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Healthy Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

With mandarins and toasted almonds, it's the perfect blend of sweet and savory.
Healthy Chinese Chicken Salad RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This salad is one of the world's ultimate fusion foods. It's an Eastern-inspired dish popularized by an Austrian chef (Wolfgang Puck) in Beverly Hills (at his restaurant Spago back in the 1980s). Whatever its disparate origins, it's undeniably one of the most popular salads in America, sharing space on menus in four-star restaurants and Wendy's alike. Too bad most versions are nutritional disasters, bogged down by too much dressing and too many fried noodles. This lighter version of the Chinese chicken salad is true to Wolfgang's original creation.

Nutrition: 380 calories, 21 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 23 g carbs

Serves 4

You'll Need

1 head napa cabbage
1/2 head red cabbage
1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken (freshly grilled or from a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
1/3 cup Asian-style dressing, like Annie's Shiitake and Sesame Vinaigrette
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup canned mandarin oranges, drained (Make sure the mandarins are stored in water, not syrup. You don't want high-fructose corn syrup in your salad, do you?)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Salt and black pepper to taste

How to Make It

  1. Slice the cabbages in half lengthwise and remove the cores.
  2. Slice the cabbage into thin strips.
  3. Toss with sugar in a large bowl.
  4. If the chicken is cold, toss a few tablespoons of vinaigrette and heat in a microwave at 50% power.
  5. Add the cabbage, along with the cilantro, mandarins, almonds, and the remaining vinaigrette. Toss to combine.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

Eat This Tip

Properly Dressing Salads

Most salads end up over-dressed, which compromises the flavor and the inherent nutritional value of the creation. For a properly dressed salad, add the dressing a few tablespoons at a time immediately before serving (otherwise the lettuce will wilt) and use a pair of tongs to thoroughly distribute each new addition. Pluck a leaf and taste; it should have a light sheen, not a heavy coat, of dressing.

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