Mandarin Chicken Salad

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This easy Mandarin chicken salad is packed with Asian-inspired flavor and texture and drizzled with a delicious orange ginger dressing. Simple ingredients for a delicious and satisfying main course salad.

A bowl of Asian-inspired chicken salad with bowls of sesame seeds and mandarin oranges in the background.

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If you’ve been here a while, you’d know I’m a big salad person. And given that spring is FINALLY here after a long and hard winter, I am excited to be moving on from cozy warm meals to fresh crunchy salads for dinner.

Why You’ll Love this Mandarin Chicken Salad

This mandarin chicken salad is high in protein, but not heavy at all, and full of fresh flavors. It has the perfect balance of everything – juicy chicken, fresh veggies, crunchy toppings, and the most delicious juicy orange ginger dressing to top it all off. It is also a complete meal in itself if you’re a fan of salads for dinner (I know I am!).

A bowl of Asian-inspired salad with chicken and mandarin oranges garnished with chow mein noodles.

Best of all, this mandarin orange chicken salad recipe can be assembled quickly on a weeknight. Just cook up a chicken breast or two (or use leftover chicken, or a rotisserie chicken), whisk together the dressing ingredients, chop up your veggies, mix and you’re good to go.

Is this an authentic Chinese recipe?

You’ll often see similar salads labeled as an Asian chicken salad because the flavors are Chinese-inspired, but it is by no means an authentic Chinese chicken salad recipe. That really wasn’t the aim here.

BUT if you’re a fan of the “Chinese chicken salad” at The Cheesecake Factory – as well as “Asian salads” at many other casual dining establishments – this will hit the spot.

Ingredient Notes

For the Mandarin Chicken Salad

ingredients to make mandarin chicken salad

Romaine Lettuce

I like to use crunchy romaine lettuce as my salad base but you can use any salad greens like iceberg lettuce, or any other greens that you enjoy.

If you’d like even more texture and more of a crunchy salad – you can also add a mix of red cabbage and napa cabbage along with the lettuce.


Carrots for a splash of bright orange color and a delicate sweetness. I like to shred or julienne my carrots but you can also just get them pre-shredded from the grocery store.

Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers for their sweetness and crunch, as well as a colorful contrast. Other vegetable such as broccoli or avocado are nice here too.


Edamame add tender bite and are a great source of protein and fiber, giving this mandarin chicken salad a nutritious boost. You can buy edamame fresh in their pods and remove the beans yourself, or buy them shelled and frozen. Lima beans are a good substitute.


I love adding crunchy almonds to this salad. You can use slivered almonds as I did here, sliced almonds, or chopped whole almonds. Either way, I like to toast them briefly in a dry pan on medium heat until lightly colored, which is optional but makes them extra flavorful.

Green Onions

Green onions add a nice, mild onion flavor to the salad. You can use red onion instead.


I love tossing a little cilantro into this salad, but if you’re not a fan you can omit this. It adds a nice herby flavor.

Chicken Breasts

I like to keep some cooked chicken breasts in my fridge to add to salad to make them high in protein and also make it a complete meal. You can also just use leftover rotisserie chicken.

You can also use any protein you like in place of the chicken, including sliced steak, which is delicious with the orange vinaigrette. Tofu is also an option if you’d like to keep it vegetarian.

Mandarin Oranges

I often use canned mandarins (in juice, not syrup), but fresh mandarin oranges work great too. Mandarin oranges are small, easy to peel, naturally sweet, and add nice citrusy flavor to the salad. If you can’t find them, use clementines or sweet oranges cut in small pieces.

Sesame seeds

I like to add a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds to top this salad, for extra nuttiness.

Chow mein Noodles

I like to top off my salad with some dried chow mein noodles, but you can also sub this with ramen noodles or crispy wonton strips.

For the Orange Ginger Dressing

ingredients to make orange ginger dressing

This orange ginger dressing is so easy to make and adds such a nice flavor to the mandarin chicken salad. The dressing ingredients are also really simple.

It is made with fresh orange juice and zest, rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, honey, fresh ginger, olive oil, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. I’ve devoted an entire post to this orange ginger dressing, which goes with so much more than this mandarin orange chicken salad. Try it on this kale pomegranate salad or toss it with simple greens and pair it with a protein like sriracha salmon or maple soy pork chops.

