Chinese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles and Citrus-Sesame Dressing

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOK TIME: 15 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes


June 2019

Inspired by chain-restaurant versions dating back to the 1960s (when ingredients like ginger and sesame seemed exotic), we’ve modernized this main-course salad with boiled rice noodles instead of fried, plus more vegetables and a dressing made with bright citrus. Toss everything together as we’ve done here, or feel free to customize and serve the components salad bar-style.


  • 5 ounces flat rice noodles
  • 1 organic red or other bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons roasted cashews
  • 3 organic scallions
  • 1 or 2 cloves organic peeled fresh garlic
  • 1-inch piece organic fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2½ tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • ¼ cup organic fresh lemon juice
  • 2 to 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 10 ounces total)
  • 2 tablespoons organic fresh orange juice
  • 3 ounces organic shredded Napa or other cabbage
  • 2 ounces organic shredded carrots
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Neutral oil


  • Fine-press grater (optional)
  • Garlic press (optional)
  • Colander
  • Small bowl
  • 2 large bowls
  • Medium sauce pot
  • Large frying pan


1. Cook the rice noodles.

Bring a medium sauce pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; then return to the pot and toss with 1 to 2 teaspoons oil, if desired, to prevent sticking. While the water heats and the noodles cook, prepare the ingredients.

2. Prep the ingredients; cook the chicken.

Remove the stem, ribs and seeds from the bell pepper; cut the pepper into ¼-inch-wide strips. Using the bottom of a bowl or cup, lightly crush the cashews for garnish. Trim the root ends from the scallions; thinly slice the scallions on the diagonal for garnish. Finely chop, press or grate enough garlic to measure ½ teaspoon. Grate or peel and finely chop enough ginger to measure ½ teaspoon.

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Cut the chicken crosswise into ½-inch-thick strips. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and the coconut aminos, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, garlic and ginger, and mix to incorporate.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 to 2 teaspoons oil until hot but not smoking. Working in batches if needed, add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to another large bowl. Add more oil between batches if needed.

3. Toss the chicken salad.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, orange juice, and 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Measure out 2 tablespoons dressing for the salad; set aside the remaining dressing for serving. To the bowl with the chicken, add the cabbage, bell pepper, carrots and 2 tablespoons citrus-sesame dressing, and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Serve.

Transfer the rice noodles to individual bowls and top with the chicken salad. Garnish with the cashews and scallions, and serve the remaining dressing on the side.

Kids Can!

  • Time the rice noodles.
  • Crush the cashews.
  • Measure the citrus-sesame dressing.
  • Toss the chicken salad.
  • Garnish with cashews and scallions.
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