Let me start by saying, this is my absolute favorite salad and it couldn't be easier to make. So easy, in fact, that I didn't even think of blogging about it until I told my best friend about it and she told me I HAD to. Of course, I told her about it after I'd had my first bowl (this makes roughly 3 big servings) yesterday for lunch, so I don't have full step-by-step instructions like usual. Luckily, you don't need em! Like I said, it's that easy.
What you need: 1 medium-sized head of Napa cabbage*, the breast meat from a rotisserie chicken, a large tablespoon of cilantro**, and the dressing ingredients I'll detail below.
Chop up the top 2/3 of the cabbage (the bottom is super crunchy but can be kind of tough) and place in a large bowl. Remove the skin from the breasts of the rotisserie chicken and shred with your fingers, add to the bowl. Finely mince a handful of cilantro, which should result in a large tablespoon's worth of cilantro pieces, and add to the bowl. Toss.
*Napa cabbage is usually above the regular cabbage in my Bi-Lo. It's tall instead of round and is white at the bottom and curly and pale green at the top. It's very mild in flavor but crunchy and refreshing and absorbs dressing very well.
**If you don't like cilantro (it's genetic!), that's totally fine. You can leave it out. I just like the freshness it adds to the salad.
Dressing ingredients: 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp sriracha, 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/3 cup olive/vegetable oil, 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar, 1 tbsp Chinese hot mustard, 1 packet of sweetener or 1 tbsp of honey. Blend everything together in a blender or individual smoothie blender like I did, or just a whisk is fine.
As you can tell by the volume in these containers, these are pretty much all ingredients I have in my fridge at all times. Even if you buy some of these just for this recipe, they are relatively cheap and last a very long time.
I cannot take credit for this dressing recipe. This comes from my FAVORITE cookbook of all time, Chrissy Teigen's Cravings. She also has a Chinese Chicken Salad recipe (hence where I got the dressing from), which looks fantastic, but I just wanted a basic salad with cabbage and chicken. Buy her cookbook below!
The salad and dressing should be stored separately until you're ready to eat. As sturdy and crunchy as Napa cabbage is, the tender green parts will get soggy if the dressing has been left on too long. I keep the salad in a large bowl in the fridge and the dressing in the individual smoothie blender I used to mix it all up, then combine when I make my bowl.
Spoon a big portion of the salad base into a bowl.
I like to top my salad with a tbsp of sliced almonds and a tsp of sesame seeds for color and texture.
Then top with the dressing and dig in!
This recipe makes about 3 large salads, which I find is perfect for making lunches for the week. When you assemble the salad base, you can go ahead and divide the salad into 3 separate containers, and divide the dressing into 3 smaller containers to pack up and take to lunch every day. Trust me, you will not get tired of it by day three. There are days I want to eat two servings in one sitting, I love it that much. If you want to serve this entire salad as a starter for dinner, go ahead and toss everything together before serving, no need to portion out.
And this dressing would be fantastic on so many things, not just salad. It would make a fantastic marinade for ribeye steaks, or a lovely sauce on top of grilled salmon. The hot mustard and sriracha provide just enough heat to feel a tingle on your lips, and the vinegar has the perfect tang that keeps you wanting more. Believe me, you'll love it.
As much as I wish she knew who I was, Chrissy Teigen doesn't, and in no way is this post sponsored by her or her team. I just love her cookbook.
Here's the recipe!
Full disclosure: Cooking Savvy blog is an Amazon Associate and may earn a small portion of revenue if you click the link in this article and buy the cookbook. The link is independently placed and does not influence content.
Food that maximizes flavor and minimizes effort and time.