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in the kitchen with: giao trac’s shredded chicken salad with spicy ginger dressing

by Kristina Gill

Giao Trac’s Vietnamese Spring Rolls were such a hit with readers last year that I thought it was time we checked in with her to see if she had any other treats up her sleeve. Sure enough, she came back with Shredded Chicken Salad with Spicy Ginger Dressing, one of her favorite quick, light meals. Though we don’t normally do leafy salads unless they are out of the ordinary, I like Giao’s idea because of the secret ingredient. There’s no surprise to the salad part; the magic is all in the dressing. Keep some on hand to toss vegetables in, as a sandwich dressing or anything else you like! — Kristina

About Giao (rhymes with ciao!): Giao was born in Vietnam, raised in Chicago and now calls Northern California home. She is a freelance photographer specializing in food, travel and editorial assignments. In her spare time, she chronicles her culinary adventures on her food photography blog, Kiss My Spatula, and tells stories about blending the scents and memories of her eastern heritage along with new ingredients and flavors of her western upbringing.

The full recipe continues after the jump!

Shredded Chicken Salad with Spicy Ginger Dressing
Serves 2

Feel free to substitute the chicken with grilled tofu, shrimp or any protein of your liking.


  • 1 boneless chicken breast, skin removed
  • 1 medium-sized Napa (or Savoy) cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 small tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 mango, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 tbsp. roasted sesame seeds
  • handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • handful of roasted peanuts


Spicy Ginger Dressing

  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil



1. To poach chicken, place the breast in a small saucepan and add water, about 1 inch above the chicken. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiled, immediately lower heat to a very slow simmer and partly cover for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the chicken to cook in hot water for another 15 minutes. Once cooled, shred chicken and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the spicy ginger dressing.

3. Add the cabbage, chicken, carrots, tomato, mint and cilantro to the large bowl and toss gently. Top with mango slices and roasted peanuts. Garnish with scallions and roasted sesame seeds, and serve immediately.

Why Giao Chose This Recipe

This salad is a weekly staple at our house. It’s super easy, packed with nutrition, wrapped in a killer spicy ginger dressing and has become our new favorite go-to light dinner for warm summer evenings. It also doubles as a lovely side for beach picnics and backyard BBQs.

Suggested For You


  • Wow, my Dad loves Chinese Chicken salads and I cannot wait to try this healthy, interesting take on the recipe for my family! I do have a question though — to prepare this dish for 4 people, would it be best to simply double the ingredients?

  • wow this is so colourful and that dressing must have a fabulous kick to it! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Where can you find the little ginger grater? Salad looks great and one that can sup;port substitutions depending on the contents of your frig.

  • I come from hong kong! And i think this cuisine is very attractive because it is really super easy to make! Also, ginger can make another yummy cuisine, such as egg soup with ginger!egg and ginger match up very nicely! YOU SHOULD TRY!

  • I just made this salad for dinner. I added some avocados and fresh lime juice… Really delicious!!!

  • Thanks for such lovely comments, everyone.

    @Katie – Yes, you can simply double the recipe to serve 4. Hope your family enjoys it!

    @Pat – My ginger grater is one of my favorite kitchen tools. I bought the one above at Crate and Barrel – (only a few bucks from what I can remember and it works like a charm).

    @Nora – Yay! So happy you liked it! :)

  • just made for dinner. followed nora’s lead and garnished w/ diced avocado and lime.
    delish! definitely adding it to the recipe book.

  • Wow, this sounds amazing. The spicy ginger dressing sounds great, but what exactly is Sriracha chili sauce? Can this be substituted for any other regular chili sauce? Thanks!

  • So Easy and So delicious!! We loved it!!!! Thanks for the inspiration to try a new recipe!

  • @Emily – You and Nora are definitely onto something. I added avocado and lime to ours and we loved it too.

