Chinese chicken salad: A sweet and savory honey, soy sauce, peanut butter dressing perfectly coats a healthy combo of roast/grilled chicken, crisp asparagus, and sweet red peppers.

chinese chicken salad

For whatever reason, I dreaded making this Chinese chicken salad. I think it was most likely because I got hung up on roasting the chicken on the bone in the oven. 

This is always a pain in the you-know-what to me.  So I put it off making this recipe for a few days.

Which became a few weeks. And before I knew it, it was like 2 months. Damn.

And after reading all of the glowing reviews about this recipe, I was really kicking myself for skipping it. Which is why you see it today in place of the tuna salad that I had originally planned to share with you.

In short, this was a fantastic recipe!!!  I was totally blown away by how the flavors of the dressing came together and meshed so beautifully. 

I ended up grilling the chicken rather than roasting it and cut it into cubes. Shredding chicken is one of my biggest kitchen peeves and I avoid it whenever possible!

This salad as a whole is a lot like Ina’s crunchy noodle salad and since I remembered that Kyle wasn’t a huge fan of that noodle dish (crazy, I know!), I cut back on the peanut butter in this recipe by about a tablespoon or so. 

Also, since I’m back on WW again ::sigh:: I probably should have “pointed” the sauce before making it because with a serving of chicken, the dish was about 13 or 14 points per serving. 

I figured that next time I make it, I will cut down on the veg oil to 6 tablespoons, the sesame oil to 1 tablespoon, and the peanut butter to 3 tablespoons to make it about 11 points. That’s not too bad for a nice, filling dinner.

My peanut butter adjustment went over very well and Kyle ended up loving this salad. He wasn’t a huge fan of my chicken satay with peanut chutney sauce or that crunchy noodle salad because the savory peanut butter flavor in those dishes just doesn’t appeal much to him.

I’m so glad I fixed that issue here though!

Thankfully, because other than grilling the chicken, there is essentially no other cooking involved which makes this Chinese chicken salad perfect for those looming hot summer nights!

And speaking of hot summer nights, I’ve put together 2 excellent lists of virtually no-cook meals you can make when it’s just too damn hot to cook: light meals for hot nights and more light meals for hot nights.

Enjoy and STAY COOL my friends!!

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Chinese chicken salad is always a winner for hot summer nights with its sweet and savory honey, soy sauce, peanut butter dressing that perfectly coats a healthy combo of grilled chicken, crisp asparagus, and sweet red peppers.


For the chicken and salad:

  • 4 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lb asparagus, ends removed, and cut in thirds diagonally
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 ½tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • ½ tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • A pinch of Kosher salt
  • A pinch of Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F or preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
  2. To roast: Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub with the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked.
  3. To grill: Rub both sides of the chicken olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Grill for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through the time.
  4. Both methods: Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken in large bite-sized pieces.
  5. Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain. Cut the peppers in strips about the size of the asparagus pieces. Combine the cut chicken, asparagus, and peppers in a large bowl.
  6. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and season to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.


adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten

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Leave a Comment

  • May 14, 2009 at 7:07 PM

    your photo looks great! i really liked this recipe the first time around and i’m not even a chicken fan.

  • May 15, 2009 at 12:50 PM

    I noticed your blog listed as a “random blog” on the FoodieBlogroll and am so glad I stopped by to look! Your recipes look delicious!!!!!

  • May 17, 2009 at 6:12 PM

    i wasn’t that crazy about making this one either when it was originally due – but that first taste changed my mind for sure. it was a delicious salad.

  • May 17, 2009 at 11:28 PM

    I love how colorful this is! With the warmer weather, chinese chicken salad is definitely on my list to make!

  • Michele
    July 13, 2009 at 10:14 PM

    This looks great! How many serving does the recipe yield?

    • smellslikehome
      July 14, 2009 at 4:52 AM

      the above proportions yield 6 servings. the version in BC Parties! yields 12 servings.