Don’t forget to watch the video!

Most of my recipes include a short step-by-step video tutorial. Just scroll down to the recipe card, or use the “Jump to Video” button at the top of the post!

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Start by making the orange ginger dressing. In a small bowl, add the orange zest, orange juice, rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, honey, and ginger and whisk well.
ingredients to make orange ginger dressing in a bowl
  1. Slowly add in the olive oil and keep whisking till well combined. Lastly, add in the sesame oil, salt, and black pepper.
steps to make orange ginger dressing
  1. To assemble the salad, in a large bowl, add the romaine lettuce, carrot, bell pepper, edamame, almonds, green onions, and cilantro.
salad ingredients in a large bowl
  1. Drizzle desired amount of salad dressing and toss to combine.
salad ingredients tossed with dressing
  1. Portion the salad into four servings, and top with the cooked chicken, sweet mandarin oranges, sesame seeds, and chow mein noodles. Add more dressing on top as you like.
A bowl of Asian-inspired salad with chicken and mandarin oranges garnished with chow mein noodles.

How pretty does that look? It tastes just as great!

The possibilities for variations for this mandarin chicken salad are also endless! You can add whatever fresh veggies and salad greens you like or omit the chicken and just serve it as a side dish.

Storage Instructions

Store the salad ingredients and dressing in separate containers to prevent the salad from getting soggy. You can add the vegetables and chicken in an airtight container and use within 2-3 days. The orange ginger dressing will keep well in the fridge for about a week.

A bowl of Asian-inspired chicken salad with bowls of sesame seeds and mandarin oranges in the background.

To serve, add everything to a bowl, and add fresh toppings. This mandarin chicken salad is great to make ahead of time as you can chop up your veggies and chicken and store everything separately then just assemble when you want to serve.

More Favorite Main Course Salads

Greek Chicken Salad

BLT Salad with Chicken

Steak Caesar Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Dressing

Note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has undergone significant revisions, including the recipe itself!

Tell me what you think!

If you try this recipe, l’d be so grateful if you’d leave a comment and a rating in the recipe card. I love to hear your feedback, and your tips can help other readers too!

A bowl of Asian-inspired salad with chicken and mandarin oranges garnished with chow mein noodles.

Mandarin Chicken Salad

This Asian-inspired mandarin chicken salad is simple to assemble and drizzled with a delicious orange ginger dressing.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: dinner, Main Course, Salad, salad dressing
Cuisine: American, asian, Chinese
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 446kcal
Author: Ann Otis

Tools for This Recipe


  • 5 cups romaine chopped (about 2 hearts)
  • 1 medium carrot shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup edamame shelled (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds toasted
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup cilantro roughly chopped
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast sliced (or rotisserie chicken)*
  • ½ cup mandarin orange segments fresh or canned and drained
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted
  • Chow mein noodles or ramen or wonton strips

Orange Ginger Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest from about 1 orange
  • cup orange juice freshly squeezed from about 1-2 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Orange ginger dressing

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, honey, and ginger.
  • Slowly whisk in the olive oil until well combined. Whisk in the sesame oil, salt, and pepper.


  • In a large bowl, combine the romaine, shredded carrot, bell pepper, edamame, almonds, green onions, and cilantro.
  • Add desired amount of dressing and toss to combine.
  • Divide the salad into 4 bowls or plates and top with chicken, mandarin oranges, sesame seeds and chow mein noodles. Drizzle with additional dressing if desired.



*I usually pan fry two large chicken breasts for this recipe, but you can use a rotisserie chicken or any leftover chicken you have on hand.


Calories: 446kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 737mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 9097IU | Vitamin C: 63mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 3mg
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  1. Hi Heidi! Although I haven’t personally had this issue, it does have quite a bit of peanut butter in it, so possibly the brand you use can make it more or less thick. I would add water, as you did (but not too much or it may dilute the flavor), maybe 1-3 tablespoons, and whisk it in gently at the end, rather than blending it with the other ingredients. I hope this helps!! 🙂

  2. Haha thank you so much Elaine!! I’m so done with the snow too, but this salad was seriously the best therapy for the doldrums!

  3. 5 stars
    This salad looks absolutely amazing! I love how colorful and rich it is – so flavorful and healthy. Can’t wait to try it for dinner soon!

5 from 2 votes

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