Chicken Cashew Crunch Salad

5 from 8 votes
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Chicken Cashew Crunch Salad with Sesame-Teriyaki Dressing is meal prep-friendly and perfect for weekday meals. Ready in just 20 minutes and full of nutritious, flavorful ingredients.

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Chicken cashew crunch salad in a large wooden serving bowl.
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Why You’ll Love this Chicken Cashew Salad

During peak summer months, I’m all about low-effort/high-reward meals. (Which is why this Cucumber Edamame Salad is a recent staple!)

This crunch-tastic salad requires minimal ingredients, yet delivers big flavor. Plus, it requires NO cooking, which is also a big win for me right now.

The Sesame-Teriyaki Dressing is inspired by a dressing at sweetgreen that I absolute love and just had to recreate. It’s gluten free, dairy free, AND nut free, so super allergen-friendly.

Because this salad uses cabbage (or kale), you can make it ahead without worrying about it going too soggy.

Plus, the mix of hearty greens provides satisfying texture and crunch.

If you love meal prep-friendly salads like this, be sure to also check out my favorite Grain Salad and this Mediterranean Lentil Salad.

The Ingredients

Recipe ingredients in separate bowls with labels on a wooden serving board.
  • Chicken: I use rotisserie chicken for convenience, however you certainly cook and shred your own chicken breasts or thighs.
  • Cabbage or Kale: I suggest using Napa cabbage, green cabbage, or kale. If making ahead, use green cabbage or kale (or a mix of both), as they are heartier and won’t wilt as quickly as Napa cabbage.
  • Carrots: Feel free to a buy a bag of shredded (matchstick) carrots or shred large carrots yourself.
  • Cashews: Look for roasted cashews for richer flavor. They can be salted or unsalted – your preference!
  • Green Onion: You need 1 cup of green onion, which should include the light and dark green parts of the onion. (This amounts of roughly one batch of green onion.)
  • Tahini: Use a good quality tahini brand here, such as Soom Foods for the best results!
  • Tamari: Tamari is thicker than soy sauce, so it adds more body and flavor to the dressing. And since tamari is made without wheat, it’s a great gluten-free alternative to soy sauce.
  • Maple Syrup: The sweetness helps balance the bitter notes of the sesame oil.
  • Sesame Oil: Look for dark (toasted) sesame oil for richer flavor.
  • Garlic: You need 1 large of garlic, which you can either grate or finely mince.
  • Cilantro: For a pop of freshness!

For the full list of recipe ingredients and substitutions, see the recipe card below.

Recipe Variations:

  • Make Vegan: Simply swap the chicken for 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas.
  • Add Grains: For a heartier salad with a little more staying power, mix in 1/2 cup of cooked and cooled farro, quinoa, or brown rice.
  • Make Nut Free: Swap the cashews for 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds OR 1/3 cup sunflower seeds.
  • Add Avocado: I love adding creamy cubes of avocado to this salad.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prepare Sesame-Teriyaki Dressing by combining all ingredients in a glass jar or large liquid measuring cup; whisk to combine.

Sesame-teriyaki dressing being mixed until smooth in a glass jar.

Step 2: Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour dressing overtop and toss to combine. Serve right away, or refrigerate for 2 extra days.

Salad ingredients being added to a large bowl, and dressing poured overtop.

Recipe FAQs

How Long Does it Last in the Fridge?

The salad will last up to 3 days, however I think it’s best on days 1 and 2. By day 3, the greens and cashews will have softened, however the flavors should stay sharp.

Can I Make the Dressing Ahead?

Yes, the dressing can be mixed and refrigerated up to 5 days ahead. You can even prepare a double batch and use it on other grains bowls and salads throughout the week.

Is it a Full Meal?

This chicken cashew salad is a fantastic mix of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, making it well-suited to be a full meal. However, if you wish for a little extra oomph, mix in 1/2 cup of farro, quinoa, or brown rice.

Chicken cashew crunch salad being tossed in a wooden serving bowl.

More Meal Prep Friendly Salads:

If you give this chicken cashew salad a try, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

5 from 8 votes

Chicken Cashew Crunch Salad

Chicken Cashew Crunch Salad with Sesame-Teriyaki Dressing is meal prep-friendly and perfect for weekday meals. Ready in just 20 minutes and full of nutritious, flavorful ingredients.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Chefs knife and cutting board
  • Mixing bowls

Ingredients  

Sesame-Teriyaki Dressing

Chicken Cashew Salad

  • 5 heaping cups chopped Napa cabbage, green cabbage, or kale see notes below
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup shredded (matchstick) carrots
  • 1 cup finely chopped green onions (about 1 bunch)
  • 3/4 cup roasted cashews
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
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Instructions 

  • Prepare dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a glass jar or large liquid measuring cup; whisk until smooth.
  • In a large bowl, combine cabbage or kale, chicken, carrots, green onion, cashews, and cilantro. Season salad components with a few pinches of salt. Pour dressing overtop and toss well to combine.
    Serve immediately or refrigerate for an additional 2 days.

Notes

  • If making ahead, I suggest using a mix of green cabbage and kale, which are heartier than Napa cabbage and less prone to wilting.
  • The salad will last up to 3 days, however I think it’s best on days 1 and 2. By day 3, the greens and cashews will have softened, however the flavors should stay sharp.

Nutrition

Serving: 2heaping cups | Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 590mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!
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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. Ada Marion says:

    5 stars
    Yum!! So good! Will make again… and again!

  2. Annie says:

    Amazing!! The tahini makes this beyond delicious. Used sweet kale bagged salad mix from Whole Foods and it was perfect!

  3. Mallory H says:

    5 stars
    OMG this is amazing!!!! I didn’t have cilantro on hand so I made it without and it was still delicious! I will definitely be making this again.

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Mallory! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  4. Sophie Delombaerde says:

    5 stars
    So delicious😊!

  5. Beth says:

    5 stars
    This salad was the PERFECT quick dinner tonite! Because I was short on time, I used bags of cole slaw, purple cabbage and shredded carrots. It’s 115 degrees here in AZ today and the last thing I wanted to do was to turn on my oven, so rotisserie chicken (already chopped) came courtesy of my local Safeway. All I had to do was chop green onions and cilantro, make the dressing and give it all a quick toss. A few shakes of Trader Joe’s green and red hatch chili flakes added a bit of spiciness that some of us love. Jamie’s sauces and dressings are always spot on—and this tahini dressing was no exception. Thanks for helping me get a delicious and thumbs-up dinner on the table so fast!

  6. Pat Ryan says:

    Can you give us the nutrition facts for this recipe please?

  7. Polly Rupe says:

    Can you provide the nutrition facts for this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Michelle G says:

      Worst blog comment.

      1. Kaye says:

        Why say this? Why even looking at the blog if you don’t like?