Growing up, my best friend’s mom would always make this sesame chicken chopped salad. It was what she always brought to gatherings and what she always made us during the summer. I love it so much so I decided to make a healthy, Paleo version. You know, without the sugary dressing and wonton strips mixed in. 😉
A few months ago I needed a salad to bring to a party. Not only do I hate showing up empty handed, but it’s always best practice to bring something you know you can eat when you’re trying to eat healthy. This salad is always a crowd pleaser. It’s also a pretty quick one to make in a large batch.
I prefer to use chicken thighs for sesame chicken chopped salad because they tend to absorb a lot of flavor and stay really juicy. You can totally use chicken breasts too if you’d rather. You’ll first want to mix up the dressing because you’re going to use a few tablespoons of it to marinade the chicken. I hardly ever have enough foresight to marinade it longer than 20 minutes. If you have longer, great. If not, oh well. No one is gonna ask you. Probably. 😉
Almost all of the ingredients I used I ordered from Thrive Market which makes feeding a crowd (or making a ton of meals for myself) really cheap. Plus they offer 20% off of your first 3 orders which is a deal that’s hard to pass up.
If you don’t like a heavily dressed salad, wait to add the dressing until you’re ready to eat. I just mix it in a glass Pyrex bowl that I can bring with me along with the Tupperware the salad is in or store in the fridge. If you want the cabbage to absorb the dressing and become more of a coleslaw, add the dressing in and refrigerate for a few hours before serving! It’s awesome either way!
Other Salads You’ll Love:
Blackened Chicken Chopped Salad
Recipe Tutorial Video
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Healthy Sesame Chicken Chopped Salad: Paleo & Whole30
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
For the Dressing:
- 1/3 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the Salad:
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 4 diced green onions (can sub for 1/2 red onion finely diced)
- 1/2 large green cabbage, thinly sliced, or one whole green cabbage if it’s small
- 1/2 red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 cups shredded or matchstick carrots
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 can Mandarin oranges (no sugar/syrup – check labels!)
- 1/2 cup chopped and loosely packed cilantro
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl
- In a plastic baggie, add about 3-4 tablespoons of dressing with the chicken
- Allow to marinate for at least a half hour
- Add chicken with the dressing into a large skillet and cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until cooked thoroughly or grill
- Allow to cool to room temperature before chopping and adding to the salad
- Combine all other salad ingredients besides dressing and chicken in a large bowl
- When chicken is cool, add to the salad
- Stir in dressing well and enjoy!
- Calories: 432
- Sugar: 9
- Fat: 32
- Carbohydrates: 16
- Protein: 26
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Reader Reviews & Comments
Perfect for a snack, lunch, or supper for the fam! Loved it so much I decided to make it again but without the chicken to make it more of a side than a main dish.
Delicious! Great salad that doesn’t sacrifice taste and flavor to be paleo. A repeat for sure!
I’m going to try this with a few “leave outs,” being severely allergic to a couple of the ingredients. Sure sounds terrific, no matter the personal modifications.
Lynne McNamee says
My daughter-in-law made this for me – delicious!!
What a tasty fresh looking salad! Can’t wait to try this out.
Very good! I made this with a few modifications- I used the bagged coleslaw mix, cut the dressing in half, and I lightly sautéed all the slaw, green onions and carrots before adding the chicken. Very good and so nice and crunchy!
This was amazing! I used a chop salad mix for sake of time and it worked really well. The flavors on the dressing were perfect. Definitely going in my dinner rotation!
I’m SO glad to hear this! Thank you so much for giving it a try and taking the time to come back and leave a review!
My family really loves cabbage. What a great new recipe to find!
Amanda Norton Laporte says
90 degrees in NH on a Saturday night was our time to test this out! Grilled the chicken and it was a hit for the fam.
Love this salad. I recipe makes a whole week of lunches. I like to leave out the almonds and add just before eating.
Liz p says
This is the bomb! I’ve been making for about a half a year, but just realized I never came to leave some love. I don’t use the sesame oil, but this is still so amazing! I’ll make a batch and leave the dressing off, then eat a big bowl, adding the dressing as I eat it, so it doesn’t get soggy. It’s a perfect recipe to make once and eat all week. (Unless hubby gets to it). So good!
This recipe is great! I left out the chicken & paired it with salmon and it was a crowd-pleaser! I love that I can make it ahead and it gets better as everything marinates!
This was very good! The dressing is perfect—reminded me of those really good Asian salads I’ve gotten in restaurants. But this is better than restaurant fare. I look forward to trying your other recipes as this is the first one I’ve made from your collection. Thank you!
Oh WOW! Made this for my lunch meal prep this week, adding the dressing when it’s time to eat, and just WOW! This is incredible! I couldn’t find oranges without added junk, so decided to try some fresh diced pineapple instead. It did not disappoint!! This recipe is a keeper for sure! Thanks Bailey???
Where has this recipe been all my life?! My bad… I didn’t make is sooner. I made this last week to spice up my W30 & I’ve now had it for FOUR meals! The chicken is sooooo good… I was eating it hot out of the pan… like a cavewoman… and I’m not mad about it. The dressing goes great on any type of salad and it’s not my go to when I need to make salad dressing. I made this AGAIN yesterday for dinner and ate the whole damn thing. Half for lunch and the other half for dinner. I just couldn’t help myself. If you haven’t made this yet… I seriously don’t know why not ’cause it’s freaking amazing!
Cathy St. Louis says
Ummm…where has this been all my life. My own fault for not making it earlier. Only problem was that I was munching on the chicken once it cooked. Like a whole piece, eating like a cavewoman standing at the stove.
Salad was bomb. I used a broccoli slaw because I couldn’t find chopped cabbage and I didn’t want to chop it myself. But my lanta… it was delicious. And the cilantro in there. Yum!! This just changed my Whole30 game and my food freedom. Cause I can only imagine how good that chicken would be over some rice. *drool*
This was delicious!!! The nutrition facts are per serving or dish?
Yummy! As a picky eater I’m not usually adventurous but I needed something different for Whole30. Great job!! Omitted the sesame oil but only after tasting?
So great to hear! I’m really happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for giving it a try, and for taking the time to come back and leave a review! 🙂 – B