This crispy chicken salad with a peanut-garlic dressing is a low-maintenance 30-minute dinner that’s packed full of crispy veggies and crunchy rice noodles. It’s an easy warm-weather dinner.
Crispy Chicken Salad with Peanut-Garlic Dressing
We’ve reached that point in the summer when a bagged salad mix combined with store-bought chicken tenders totally counts as real cooking and we don’t give a second thought to the fact that we didn’t make dinner from scratch. Easy salad prep and no need to mess around with breading chicken. To balance things out we are making the peanut-garlic dressing from scratch because whisking a handful of pantry ingredients to drizzle over the salad goes a long way to make us feel like we’re doing “real” cooking. And when I say “we” I mean you and me because we’re in this together, right?
And I don’t know if it was the hot weather or a commercial I might have seen on TV, but the idea for this crispy chicken salad started with a serious craving for a certain “Asian”-style salad served at a certain restaurant called Applebee’s. When I was in college the local Applebee’s was a bustling hot spot in our small town and if you weren’t employed by them you knew someone who was. It’s a restaurant I haven’t been to in years, but I remember the chicken-topped salad was one of my favorites and so this blast-from-the-past craving was all I could think for about four days straight last month. So, I made my own version and took advantage of some serious short-cuts to make it a hot-weather summer-friendly 30-minute dinner.
Some Ingredients You’ll Need
For the Salad
- Salad Mix: Look for a bagged Asian-style salad mix with different kinds of cabbage and carrots that are already cut. Mine included a dressing and some crispy looking garnishes that I didn’t use. You could also use a coleslaw mix. I doctored-up my salad mix with some chopped fresh spinach and red onion, but this is completely optional depending on veggie-chopping motivation levels.
- Breaded chicken: There are many frozen breaded chicken options, but I really like Applegate chicken tenders.
For the Peanut-Garlic Dressing
- Peanut butter
- Sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar
- A touch of sugar
- Lime juice and ginger for a zesty kick
- Crispy rice noodles
- Sliced green onion
- Roasted peanuts
While the chicken bakes, you can prepare the dressing and salad and from there it’s just a quick toss and dinner is ready.
Happy short-cut salad-making!
More Summer RecipesPrint
This crispy chicken salad is an easy warm-weather dinner thanks to some smart short-cuts like bagged salad and store-bought chicken tenders. The dressing is a zingy peanut-garlic combo and all of it comes together in about 30 minutes.
For the Salad
- 6 ounces frozen breaded chicken tenders (I like Applegate brand)
- 3 cups Asian-style bagged salad (see note)
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
For the Dressing
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup rice noodles
- Bake the chicken tenders according to package directions. While they bake, assemble the salad by tossing the packaged salad with the spinach, and red onion. Divide the salad between two plates or bowls.
- In a small bowl, whisk the peanut butter, garlic, oil, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, ginger paste, and red pepper flakes until smooth. The dressing will be thick, so add up to 3 tablespoons of water until it is thin enough to pour.
- Slice the baked chicken tenders into bite-sized pieces and divide them between the two salads. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salads and garnish each with the chopped peanuts and green onion.
Look for bagged Asian-style salad mix in the produce department. Mine included a package of dressing and other garnishes, which I didn’t use. If you can’t find one, you can use a coleslaw mix.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 salad
- Calories: 539
- Sugar: 9.9g
- Sodium: 953.5mg
- Fat: 33.3g
- Carbohydrates: 42.8g
- Fiber: 6.9g
- Protein: 22.3g
Keywords: crispy chicken salad, Asian-style chicken salad