Chopped Asian Chicken Salad with Sweet & Sour Dressing

Confession time. I am currently dreaming about all things fall. Crisp cool weather. Boots (!!), jeans and scarves. Not sweating every single time I leave the house. <— I mean, how nice is that going to be come fall! There are so many things that I love about summer, but the crazy heat and humidity? Yeah, no. Not digging those.

But you know what I do love? Consuming loads and loads of salad in an effort to stay as cool as possible! So today, we talk this chopped asian chicken salad!

Colorful and healthy chopped asian chicken salad! With sticky, juicy chicken, crunchy veggies, mandarin oranges and a sweet & sour dressing!

Super crunchy. Super flavorful. Super juicy! I feel like that’s a weird thing to say about a salad, but I swear, it just describes it so well! It’s one of those recipes that is perfect for summer, but I have a feeling you’ll want to make it all year round as well.

So. Let’s back it up a bit. This recipe is coming atcha’ straight from my college days. One of my good friends (hi niki!) often made this fantastic salad that was like a bright light in the middle of plenty of icky dorm food. It was so simple but so good – lettuce, mandarin oranges, sliced almonds and a homemade sweet & sour dressing.

That salad is the base for today’s recipe. I tinkered with the dressing (because I couldn’t help myself) and then added several other components to bulk it up and make it a main dish. In addition to all those awesome original ingredients, it now also features plenty of rainbow colored veggies and teriyaki flavored chicken! Yum-o!

And when served alongside some crusty fresh bread? Meal time perfection.

Colorful and healthy chopped asian chicken salad! With sticky, juicy chicken, crunchy veggies, mandarin oranges and a sweet & sour dressing!

So, let’s get to some tips & tricks for today’s recipe!

  1. First up – let’s discuss how to prep this dish to keep it short and sweet on time! Get the chicken all up in the marinade first. Once that’s done, then go ahead and chop all the veggies and make the dressing. By the time the chicken is ready to cook, the whole salad will be ready to go (and you’ll likely have had time to clean up the kitchen a bit!).
  2. You could absolutely let the chicken marinate longer (up to overnight). I personally can never seem to remember to do this in advance and for this recipe it’s not necessary!
  3. About the chicken, I know it’s a tad bit unusual to cook it with some of the marinade, but guys, I love doing this! The chicken gets all syrupy and sticky and browned and so good! Plus, most of the marinade cooks off in the pan – you’re just left with some darn good chicken!
  4. As with all salads, feel free to adjust the amounts of any of the components to your liking. No rules here!
  5. If you keep the components separate, the salad will hold for leftovers. The veggies are fine together, but be sure to keep the chicken, oranges and the dressing all in their own containers.

The colors, the textures, the crunch! It’s a salad party all up in here! <— Pretend I didn’t just say that.

Colorful and healthy chopped asian chicken salad! With sticky, juicy chicken, crunchy veggies, mandarin oranges and a sweet & sour dressing!

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Chopped Asian Chicken Salad with Sweet & Sour Dressing

Prep Time:28 minutes

Cook Time:7 minutes

Total Time:35 minutes

Colorful and healthy chopped asian chicken salad! With sticky, juicy chicken, crunchy veggies, mandarin oranges and a sweet & sour dressing!

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (or to taste)

For the salad:

  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 (10 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained

Directions:

For the chicken:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, olive oil and garlic. Add the chicken pieces to a large ziplock bag, then pour in the marinade. Seal the bag then use your fingers to mix everything together. Let the chicken marinate while you prep the dressing and salad components (or about 20 minutes – I usually have some extra time and clean up a bit to hit the 20!).

For the dressing:

  1. Add all the ingredients for the dressing to a small bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

For the salad:

  1. To a large bowl, add the romaine, cabbage, carrot, bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, almonds and oranges. Set aside.
  2. Set a large nonstick skillet over medium / medium high heat. When hot, add the chicken pieces to the pan, along with most of the marinade from the bag. Toss to coat then cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add to the large bowl.
  3. Pour in the desired amount of dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately!

Cook Nourish Bliss. Inspired by my friend Niki!