Vietnamese chicken salad is simple but delicious - a great way to enjoy leftover chicken alongside vegetables, mint and a punchy Asian dressing that's perfect for your lunchbox too.
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There are not many dishes I make that have me wanting to get another cabbage, but this is one of them. Cabbage is one of those vegetables that I like in a few dishes (like Ethiopian tikel gomen) but it is never going to be a favorite.
It's a good thing it keeps well as I am often guilty of letting it hide at the bottom of the fridge, waiting for me to get round to using more of it.
This Vietnamese chicken salad, though, is one where cabbage is the perfect fit. And it's transformed into something truly delicious. This crunchy, flavorful salad has become a firm favorite for lunch.
A delicious way with leftovers
As well as being delicious, one particularly fantastic thing about this salad is it's an ideal way to use some leftover chicken. Plus, this time of year it's great for some of that excess turkey from your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
It's so good, in fact, you might find yourself cooking chicken specifically to make it - if you do, it's worth cooking with a bit of lime juice to really get the flavor going.
See how easy it is to make in the short video!
Vietnamese chicken salad simply consists of shredded chicken, cabbage, carrots, herbs and a dressing. You often top it with peanuts, too.
The dressing is not your average vinaigrette, though.
It really packs a flavor punch and makes everything delicious. It softens the vegetables slightly and gives them a powerful Asian flavor that's then balanced out by the fresh mint.
How to make Vietnamese chicken salad
As you might guess from this description, the salad is also really easy to prepare:
- Shred the chicken and the vegetables.
- Roughly chop the herbs.
- Whisk up the dressing.
- Put it all together and serve.
It's best eaten right after it is made so the vegetables retain a bit more crispness but it also works as a lunchbox meal as well (and if you're looking for lunchbox salads, see this collection of make ahead salads).
Like many salads, the exact quantity of everything can be varied to taste and what you have, both the amount of chicken and vegetables and the flavors of the dressing, but I would encourage you to keep everything in there as the flavors all go so well and really work together.
Even if you are not sure about fish sauce, the salad just wouldn't be the same without it so do give it a try.
This Vietnamese chicken salad is a quick, easy and delicious salad that's not only a handy way to use up leftovers, it's also a bit of a veggie-filled detox from the likely heavy holiday dinner you may have had before. It might be a salad, but it's one that's perfect for this time of year and has quickly become a favorite in our house.
Try these other tasty ways with leftover turkey:
- Leftover turkey pie with bechemel and raisins
- Thai red curry (perfect for many leftover meats)
- Pastilla (Moroccan savory pie)
- Plus see more creative Holiday leftovers ideas as well as get more lunch recipes in the archives.
Vietnamese chicken salad
- 1 chili or more to taste - green or red are fine
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ lime juice and zest ie from ½ lime, about 2tbsp juice
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 ½ cups cabbage 220g, shredded
- 1 ½ cups carrots 145g, grated
- 2 cups cooked chicken 210g, shredded, or can use leftover turkey too
- ¾ oz mint 7g (1 small box) leaves removed and roughly chopped
- 1 shallot large, sliced (or approx ¼ red onion), optional
- 2 tablespoon roasted peanuts drizzled on top
- Deseed and finely chop the chili then mix it with the sugar, lime juice and zest, oil and fish sauce in the bottom of a large bowl until combined.
- Add the cabbage, carrots, chicken, mint and shallot (if using) to the bowl and mix well so the dressing covers everything and it is well mixed.
- Serve ideally immediately, topped with some roasted peanuts if you like.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Sharing anew for a special reason
I originally shared this recipe a couple of years ago, and we have enjoyed it many times since. I recently updated the photos and made the above video to help make it easier for others to understand how easy it is and hopefully be more tempted to try. I've decided to share it today for a special Sunday Supper in memory of TR Crumbley who sadly died of cancer earlier in the year. I only met TR the once in person at the Food Wine Conference last year, but I got to see his fun spirit that showed in all his blogging. I had been looking forward to seeing him this year, but sadly he was too ill to make it, but joined by video conference to accept a well deserved blogger of the year award.
When I met him, I remember he had his camera on hand as he was trying to encourage people to get in front of the camera and not be scared of video. I think he had a lot of fun with his YouTube channel, so it seemed appropriate to share a recipe with a video, even if I haven't been brave enough to get fully in front of the camera. I also remember talking about how being gluten free doesn't mean eating boring food, so I hope he would appreciate this recipe too. TR, you are missed, and definitely not forgotten in your Sunday Supper family. This merry gluten-free collection is in your honor:
Appetizers and Drinks
- Pepperoni Soft Pretzels by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Pumpkin Bread with Maple Walnut Glaze by My Life Cookbook
- T.R.’s Mulled Cider Martini by Food Lust People Love
Sides and Mains
- Gluten Free Turkey Gravy by Jersey Girl Cooks
- Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Stuffing or Dressing by Palatable Pastime
- Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash by Cooking Chat
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts And Squash With Cranberry Cider Glaze by The Crumby Kitchen
- T.R.’s Homemade Cranberry Sauce by Hardly A Goddess
- Easy Mexican Chicken Bowl by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Turkey Ham Scalloped Potatoes and Kale by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Flourless Chocolate Cookies by Pies and Plots
- No Bake Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies by Simple and Savory
- Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies by Desserts Required
- White Chocolate Crème Brûlée by That Skinny Chick Can Bake