, then combine in a bowl with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, minced garlic, and sesame oil. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. 
  2. Prep the salad ingredients while the chicken marinates. Chop the romaine, cabbage, and almonds and slice the scallions. Toast the sesame seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes or so, giving them a shake every few minutes to ensure even toasting. Mix up the salad dressing if you haven’t done so already.
  3. Next, cook the chicken in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain the excess liquid, and set the chicken aside.
  4. Finally, assemble the salad. Layer romaine and cabbage as a base, and top with chicken, almonds, carrots, scallions, toasted sesame seeds, and wonton strips. Drizzle with sesame dressing and serve immediately.
A homemade Panera inspired Asian chicken salad with sesame dressing

Asian Sesame Chicken Salad Serving Suggestions

This healthy salad is so satisfying, you can serve it for either lunch or dinner – one of the reasons we love salad recipes with chicken! It’ll fill you up without weighing you down, and it’s so flavorful you won’t mind having salad for your main course.

This recipe is also great for your weekly meal prep. Cook a large batch of chicken at the beginning of the week, prep all the produce and salad toppings, and partially assemble a few salads for easy refrigerator meals. Here are our recommendations on how to meal prep these Asian chicken salads:

  • Mix together the romaine, cabbage, carrots, and scallions to cut down on some of the work later on in the week.
  • Store the chicken and the salad dressing in separate containers in the fridge.
  • Store the almonds, sesame seeds, and wonton strips in separate containers at room temperature.
  • When you’re packing lunch for the day or ready to eat, add the chicken, almonds, sesame seeds and wonton strips to the pre-mixed veggies. Drizzle with sesame dressing and enjoy!
Asian chicken salad with a jar of sesame dressing

Storing Leftovers

If you have any leftover salad, we recommend storing some of the ingredients separately to prevent things from getting soggy. Store the chicken, salad dressing, almonds, sesame seeds, and wonton strips all in separate containers. (The romaine, cabbage, carrots, and scallions can get mixed together if you want – see our notes on meal prep above!).

The chicken and sesame dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store the almonds, sesame seeds, and wonton strips at room temperature. When you want to eat the leftovers, you can either assemble everything cold or reheat the chicken. Warm it in the microwave for about 30 seconds per serving, or in a small frying pan over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes.

If you’re a fan of Panera’s Asian sesame salad, you’re going to love this Asian chicken salad! Try our recipe and don’t forget to rate, comment, and share. We’d love to hear what you think!


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5 from 1 vote

Asian Chicken Salad

If you like the sesame chicken salad from Panera, you'll love our Asian chicken salad! Made with fresh, healthy ingredients and a homemade sesame salad dressing, this recipe is the perfect summer lunch.
Servings 3 salads
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

Sesame Salad Dressing

  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

Sesame Chicken

  • ¾ lb chicken breast chopped into bite-size pieces (about 1 inch diameter)
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp sesame oil

Salad

  • 9 oz chopped hearts of romaine
  • ¼ head red cabbage chopped
  • ½ cup chopped almonds
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 3 medium scallions sliced
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Wonton strips

Instructions

Sesame Salad Dressing

  • To make the salad dressing, combine rice vinegar, hoisin, sesame oil, and soy sauce in a jar. Seal tightly and shake vigorously to combine. Refrigerate until needed, and stir or shake before using.

Sesame Chicken

  • Next, add the chicken to a bowl with soy sauce, rice vinegar, minced garlic, and sesame oil. Stir to combine and fully coat the chicken. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  • Heat a frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and the marinade, and stir fry until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the excess liquid and transfer the chicken to a bowl.

Salad

  • Finally, assemble the salads. Mix the lettuce and cabbage to create a base, then top with chicken, almonds, carrots, and scallions, evenly distributing the ingredients among the salads. Top each salad with toasted sesame seeds and wonton strips, and drizzle with the sesame dressing. Serve immediately.

Notes

Sesame salad dressing: This dressing is super easy to make in a Mason jar – you can even use the measurement lines on the outside of the jar to measure your larger volume liquids instead of dirtying measuring cups!
Salad ingredient prep: You can chop and prepare all the salad ingredients while the chicken marinates. To make homemade toasted sesame seeds, you can toast sesame seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat until they’re golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes, giving them a shake every few minutes or so. 
Meal prep: These healthy salads are great for weekly meal prep. You can cook up a big batch of chicken at the beginning of the week, prep your veggies, and store everything in containers for easy day-of assembly. Check out our blog post above for more tips on how to meal prep this salad.
Storing leftovers: You’ll want to store any leftover chicken, salad dressing, almonds, sesame seeds, and wonton strips all in separate containers – this will prevent things from getting soggy. The chicken and sesame dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store the almonds, sesame seeds, and wonton strips at room temperature.
The romaine, cabbage, carrots, and scallions can get mixed together if you want – see our notes on meal prep in the blog post above.
When you want to eat the leftovers, you can either assemble everything cold or reheat the chicken. Warm it in the microwave for about 30 seconds per serving, or in a small frying pan over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes.
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Author: Nicole
Calories: 366kcal
Course: Lunch, Main, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American, Asian
Keyword: almonds, carrots, chicken breast, garlic, healthy, hoisin, red cabbage, restaurant style, rice vinegar, romaine lettuce, scallions, sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, summer, takeout, wonton strips

Nutrition

Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1051mg | Potassium: 1103mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 11937IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 3mg

If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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