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
Laura OBrien says
This is, without a doubt, my FAVORITE Whole30 recipe. I leave the oranges and cilantro out but follow the rest of the recipe to a T. If I’m not doing W30, I may add some crumbled dry ramen noodles. W30 or not, it’s outstanding. Thanks, Bailey!
I’m so glad you love this recipe! It’s one of my absolute favorites, too! Thank you so much, Laura! <3 - B
Love this salad! My go-to to bring to potlucks at work. It is always a hit!
I’m so glad you love it!! It’s one of my go-to potluck recipes, too 🙂 Thank you so much, Jennifer!
Melissa Davis says
So good I made it for lunch three weeks in a row!
LOVE to hear this!! It’s one of my most fave recipes, so I’m so glad you enjoy it, too 🙂 Thank you!!
I just grabbed some precooked chicken breasts at the store – going to use for quick shortcut for this great recipe of yours! Thanks for a solid go-to that I return to time and time again!
I’m so glad you love it!! Going to have to steal your idea with getting precooked chicken at the store next time, too 🙂 Thank you Amy! <3 - B
Sooo yummy!! I used already cut up rotisserie chicken from Sprouts. I marinated it for a couple hours and didn’t cook it. I just tossed it all together for lunch. So good! I’ll definitely make it again but probably with less coconut aminos – I forgot how sweet it is! Thank you!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed, Suzanne! Thank you so much!
A hit with the whole family!
Woohoo! I’m thrilled to hear it! Thank you so much, Jen!
Very good! Great on a hot day. Very filling
Thank you, Jill! <3 - B
Christine Escudero says
I started following you on Instagram and I love all of your recipes!!! I live in New Mexico but I have roots in Minnesota! My Mom was born and raised there (near Little Falls) and I lived in Minneapolis when I was 8 and 9 years old. I love the “hot dish” recipes! I am just starting to delve into Whole 30 and so far you are my favorite!
Hi, Christine! Sorry for the late reply here – your comment was filtered into a spam folder somehow! But thank you so, so very much. I really appreciate it! <3 - B
I made this for dinner tonight and both my kids (6 & 4) loved it and have requested I make it again!
SO great to hear! Thank you so, so much!!
This is so full of amazing flavor. It is now at the top of my favorite recipes – I take it to work and share it with my staff and with my family – everyone loves it!
The salad was delicious but, the dressing was lacking in flavor.
This is THE. BEST. EVER. I seriously love it so much, especially now that the weather is so hot/humid. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe–I cannot get enough of it!!!
I’m SO happy to hear this!! I love this salad too, so I’m thrilled you feel the same! Thanks so much for taking the time to make it, and taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it! <3 - B
This salad is Gluten Free, correct?
Caitlin Kerrigan says
Hi Bailey! I really love this recipe. It’s simple, delicious, and great for meal prep. Thank you for all your hard work developing recipes, this one is a true winner!
Currently doing a Whole30 and meal prepped this salad for this week’s lunches. IT IS SO GOOD! I used strawberries instead of mandarin oranges cuz I don’t like mandarin oranges and it is still very very delicious! Big fan. Thanks Bailey!
At my hubby’s request I am about to make this for the 3rd time in three weeks. We love it fresh and it makes the best leftovers for lunches! Thank you!
I’ve been making it with one bag of the pre cut cabbage slaw and a bag of the broccoli slaw.
Thank you so much, Kim! I’m thrilled you both love it! I really appreciate you taking the time to come back and share this!! <3 - B
So damn good and easy. Can I say damn? But damn, it was good! Loved it for leftovers, like you said on your stories; it gets better as it sits.
Thank you SO much, LeeAnn! I’m thrilled you love this salad as much as I do 🙂 (PS – we are a damn friendly website 😉 ) <3 - B
This salad was so good and so easy to make!!! Next time I’m doubling the chicken and the dressing so i can have it with some other options as well!!! Great recipe
Woo! I LOVE the chicken and the dressing too. I grill chicken that’s been marinaded in it and then use the other half for salad dressings with the grilled chicken. It’s like a weekly staple in the summer 🙂 Thank you so much for coming back and letting me know you enjoyed it! It’s super appreciated 🙂 – B
This is my favorite salad and so good for work lunches for the week!!!
Woo! This is SO great to hear!! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back to let me know you enjoyed it. I really appreciate it 🙂 – B
I love this salad- such a quick and easy lunch prep for the week.
This is SO great to hear!! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know – it’s so appreciated! <3 - B