Chopped Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing and Cashews! (VEGAN OR CHICKEN – YOU DECIDE!)


My eyes go a bit swirly when I see a recipe with 40000000 ingredients. So I try to simplify things for myself. If there are parts that can be made ahead do that! Especially with small children, making a complicated dinner can be daunting.

This salad is great as you can make the cashew topping and dressing in advance and even prep your veggies as well. Then you just put it all together at dinner time woohoo!

I love this salad and have made it quite a lot lately. I have some more photos which I will add to this post when I get some time. But here is what I have for now. ENJOY!!!

Found this here gem on The Pioneer Woman / Food & Friends portion of the site.

It’s a good’n. However I have changed up the veggies a fair amount as I don’t really like bean sprouts or cooked peas in this salad myself. And I love kale far more than cabbage. So here is my version. I have marked my changes with an (*). Feel free to add back any of the original ingredients per your taste! As well you can just pick out what looks good in the produce aisle! Basically it’s an excuse to eat lots of the dressing. It is so good and I am thinking it could work on many other dishes as a light sauce. Anyway more on that another time.

You can follow the original recipe here if you you feel so inclined: Ultimate Asian Chicken Salad

Cashews: ( I left out the water and sugar. But I add in a little oil)

  •  Cashews (raw or toasted unsalted are fine) – as many as you wanna make!
  • Toasted sesame seeds ( a combo of black and white is nice, but either is fine)
  • Drizzles of honey OR/ sprinkle coconut palm sugar to make vegan
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (leave out for kidlets)
  • Dash good salt
  • Drizzle olive oil*

Bake in oven or toast in a pan on stovetop til golden and coated with honey mixture

Dressing: (amounts based on the original plus my additions – but in all honesty I just eye-ball it) If feeding more than 4 people than double this. If it’s for yourself than you can store the dressing in the fridge for another salad later in the week or you can just halve the recipe)

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (my favorite is creamed/unpasteurized) OR/ sprinkle coconut palm sugar to make vegan
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons  olive* oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (if using pre-seasoned make sure to put less honey and then add more later so it doesn’t come out too sweet)
  • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium* soy sauce (adjust to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame paste* (Chinese sesame paste, could sub tahini if you want but it won’t be as nutty)
  • Sesame seeds*

Stick everything in a blender or a container which fits a hand blender and puree til smooth.

Salad-y Bits: (my ingredient list is quite different from the original but do what suits your tastebuds!) JUST MAKE AS MUCH AS YOU NEED TO FEED YOURSELF OR YOUR CREW!

  • Shredded cooked chicken OR/ sauteed tofu slices to make vegan (if you want to make it easy on yourself just grab a rotisserie chicken or pre-fried tofu, or even your fave  faux-chicken slices or baked strips)
  • Thinly shredded kale* (de-stem or use baby Kale ) – as much as you need!
  • 1-2 Yellow  or orange* bell peppers, julienned
  • Carrots julienned (rainbow carrots are tasty and fun if you can find them!)
  • Scallions, thinly sliced
  • Pea shoots *(make sure you get ones that don’t have tough ends – those are difficult to chew!)
  • English cucumber, julienned
  • 1- 2  fresh jalepenos, seeded and julienned (leave out for the kiddies of course)
  • Extra sesame seeds to top

Wash and chop everything as you would 😉

Optional additions: trimmed sliced raw snow peas, raw snap peas, shredded Asian cabbage(s), red cabbage, cooked and cooled edamame beans (out of the pod of course), avocado slices…. endless possibilities really!

Optional not-so healthy additions: spring roll/wonton wrapper bits fried in olive oil and drained on paper towel, broken up crispy noodles, fried rice vermicelli puffs…

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.


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