This Vietnamese chicken salad is a simple-to-assemble salad of cabbage, chicken, cilantro, and dressing that keeps well for several days in the fridge. It’s authentic through and through thanks to its notes of sour, sweet, salty, and heat.
This Vietnamese chicken salad recipe is authentic through and through and made with simply cabbage, carrots, chiles, peanuts, and leftover chicken tossed in an intriguingly tangy, sour, sweet, salt dressing. It makes enough to fill several Mason jars (or any portable container) to take to work and incite some lunch envy among your coworkers or it can be just the right amount to feed the family a weeknight dinner. Originally published January 7, 2017.–Angie Zoobkoff
How To Make This Vietnamese Chicken Salad Even Easier
If you lack the time to slice, dice, and chop vegetables, simply grab a couple bags of premixed coleslaw mix at the grocery store. You know the one—with the blend of green and red cabbage along with a little carrot. It’ll work perfectly in this recipe.
Vietnamese Chicken Salad
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Serves 3 to 4
- For the pickled cabbage
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup cold water
- 3 tablespoons palm sugar or packed light brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound red cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 Fresno chile (or other hot chile that you prefer), halved, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound green cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
- For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- For the Vietnamese chicken salad
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (such as from a roast chicken)
- 1 cup cilantro leaves (or, if you can find it, Vietnamese coriander or rau ram)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
- Make the pickled cabbage
- 1. Whisk the vinegar, water, sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt together in a medium bowl. Pour half the mixture into a second medium bowl. Add the red cabbage to one bowl along with half the carrot and chile. Add the green cabbage to the other bowl along with the remaining carrot and chile. (Alternatively, if you only want to buy a single head of cabbage, just substitute more green cabbage for the red and mix everything in a single bowl.) Refrigerate the cabbages until pickled, about 1 hour.
- 2. Drain the cabbages, reserving 1/4 cup pickling mixture from the green cabbage.
- Make the dressing
- 3. In a small bowl, whisk the reserved pickling mixture with the fish sauce and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the Vietnamese chicken salad
- 4. If you’re preparing the salad in a single large serving bowl, layer the green and red cabbage mixtures at the bottom of the bowl. Drizzle half the dressing over the cabbage. Top with the chicken, cilantro, and peanuts, and drizzle the remaining dressing on top. Toss gently to combine and serve immediately. (The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Do not toss with the dressing until just before serving.) If you’re preparing the salad in Mason jars, divide the remaining dressing among four 1-pint (473-ml) jars, then layer in the red and green cabbages, followed by the chicken. Top with the cilantro and peanuts and seal the jars with lids. Just before serving, shake each jar to evenly distribute the dressing and serve. (The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Do not toss with the dressing until just before serving.)
Vietnamese Chicken Salad Variations
- Tired of chicken? Skip it. Use poached salmon or diced tofu in its place.