    @Edwin – Sriracha is a chili sauce typically found in Asian cooking and restaurants. Unfortunately, I don’t know a good substitution since it has a pretty distinct taste. However, it’s readily available at most supermarkets, so I’d highly recommend picking up a bottle. It’s great for dipping…. and we sure can’t live without it in our house!

    @Jess – I felt the same way when I discovered them. :)

    @Alison – My pleasure! So happy to hear that you enjoyed it!

  • after i braved the grocery store during the 5:30pm rush i hurried home so we could get started on making this for dinner. O M G. its fabulous! and im glad we doubled the recipe :) its going to be fab for lunch tomorrow! thanks so much!

  • Just got done making this- so glad I doubled it- absolutely delicious! Found the Sriracha chili sauce @ Whole Foods. Chopped all the veges and will put together for lunch each day. Thanks for a great healthy recipe!

  • I just made this for dinner. It was excellent! Very fresh and full of wonderful flavors. My husband and two young daughters loved it as well. A definite keeper, thank you so much for sharing the recipe!

  • My husband and I love salads for dinner. When we dine out we often choose an Asian chicken salad this salad looks fantastic and I cannot wait to go to the store to get all of the ingredients and make it for tomorrows dinner! Thank you so much for posting this!

  • Thanks for the fresh easy recipe.
    I made this salad for dinner the other night but with the following changes:
    I used Romaine Lettuce instead of cabbage
    I subbed Minor Brand Ginger syrup for the ginger and brown sugar in the dressing,
    almonds for peanuts and as I couldn’t find the Sriracha sauce I made it without it.
    It was delicious and easy and I will probably make it again this week as things are really heating up here in LA. Love the idea of the lime and avocado.

  • @The Katey Bee – Wow, you are so much braver than I to step in the mayhem of the rush hour supermarket traffic! So thrilled to hear the trip was worth it!

    @Kelly – Yay!! Be careful, the Sriracha is addicting. :)

    @Maggie – Awhh, that makes my day and brings joy to my heart knowing your family ate well. xo.

  • Made last night w/a few tweaks based on what was around (+cucumber, -mango, sub almonds, -sesame seeds, -mint). I made the dressing 100% to spec and it was xlnt. Maybe next time I’ll make the salad to spec. Thanks.

  • Made it for tonight’s dinner. Highly recommended! My my my, fresh, healthy and delicious. This will be in my regular menu. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  • You know what? I just ate a whole salat all by myself! I just coudnt stop, it was so delicious!! Haven’t had such an appetite in a long time.
    This salad is perfection , thank you : )

  • Take the dressing. Pour some over a bowl full of warm noodles, chopped cilantro, edamame, and green onion. Mix. Win.

    (also tasty with shrimp or beef added.)

  • @Magdalene – Ha! Too funny…I have to admit, I’ve done that a few times myself. Glad to know I now have a partner in crime. :)

  • I made a vegetarian version of this tonight with Quorn ‘fillets’ which resemble the taste of chicken from how I remember it. It really was lovely and light with a whole lot of zing factor. I’ve got some left over to use in a wrap to take to work tomorrow – lucky me! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  • Giao, your photograhy is incredibly beautiful! Loved all your market pictures from your kissmyspatula blog, and will definetely try the salad recipe posted here. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Oh my, this dressing is fantastic. I’m congratulating myself for doubling it, but from now on I might as well triple it. I think from now on it will occupy a permanent place in my refrigerator. Thank you for the recipe!

  • This was awesome–love the flavors and will definitely be making it again! It was very refreshing, but also filling. I did find the dressing a tad sweet though. Next time, I’ll cut back on the brown sugar and add a squeeze of lime juice.

  • I really want to make this recipe but the images, beautiful though they may be, seem to be obscuring the preparation. Is this happening to anyone else? Thank you!

  • I just made the dressing and will make the salad in a few hours but wow, the dressing is fantastic!!!

  • Can I replce the Sriracha sauce with anything else? Here in Buenos Aires I can’t seem to find it.