Melissa Elsmo

My mom made a variation of this easy Asian salad while I was growing up—she served it with a little dish of mandarin oranges on the side. I remember it was a satisfying meal on a hot summer day, but as I got older, I realized it was unusual to marinate cooked meat in a homemade salad dressing. The simple technique yields big flavor without a lot of fuss—it stands the test of time.

During the pandemic I’ve found myself thinking a lot about how my mom got through cooking for our family at a time when ingredients were far less global at her local market. She relied heavily on pantry staples to spruce up our family meals. This salad brought an unexpected international flair to our table without requiring a bunch of fancy ingredients.

Oh and making those wontons is a little time consuming, but totally worth it! In a pinch you could toss in some chow mein noodles for crunch, but the golden wontons are too much fun!

Easy Asian Chicken Salad


  • ½ Cup grapeseed or canola oil
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 2-3 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
  • 1 Cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cucumber sliced or diced
  • ¼ cup snipped scallions
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ cup toasted almond slivers
  • ½ package of wonton wrappers
  • Canola oil for frying


Whisk the grapeseed oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the shredded chicken, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Cut the wonton wrappers into ½ -inch strips. Heat the canola oil in a medium skillet until hot, but not smoking. Fry wrappers in oil until crispy and golden brown. Remove to drain on a paper towel and season with salt at once.

When ready serve, toss the chopped romaine with the shredded carrots. Divide the salad between 4 bowls and top with the diced cucumber, snipped scallions  and the dressed shredded chicken. Garnish with sesame seeds, almonds and fried wonton strips.

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