A New Take on Chicken Salad

March 27, 2014   20 Comments

Chicken salad is famous for blobs of mayonnaise and showing up at picnics.

Thai Chicken Salad

Snack Girl To The Rescue! features a blobless chicken salad that I make frequently because it is my favorite chicken salad (and I can make it in a flash).

But, the same old chicken salad can get dull. This recipe features cabbage, which is everywhere right now, fish sauce, and lime. Fish sauce is this wonderful stuff that smells like old socks.

You can find fish sauce in the “Asian” section of your supermarket next to the soy sauce. It is a dark brown liquid that is extracted from the fermentation of fish with sea salt. If you have tried Worcestershire sauce – then you have an idea of how it tastes.

The dressing has lime, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar which give a sweet, sour, and salty flavor which is quite tasty. The key is not to use too much of it because at one tablespoon you have 573 milligrams of sodium which is quite high. I tried a bunch of ways to lower the grams of sodium, but it didn’t work. Please share any ideas you might have.

You can cook a bunch of chicken breasts, shred your cabbage and carrots, and store the ingredients in the fridge ready to go before you pack your lunch. I would wait to chop the cilantro because it tends to dissolve and ruin things.

Thai Citrus Chicken Salad Recipe

1.9 from 17 reviews

Serves 1

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1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 4-5 ounce boneless chicken breast, cubed
1 ½ cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrot, shredded
¼ cup cilantro chopped
1 lime wedge (optional)


1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium high. Add minced garlic and chicken and saute until chicken is cooked through (about 4 minutes).

In a large bowl, mix together cabbage, carrot, and cilantro. Add cooked chicken and garlic and toss.

In a small bowl combine lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. Measure out one tablespoon of dressing and drizzle on salad. Toss to combine flavors. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

For salad without dressing: 245 calories, 7.9 g fat, 0.7 g saturated fat, 17.6 g carbohydrates, 8.6 g sugar, 26.6 g protein, 5.8 g fiber, 153 mg sodium, 6 Points+

For one tablespoon dressing: 9 calories, 0.0 g fat, 0.0 g saturated fat, 1.8 g carbohydrates, 1.3 g sugar, 0.5 g protein, 0 g fiber, 573 mg sodium, 0 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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Yes, cilantro DOES ruin things :P

This sounds yummy and I am anxious to try it! I've never had fish sauce (not a big seafood fan!) and have actually never really even heard of it! I'm all for trying new things; however, plus, I LOVE chicken salad!!!

How would you make this without the fish sauce? I would like to make it but my daughter has an anaphylactic fish allergy.

Not a fan of cilantro at all. Instead of mayo I use Greek yogurt. Soy sauce and fish sauce together must be high in salt.

Sodium content way to high.

Try To Find Tiparos Brand Fish Sauce As It Has 50% Less Salt In It Then Most Of The Other Brands

Also Employ Low Sodium Soy Sauce.

Do you think the Worcestershire would be a suitable substitute for the fish sauce? My hubby is allergic to seafood as well.

I'm a huge fan of coleslaw-type salads without mayo (and I'm another who'll skip the cilantro!). A Weight Watcher, down 80lbs so far, I use seasoned rice vinegar and/or Hellman's fat-free raspberry vinaigrette to keep it 'lite'. For a heartier version, I may add kidney beans and fat-free cottage cheese. Yum!

@Kimberly - you could simply use soy sauce and skip the fish sauce - maybe add more vinegar. Make it how it tastes good to you.

@Christina - Worcestershire has anchovies in it so that is not going to work. Try it with only the soy sauce and see how you like it.

Thanks for your questions and comments!

This looks good but I would use kefir (or yogurt), a little Bragg's apple cider vinegar, lime juice, a bit of celery salt or tamari (wheat free), and just a pinch of sweetener to cut the acidity. I love cilantro and use it in many things. It is so similar to parsley which could be used in its place. I don't understand why some people don't like it. Each to their own.

Thanks for this recipe!

Fish sauce is made from fish heads and scraps. Not nicely dressed fish and certainly not the filet of the fish. It is made in countries with far less governmentally mandated cleanliness than ours. Hopefully the fermentation process kills the undesirables but I want no part of it since I saw how it was made.

Our Kroger didn't have fish sauce when I went at lunch. I'm going to substitute Oyster Sauce. Do you think that would be okay?

This sounds great, I think I'll be making this for lunch in the next couple of days, I'm a little skeptical about the fish sauce but I'm always up for trying new things!

Just made coleslaw and used shredded cabbage plain greek yogurt rice vinegar salt pepper garlic siracha and some sugar. I used this on a rueben sandwich and used the leftover greek yogurt to make my own Russian dressing. For the Russian dressing I used the rest of the plain greek yogurt ketchup chopped up pickles salt. I had leftover Russian dressing so I ended up using that a dressing for the cabbage and made some good coleslaw.

@Marie - yes, I think oyster sauce would work well - just make sure to whisk it in with a fork because it is thicker than fish sauce. Sorry about that - my Stop & Shop has it - but that doesn't mean every major grocery store will have it.

Thanks for your question!


I think cilantro is one of the flavors that triggers "super tasters" taste buds. I know if I eat anything with cilantro, that is all I can taste in the entire dish. Parsley doesn't do that at all.

Dont be afraid of fish sauce! Thai food uses it in their dishes. You can find it at your local store in in the asian section. It is anchovy extract and you barely taste it in the dish

I substituted chicken broth for the fish sauce and left out the cilantro (which I think tastes like dishwashing liquid) :) and added a little fresh basil. Was incredible!

can't wait to try this, although i think i would rather it be a cold salad, what about cold shredded chicken instead???

I made this using coconut aminos for all of the soy sauce and 1/2 of the fish sauce cutting the sodium dramatically. It tasted amazing!


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