My Chinese Chicken Salad was created from a flavor memory of my favorite Chinese Chicken Salad from a restaurant in San Anselmo, located Northern California, called Comfort’s. Comfort’s was famous for their salads that were served in large Chinese take out boxes. The salad was put in first, then the chicken was laid on top, sprinkled with toasted almonds and sesame seeds. The dressing was nestled in a container in the side and a slice of orange laid on top. It was the perfect balance of flavors.
I add that touch of orange flavor to the my dressing and marinade along with sesame oil, fresh ginger and tamari. I mix shredded Napa cabbage and romaine lettuce for crunch and texture. Grated carrots, cilantro and green onions add flavor while the toasted sesame seeds and almonds add crunch. I usually make a double batch and keep the dressing separate so it lasts longer.
When I was in my 20’s I had a seasonal restaurant at a private swim and tennis club in Ross, California. I began with mostly food for the kids in the summer camps but soon became a lunch place for the ladies. Comfort’s had just opened and I loved their Chinese Chicken Salads and they allowed me to carry them at my place. Soon my little seasonal restaurant became very popular for lunch. I rounded out my menu with fresh veggie tostadas, veggie/shrimp rice paper rolls, other salads and soups. Yet I always sold out of the Comfort’s Chinese Chicken Salad. People began to call and order theirs ahead.
Still today, Comfort’s is a very busy place to find great food and a huge variety of healthy options. Yet their Chinese Chicken Salad is still a best seller! This is my version of their well loved salad.
Dressing and Marinade
1/4 cup Tamari or Coconut Aminos
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 orange, juiced
3 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
3 green onions, chopped, white and green parts
1 tablespoon honey
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ Napa cabbage, cut into strips
1 romaine lettuce, cut into strips
3 carrots, grated or spiralized
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
½ head of cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, green and white parts
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds (or an additional 1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds)
For the marinade:
In a jar with a tight lid add tamari, ginger, olive oil, sesame oil, orange juice and the honey and shake well.
In a large zip bag, pour ¼ of the marinade, add the chopped onions and the chicken breasts and marinade for two hours or overnight. Put the jar of dressing in the fridge to get cold.
Either grill the chicken or cook in a grill pan on the stove over medium high heat. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until done and 165 degrees. Put on a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes so that the juices redistribute. Then cut the chicken into pieces or strips.
Shake the dressing well to make sure it is incorporated well. Then in a large bowl toss together cabbage, chicken, carrots, almonds, green onions, and cilantro with enough dressing to coat salad. Add the chicken on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds.