Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad – Eating Bird Food

This Crisp Orange Tangerine Chicken Salad is loaded with fresh greens, shredded chicken, orange slices and almonds, all tossed with a ginger sesame orange dressing!

I am so excited to finally share this Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad recipe with you today!

The inspiration for this recipe came from my love of various Chinese chicken salads that I have tried in different restaurants over the years. In true EBF fashion, I wanted to create a version that I could easily make at home.

And let me tell you, this salad is definitely worthy of being on a restaurant menu. It’s packed with crunchy greens, tender shredded chicken, sweet oranges, and a delicious orange-ginger dressing. It’s seriously SO good! I can’t wait for you to try it.

Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad in a large white serving bowl.

Why you will love this recipe

  • It has all the makings of a good meal-sized salad… protein, smart carbs, healthy fats, lots of veggies, and a satisfaction factor!
  • It is bursting with flavor and has many different textures.
  • The orange ginger dressing definitely takes this salad to the next level. It’s the chef’s kiss!
  • This salad stores well, making it perfect for meal prep. Hello easy lunches all week!
  • It’s easy to make with simple, everyday ingredients.
Measured ingredients to make Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad: Mandarin oranges, green onions, bell pepper, almonds, red cabbage, napa cabbage, sesame oil, orange juice, carrots, honey, shredded chicken, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, and tamari.

Ingredients needed

  • cabbage – we are using red cabbage and napa cabbage for the base of this salad. Napa cabbage (also known as Chinese cabbage) has a lighter flavor and is more tender, while red cabbage adds a pop of color and slightly stronger flavor. You can also use green cabbage if that’s all you can find.
  • match carrots – add some vibrant color and a nice crunch. Carrot sticks are readily available at most grocery stores, but if you can’t find them, you can easily slice large carrots into thin slices.
  • Red pepper Add some sweetness and more crunch! Feel free to use any color of bell pepper.
  • Green onions – add a nice soft kick of onion. If you don’t have green onions, feel free to use yellow onion, red onion, or scallions.
  • chicken – the main source of protein in this salad! Feel free to follow my slow cooker shredded chicken recipe, or for a shortcut, use shredded rotisserie chicken!
  • tangerines – these little gems are what make this salad special. Juicy, sweet, and full of citrusy goodness, they add a refreshing twist to this salad. If you can’t find tangerines, clementines will work as a substitute.
  • almonds – the perfect crunch factor! Many Chinese chicken salads have wonton strips or crispy rice noodles, but I decided to go with chopped walnuts for my crunch factor. I like to use roasted and salted almonds for added flavor, but you can use raw almonds if you prefer.
  • orange and ginger dressing – the real star of the show! Made with orange juice, honey, rice vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger, this dressing has the perfect balance of sweet and salty and goes perfectly with this salad.
Collage of four photos showing the process for making Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad: make a sesame ginger dressing and then mix cabbage with vegetables, chicken, mandarin oranges and almonds.

How to do

Make dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until combined and smooth. Set aside.

Combine salad ingredients: In a large bowl, add the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, shredded chicken, and green onions. Mix to match.

Add dressing: Pour your prepared orange-ginger dressing over the salad. Toss again so that every bit of the salad is covered in the dressing.

Attend: Add the mandarin orange slices and sliced ​​almonds. Gently toss the salad once more, being careful not to break the delicate orange slices. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for later!

A woman's hand pours the dressing over a shallow white bowl of tangerine-orange chicken salad.

Orange Ginger Dressing

The orange ginger dressing is the star of this salad, in my opinion! It has the sweetness of orange juice and honey, the nuttiness of sesame oil, a hint of flavor from rice vinegar, and some salt from tamari. Trust me, you won’t want to skip this dressing! It definitely elevates every bite of this salad, perfectly balancing the sweet and savory elements.

Here are some substitutions you can make to the dressing, depending on what ingredients you have on hand:

  • Tamari – Both soy sauce and coconut aminos are great substitutes for tamari. Just a note, if you use low sodium tamari or soy sauce, you may want to add a pinch of salt to the dressing!
  • Orange juice – for a shortcut you can use bottled orange juice.
  • Honey – I like the flavor that honey gives this dressing, but if you don’t have it on hand, maple syrup will work as a substitute.
  • rice vinegar – if you don’t have rice vinegar on hand you can use apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Sesame oil – Don’t have sesame oil? Use olive oil or avocado oil instead!
Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad in a shallow white bowl with a metal fork.

substitutions and notes

  • Cabbage: If you can’t find Napa or red cabbage, regular green cabbage will work just fine. Romaine lettuce will also work as a substitute, but it won’t hold up as well as cabbage.
  • Vegetables: Do you have different vegetables on hand? Use what you have! I could see that celery or sliced ​​peas are delicious in this salad.
  • tangerines: If you can’t find tangerines, you can use clementines or any other orange! In a pinch, you can also use canned tangerines. Just make sure they are in juice, not syrup!
  • almonds: Not a fan of almonds or have a nut allergy? Feel free to swap them in with cashews, peanuts, or sunflower seeds.
  • Need to make this vegetarian salad? You can omit the chicken for a vegetarian salad and add some chickpeas, tempeh, or tofu for added protein.
  • Do you want something more crunchy? Try adding chow mein noodles or ramen noodles for more texture and texture.
Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad in a shallow white bowl with a metal fork.

How to store

This salad stores super well, making it great for meal prep!

To do it in advance: If you’re making this as a meal prep salad, I recommend adding some of the dressing to the entire batch, but also save some to add just before serving. The cabbage doesn’t get soggy, but it loses a bit of flavor from the dressing as it sits, so I like to add a drizzle when I serve it.

to save leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.

More Meal-Sized Salads to Try

Be sure to check out my full collection of meal-sized salads, as well as the full collection of salad recipes on EBF!

Service: 1/6 recipe | Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 26gram | Protein: 13gram | Fat: 25gram | Saturated fat: 4gram | Polyunsaturated fat: 10gram | monosaturated fat: 12gram | Cholesterol: 40milligrams | Sodium: 605milligrams | Potassium: 514milligrams | Fiber: 4gram | Sugar: 18gram

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should only be used as an approximation.

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