Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro

Vietnamese Chicken Salad
This Vietnamese Cabbage Salad is perfect to make with leftover chicken, and I love that the dressing has no oil!

(Updated with better photos and step-by-step instructions, June 2013.)    Way back in 2007, Glenna from A Fridge Full of Food posted a recipe for Vietnamese Cole Slaw, and the minute I saw the recipe, I knew I'd be making some version of it.  Glenna had a Vietnamese co-worker who told her that in Vietnam the dressing for this type of salad would never contain oil, and I love the light but highly flavored dressing here that includes fish sauce, rice vinegar, and lime juice.  And since I have a hard time walking by those rotisserie chickens at Costco without having one jump into my cart, I'm always looking for salads ideas to use the leftover chicken.  With the light dressing, chicken, radishes, and crunchy cabbage, I think this Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro is perfect for summer.

One thing I'm trying to do at my house is have salad fixins in the fridge ready for lunch (when I have a hard time stopping to make a meal) and everything about this salad (except maybe the chopped cilantro) could be prepped ahead and then tossed together when you're ready to eat. This one is really a keeper; hope everyone will like it!

Whisk together the hot sauce, garlic, sweetener of  your choice, rice vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, and salt and pepper to taste to make the dressing.  Having a good quality fish sauce makes a big difference here, and I love Three Crabs Fish Sauce, which I learned about from Lydia's post on fish sauce.   Read that if you've never cooked with fish sauce before.  And don't be put off by the smell, this stuff tastes amazing in small amounts.

I use about one cup of diced chicken for each salad.

The chicken and red onions get marinated in a small amount of dressing, which makes the onions a bit milder and infuses the chicken with flavor.

Chop up the cabbage and cilantro and slice the radishes into half-moon slices.

Toss the salad together with the desired amount of dressing and devour!

And for a little bit of history, here's the original photo of this recipe from back in 2007!

Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro
(Makes enough dressing for at least 4 salads, even if you like a lot of dressing like I do. Recipe originally from Nigella Lawson, adapted by A Fridge Full of Food, with a more adaptations by Kalyn.)

Dressing Ingredients:
3-4 drops Green Tabasco Sauce, Sriracha Rooster Sauce, or other hot sauce (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp. garlic puree or minced garlic
2 T Splenda, Stevia In the Raw Granulated Sweetener, or sugar (use Splenda or Stevia for South Beach Diet)
2 T rice vinegar (not sweetened)
3 T fresh lime juice (I use my fresh-frozen lime juice)
2 T fish sauce (I only buy Three Crabs Fish Sauce)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients (for each Salad):
(all measurements can be adjusted to taste)
1 cup diced cooked chicken or turkey
1/4 red onion, sliced into rings (or sliced green onions)
1-2 cups chopped green cabbage
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1/4-1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Whisk together the hot sauce, garlic, sweetener, rice vinegar, lime juice, and fish sauce to make the dressing.  (Fish sauce can vary greatly in strength, and if you're not used to it I recommend starting with less and adding it until the dressing tastes good to you.  Season dressing with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Dice the chicken and chop the red onion (or slice green onions; then put diced chicken and onion in plastic bowl and mix with a generous amount of dressing. Let marinate 15 minutes or longer while you chop the cabbage and cilantro and slice the radishes.

When ready to serve, add the cabbage, radishes, and cilantro to the chicken/onion/dressing and toss, adding more dressing until the salad is as moist as you'd like it. Serve immediately.

This dressing will keep in the fridge for at least a week, and this is a perfect salad to prep ahead and then mix together when you're ready to eat it.

