Chicken & Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds, Scallions & Almonds

December 24, 2016
17 Ratings
Photo by Alexandra Stafford
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

Inspired by the Sumi Salad at the Honest Weight Food Coop in Albany, this one has the addition of a poached whole chicken. It's truly delicious without the chicken, but I find the chicken turns it into more of a meal and makes it last longer.

I learned the cabbage salting method from The Slanted Door cookbook. The brief salting helps the cabbage relax and release some of its liquid, which not only helps it absorb the dressing better, but makes the shreds more tender and easier to eat.

If you don't feel like dealing with a whole chicken, you could certainly substitute pieces, such as two or three boneless skinless chicken breasts or legs. To use boneless, skinless pieces: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the chicken pieces, turn off the heat, cover the pot, remove it from the heat and let it poach for 15 minutes. Remove pieces, let cool briefly, then shred. This method is the same one used in the sesame noodles with chard and chicken recipe.

To make chicken stock, don’t discard the bones and poaching liquid in step one. Return the carcass, bones, and skin to the pot, and simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours or until the broth tastes good. —Alexandra Stafford

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs
  • 1 head cabbage, about 2.5 lbs
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Drop in the chicken and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove chicken, let cool briefly, then remove meat from bones, and pull or shred into pieces. (See notes above about making stock with poaching liquid and bones/skin).
  2. Meanwhile, cut the cabbage into quarters through the core. Thinly slice it, discarding the core. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage. Let sit for 15 minutes. Fill bowl with cold water and jostle the cabbage with your hands. Drain into a large colander. Don't worry about drying the cabbage.
  3. Meanwhile, make the dressing: Whisk together the neutral oil, sesame oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and remaining teaspoon kosher salt.
  4. In a large bowl, place the cabbage, pulled meat, almonds, sesame seeds, and scallions. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jennifer Uzumcu
    Jennifer Uzumcu
  • Urvashi Bhagat
    Urvashi Bhagat
  • babswool
  • Leslie Tentler
    Leslie Tentler
  • Emily Hull
    Emily Hull
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

74 Reviews

missquickly December 27, 2023
I really expected to love this based on the description, but found it underwhelming. Adding fish sauce, soy sauce, a bit more sweetness, and lime juice helped perk it up quite bit, but I don’t think I’ll make it again.
neighome June 19, 2023
This is a nice salad. The salted cabbage and poached chicken techniques are the stars! The rest is nice enough, but can be tweaked any which way to your taste. My 4 lb chicken was cooked through with 15 simmer and 30 minute rest. For my palate, it needs heat and less neutral oil. I love the cabbage and chicken techniques, which I'm sure to adapt to many other uses.
Meg May 10, 2023
Good recipe but seemed a bit bland but was easily elevated with addition of chili crisp. Delicious
Jennifer U. May 6, 2023
Very nice and light spring/summer salad. It's going to be a staple for our summer!
Urvashi B. March 6, 2021
Hello! can I substitute cabbage with a different leafy vegetable in this salad?
carswell May 3, 2023
I would think Napa cabbage would work but it won't be as resilient as regular cabbage.
Rachel C. February 17, 2021
This was popular with the whole family, but the chicken was under done. I had to cook it again and let it cool again.
NXL January 9, 2021
This was a simple salad to put together with nice flavors and textures. I love it when I have a carcass to make broth, too. FYI: I had a 4 pound bird that not get done with the 30 minute simmer plus 15 minute covered rest, possibly because it was not completely submerged?
NXL January 9, 2021
This was a simple salad to put together with nice flavors and textures. I love it when I have a carcass to make broth, too. FYI: I had a 4 pound bird that not get done with the 30 minute simmer plus 1
LetaBee January 4, 2021
We used to have a salad like this a cafe i worked at. The chicken was left out.. that way it was vegan. If chicken was wanting, sliced poached chicken was put on top. Extra herbs were added to the salad... usually coriander and green onions. Extra salad dressing, peanuts and red chillies on the side.
Irenehope December 29, 2019
About 40 years ago, my Japanese friend taught me a similar way to poach a whole chicken; put a chicken in a pot, cover it with cold water, bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat. Let it sit for one hour. Same results, including broth.
susan T. December 28, 2019
This salad is terrific and refreshing. On occasion, I’ve added fresh mint, thinly sliced red pepper, and shredded carrots, for color and extra freshness. It’s just as great without those additions, and I’ve even used peanuts instead of almonds which is also delish. I like extra green onions. Holds up well for a picnic and for days in the fridge! Highly recommend a good quality roasted/toasted sesame seed oil - makes all the difference.
babswool August 7, 2018
Served this at a guests liked it but I didn't think it was anything special. The dressing is what I think could have improved the flavor. I even added a lot more chicken so it wasn't all cabbage.
Maureen May 4, 2018
Sesame seeds are not toasted?
Leslie T. January 24, 2018
This was excellent! And it kept well from Sunday night until Tuesday lunch when we ran out of it. I will admit to adding quite a bit more sliced almonds and sesame seeds than the recipe called for, couldn't help myself! It also made quite a lot, so I can see how it would be good for a potluck situation. Thanks for a great recipe!
Alexandra S. January 24, 2018
Wonderful to hear this! Yes to more almonds and sesame seeds!!
Emily H. January 19, 2018
How well does this salad store? I'm hoping to make on Sunday and use for lunch throughout the week.
Alexandra S. January 19, 2018
It keeps very well. I'm not sure I would say a full week, but you could definitely try — it won't go bad in a week. I would say it will hold up well at least through Wednesday. If it lasts till Friday, let us know how it holds up. Love this one!
Emily H. January 24, 2018
To echo Leslie's comments, the salad held up great. I finished off the last bit for lunch on Wednesday. Great recipe with a ton of flavor, I can't wait to bring it to summer BBQs!
Alexandra S. January 24, 2018
Wonderful to hear!
someonewhobakes October 24, 2017
This is such a keeper! It tastes a lot like a classic Chinese chicken salad, except with cabbage. I have it in my “heatless meals” folder for days like today (105 degrees), when I can just pick up a rotisserie chicken and have dinner 20 minutes later.
Julie R. September 10, 2017
This has become a great favorite! I leave out the sugar because the balsamic sweetens it enough for my tastes, and dust with a little white pepper before serving. Wonderful -- thanks for this.
Christine C. September 7, 2017
This was so delicious!!!! My husband turned his nose up with the idea of salad for dinner but he loved it too!
Alexandra S. September 8, 2017
amy April 20, 2017
For the sesame oil, do you use toasted sesame oil or just plain, untoasted?
Alexandra S. April 20, 2017
I typically use toasted, but either would be fine.
sl(i)m February 5, 2017
We made this with leftover slow-roasted duck from Food 52.... DEElicious!
Alexandra S. February 5, 2017
Oh yum! I'll have to try that. Thanks!