Salad for Supper: Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage and Basil

My wife and I had an evening commitment so I wanted to pack dinner. Since we had been away for the weekend before, our fridge was rather empty. (That tends to happen with us.)

One of the things I preach when making salads is thinking in terms of themes, or general flavor profiles. I knew I had shredded cabbage and oranges in the refrigerator. If I seasoned the chicken with an Asian-style marinade, everything would go well enough together. Adding basil worked well, too, and also added some color and spice.

The final component of the salad was quinoa. I love adding quinoa to cold dinner salads – it gives them more body, while being more nutritious than rice or pasta. Quinoa is adaptable, too. It works with Asian or Mediterranean dishes.

This recipe serves two for dinner.


  • 2 chicken breasts or 6 chicken tenders
  • 3 cups cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 oranges, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 handful basil, roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • Toasted sesame oil

For the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sause
  • 2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

For the dressing:

  • Juice from 1/2 orange (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

Step 1. Boil 1 cup of water, add the quinoa. Cook until all the water is absorbed. Drizzle in a little toasted sesame oil. Let the quinoa cool while you finish the rest of the salad.

Step 2. Combine the soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and grated ginger and pour it over the chicken. Let sit for 15 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients.



Step 3. Chop the cabbage, basil, and orange and combine in a large bowl. Toast the sesame seeds and set aside.

Step 4. Combine the dressing ingredients and set aside. I usually make my salad dressing in a small juice glass.




Step 5. Heat a combination of vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large pan and cook the chicken over high heat. Make sure the temperature in the pan stays high, so the chicken browns and doesn’t steam. Make sure not too much extra marinade gets into the pan. When it is done, remove from the pan, allow to cool for a few minutes, then dice into 1/2-inch cubes.

Step 6. Add the quinoa and chicken to the salad bowl, then pour the dressing on top. Toss thoroughly to combine, then sprinkle the sesame seeds.


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