South Beach Suggestions:
Made with Splenda or Stevia, this salad would be perfect for any phase of The South Beach Diet.  I'd probably eat this as a main-dish salad, but you could also serve with something like Spicy Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Salad with Thai Flavors or Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper, Parsley, and Mint.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Asian Cabbage Salads to Keep You Cool:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Spicy Asian Slaw with Napa Cabbage, Carrots, and Ginger Dressing ~ Cookin' Canuck
Thai-Style Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Mint and Cilantro ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Asian Cabbage Salad ~ The Nourishing Gourmet
Sandee's Sensational Asian Salad with Chicken and Cabbage ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Quick and Easy Asian Pickled Cole Slaw ~ The Perfect Pantry
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon! counter customizable free hit
counter customizable free hit
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. An adaptation of an adaptation? At what point in time does it become your own! :) I guess I'd rather see credit given than not.
    Looks like a lovely salad with without cutting the onion in rings and more green than red cabbage. I'd love a bowl.

  2. Looks colourful and tasty! As well as healthy, of course:) I am consciously trying to eat lots of fresh vegetables, as there are lots of flu bugs around at the moment. Anything vitamin-rich is good:)

  3. I tried this salad back when Orangette posted it in November, and it was delicious! If you don't have any fish sauce (or want to make it vegetarian), you could try a bit of toasted sesame oil. Totally different flavor, but still tasty.

  4. Tanna, looks like this recipe has a lot of incarnations.

    Pille, me too. Plus, eating things like this makes me think of spring!

    Anna I love it. If we subbed the sesame oil that would be an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation! Very funny!

  5. WOW! I love the idea and the colors. Just a gorgeous combination!

  6. Well, you know I love color, so I'm sure I will love this salad. I sending this to my Vietnamese friend too.

  7. Kalyn, this salad captures very much the spirit of the traditional chicken salad eaten in Vietnam. I really love it, so yummy and healthy. And you are absolutely right about not using oil the salad dressing =)

  8. Kitarra, thanks. I did love it.

    Chigiy, love to hear what your friend says.

    Anh, so glad to hear that it's at least somewhat authentic. It seemed like a perfect lunch salad when I saw it on Glenna's blog. Now I know I'll make it over and over.

  9. Kalyn, I see fish sauce and lime juice in your Vietnamese salad, that's 2 thumbs up !! :) Hey, you really gotta try adding chopped vietnamese mint leaves, basils to that too, that would be really authentic :)

  10. MW, I love the idea of adding mint and basil. In the summer when I have them in my garden, this is a must!

  11. What wonderful colors this salad has...its very exciting in appearance!

  12. I made this salad for dinner last night and loved it. So springtime. I will be making it a lot this summer. Thanks!

  13. Lisa Jean, thanks for letting me know you liked it. I have a feeling I'll be making this a lot this summer too, and with mint and basil from my garden when I get some!

  14. What a great combination of flavors & textures. It looks like a terrific salad.

  15. Thanks Pam; really love this salad!

  16. I'm so glad you highlighted the fish sauce here! People often get anxious about the idea (or the smell), but it does wonders for dressings, and you would never know it's in most of them. Gorgeous, healthy salad, Kalyn - I'm loving all these great salad ideas!

  17. Delicious salad! I think next time I'm going to add some slivered almonds!

  18. Calissa, that sounds good to me!

  19. We love to order this salad when we go out for Vietnamese food, and now we can make it at home! Delicious recipe & flavors, agree with the idea of adding mint since this is how our Vietnamese restaurant makes it; they also sprinkle fried shallots on top which you can find at the asian market (if you have one). Note if you use a rotisserie chicken and bagged chopped cabbage will make a double recipe. This will be a new "regular" at our house!

  20. John, so glad you enjoyed it. I love the sound of fried shallots; will definitely look for them!

  21. I love the idea to use your left over rotisserie chicken and the dressing sounds awesome :)


I'm so happy you're taking the time to comment on Kalyn's Kitchen! I love hearing from people who stop by, especially if you're sharing feedback or asking questions about a recipe I've posted here.

I've recently changed my comment settings so people can comment without signing in, but you will need to check the box to show you're a live person, and comments on older posts won't show up until I publish them. Thanks for understanding!

And if you really like the recipe, Pins, Shares, Tweets, and Yums are always appreciated!

Blogging tips