Chicken and Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds, Scallions & Almonds

December 24, 2016

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Serves: 6 to 8
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min


  • 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
In This Recipe


  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.

More Great Recipes:
Salad|American|Cabbage|Chicken|Green Onion/Scallion|Lemon Juice|Sesame Oil|Vinegar|Almond|Serves a Crowd|Boil|Make Ahead

Reviews (62) Questions (1)

62 Reviews

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!
Author Comment
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.
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
Alexandra S. September 8, 2017
amy April 20, 2017
For the sesame oil, do you use toasted sesame oil or just plain, untoasted?
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
Alexandra S. February 5, 2017
Oh yum! I'll have to try that. Thanks!
NancyFromKona January 28, 2017
I just made this and it is great for a summer potluck as economical and then you have a leftover wonderful, easy stock. How is it that I have cooked so long and not been taught this so simple, so delicious way to make stock? No trying to improve a boxed broth with chopped veggies just awesome chicken taste with time, salt and bones. My cat thinks so too...couldn't lick my fingers hard enough! I really think this qualifies for a Genius designation Alexandria. And yes, I am going to do the chard sesame noodles next. After I finish the roasted sweet potato and black beans. I can't thank you enough.
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 29, 2017
What a lucky kitty! I'm so happy to hear all of this, Nancy! Thank you for your kind words and thanks so much for writing in. So glad this one worked out well for you.
Fresh T. January 27, 2017
I just made this. It was great. I had to use regular balsamic because I thought I had white in the cupboard, but didn't! Oy. One of the dangers of moving a lot. Anyway, I added a bit more lemon and a little less regular balsamic. It was great. Thanks so much Alexandra!
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 29, 2017
So happy to hear this, Dana!
Lisa January 22, 2017
Another great recipe from Alexandra. Again, she provides a recipe with simple ingredients that is easy to make, yet has delicious flavor. It is a very well balanced, complete, and nutritious meal. It has a clean refreshing taste; the use of almond adds crunchiness to the dish, while the toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil add exotic flavor. The composition reminds me of the Burmese tea leaf salad, yet without any intrusive flavor and it is very simple to make.
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 23, 2017
So happy to hear this, Lisa! I find this one so refreshing, too. You're making me crave a Burmese tea leaf salad, which I only had once, but which I remember really enjoying. Thanks so much for writing in!
judy January 17, 2017
My husband requires kale several days a week for his health. This is a great foundational recipe for that kale, and took us in a different direction. Thanks
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 17, 2017
Wonderful to hear this! Thanks for writing in.
monica M. January 14, 2017
Good salad recipe. I've made some similar to it but am always looking for new recipes. Some tweaks: toasted the seeds and nuts for added flavor, added peeled and halved clementines and reduced the sugar (which I always substitute with honey or maple syrup too). Yum!
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 15, 2017
So happy to hear this! I could see how clementines would be such a perfect addition here. Thanks!
Mendy N. January 14, 2017
the salad without the chicken is one I've been having since I can remember. It yumm. We just called it "kupus" or "cabbage" in Croatian.
Sheila January 8, 2017
Loved this! I, admittedly, made a few modifications, but it turned out great. I used half of the neutral oil, rice wine vinegar instead of white balsamic, and honey instead of sugar. I also used Alexandra's baked tofu from her "cabbage pad thai" recipe in place of chicken. So, I guess more than a few, but what a great foundation to start with and excited to try more of your recipes!!
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 9, 2017
So great to hear all of this — it's so nice when recipes are adaptable to tastes and preferences. So happy you worked the tofu in here, too!
Andrea D. January 6, 2017
What a revelation! This is similar to a salad Whole Foods offers at their ready-made salad bar which I have tried to duplicate, but the cabbage was always too tough and full of bad attitude. What I now realize is: salt! The salting step Alexandra includes (thank you, Alexandra and The Slanted Door!) is crucial and makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. A toothsome, crunchy- but-not-combative sumi salad. Plus the poached chicken makes it a meal, not just a side. My post-holiday, over-indulged self is so happy!
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 6, 2017
Yay!! This place (Honest Weight Food Coop) is very similar to a Whole Foods. So happy to hear the salting made a difference to you, too ... Wast that bad attitude right down the drain!! I love it. And same — couldn't agree more about the post-holiday, over-indulged feeling. Thanks SO much for writing in. Happy Happy New Year!
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 6, 2017
Liz B. January 5, 2017
Just made this tonight and loved it! My almonds were no good so I left them out, didn't use chicken, and added some quick-pickled onions I had left over from earlier in the week. The onions were a great addition, and I'm excited to have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch, topped with avocado and a soy sauce egg. Great use of cabbage!
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 5, 2017
So happy to hear this! All of your additions sound lovely!
tina January 4, 2017
Am devouring this right now. Clean, easy, healthy. Very timely for the New Year.

I followed the comment about adding tahini instead. Threw in some sesame seeds also. Added minced garlic, white pepper for that extra zing. Subbed smashed raw wholep almonds instead of the sliced kind (couldn't find it at the market). And used rice wine vinegar instead. Eating it with rooster chili garlic sauce.

I'm looking forward to that broth! Thanks for the recipe!!
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 5, 2017
Fantastic, so happy to hear this! I'll have to try the tahini, too.
tina January 6, 2017
Used the chx broth to make melissa clark's seared broccoli & potato soup over at nyt. So good and goes SO well with the salad!
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 6, 2017
Ooooh!! I can't wait to try that. Thanks for the rec. I have everything on hand to make it ... perfect. Yay.
yuzhrrr January 4, 2017
Super easy, clean and bright. It'll make a good summer recipe -- just 15 minutes with the stove on, so very little heat involved. Sesame seeds ludicrously expensive at my local grocery, so I subbed what I had on hand -- dried soy beans. Different flavor, but good crunch. I added dried chilis and seasoned at the table with a wee bit of soy sauce.
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 5, 2017
Absolutely re summer — I could see making this for a bbq or potluck. Love the idea of crunchy dry soy beans.