December 9, 2022

kathleengkane

Be Inspired By Food

Teriyaki Chicken Salad – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

This Teriyaki Chicken Salad is loaded with flavor and texture — tender pasta, fresh baby spinach, dry-roasted nuts, juicy mandarin oranges, crunchy water chestnuts, sweet onion, and seasoned chicken. We toss this salad with an addictive teriyaki dressing that uses only three ingredients and pulls everything together perfectly!

If you love this salad, you’ll enjoy this Asian Pasta Salad, Asian Cucumber Salad, or Applebee’s Chicken Salad.

Overhead image of Teriyaki Chicken Salad

Teriyaki Chicken Salad Recipe

I am so excited to bring you this recipe, adapted from my friend’s brand-new cookbook. Lauren, from Tastes Better From Scratch has just released her first cookbook and it’s absolutely stunning!

Lauren’s cookbook was quickly named a Top New Release on Amazon and, if you flip through, it’s no surprise why. This book is gorgeous! Lauren shares “The Best of the Best” recipes including her favorites, fan favorites from her website, and new recipes that can only be accessed in the cookbook. With over 116 recipes, images for every recipe, and QR codes linking to video tutorials, this book is a must-have. (And, would also make a great gift for the holidays!)

You’ll find recipes for every meal of the day from various cuisines, and plenty of kid-friendly recipes to boot.  In fact, this Teriyaki Chicken Salad was a major hit with my kids — they couldn’t get enough of it. This salad will give you a taste for just how delicious (and easy) the recipes are in her book!

Ingredient shot-- images of the ingredients used in the dressing

What is teriyaki salad dressing made of?

As mentioned, the dressing has only three ingredients! Pictured above, and broken down below:

  • Rice vinegar: This ingredient adds a subtle tang. If you see a label saying rice wine vinegar, it’s the same thing as rice vinegar. 
  • Vegetable oil: You can also use canola oil.
  • Teriyaki sauce: This sauce is the major player in the dressing — it can make or break it! Lauren recommends Mr. Yoshida® teriyaki sauce which we also love. Any good quality, thicker-style teriyaki that you love will work great here.

Process shots of Teriyaki Chicken Salad-- images of the dressing being made and then poured over the pasta

Other Salad Ingredients

Beyond the dressing, this Teriyaki Chicken Salad doesn’t have all that many ingredients either! Here is a quick break-down:

  • Mandarin oranges. To keep things easy, we use mandarin oranges in a can (without added sugar). Alternatively, use fresh clementines in place of the canned mandarins. Peel the clementines, segment them, and add those to this salad!
  • Nuts. We’ve tried peanuts and cashews in this salad and enjoy both. Whichever you choose, opt for “dry-roasted and lightly salted” — more flavor without any effort on your end!
  • Water chestnuts. These add a nice subtle crunch to this teriyaki salad recipe. You’ll find water chestnuts with other Asian products or in the international section of most grocery stores.
  • Dried cranberries. These add a lovely sweetness; choose unsweetened for a less sweet option or regular if you prefer a little extra sweetness.
  • Sweet onion. These onions don’t pack the same punch that regular onions do — they are less pungent and more gentle, making them the perfect addition to add in raw to salads, relishes, or dips (like our fave fry sauce!).
  • Chicken. More on this ingredient below!

Adding Chicken

We add chicken to make a main course meal since it adds protein and staying power. That said, it can be left out for a quicker prep or if you want more of a side dish. And, of course, chicken can be left out to make a vegetarian salad. 

We typically use leftover grilled chicken or will sometimes pick up a rotisserie chicken to dice. And since both are nicely seasoned, they lend more flavor to this salad.

Ingredient shots-- images of the ingredients all prepped

How To Make Teriyaki Chicken Salad (Tips)

  • Salt the pasta well as it cooks, since this is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta. As a rule of thumb, I add 1 teaspoon salt to 4 cups of water.
  • Use a textured pasta. Choose pasta that has plenty of nooks and crannies to hold the delicious teriyaki dressing. Miniature farfalle/bowties are fun, but regular-sized ones work great as well. Other options: rotini, medium shells, fusilli, or penne.
  • Cook the pasta to al dente. The pasta sits in the dressing, so it can easily get soggy if it has been over-boiled. And, on the flip side, pasta becomes a little firmer when served cold, so don’t under-boil it, either! I cook it right to the package directions for al dente.
  • Toss the pasta in dressing. Once the pasta has been drained, toss it with about half of the dressing and pop it in the fridge. This will infuse the pasta with a lovely flavor and help it cool down faster.

VARIATIONS

Variations

  • Add a creamy element. My favorite is avocado. If you do this, dice it up and add the chunks to individual plates right before serving instead of stirring them into the salad bowl. If you mix it in the large bowl, the avocado will turn brown quickly. 
  • Replace the spinach with chopped baby kale. (Read about how to prepare it in this Kale Couscous Salad!)
  • Add some crispy chow mein noodles as a fun topping.
  • Swap out red onion for the sweet onion.
  • Replace mandarin oranges with fresh sweet mango or pineapple (or grilled pineapple!).
  • Add in some edamame (try frozen shelled edamame, boiling to package directions, and fully cool before adding to salad).

Process shots of Teriyaki Chicken Salad-- images of all the ingredients being tossed together for this salad

STORAGE

Storing Teriyaki Chicken Salad 

  • This salad doesn’t sit or store well once dressed. The dressing will wilt the spinach, the veggies soften, and the nuts get soggy and bloated. 
  • You can make this salad in advance; simply store everything separately and toss together right before serving. 
  • This Chicken Salad Teriyaki recipe does not freeze or thaw well.

Overhead image of the dish ready to be served

More Amazing Pasta Salad Recipes:

Teriyaki Chicken Salad

This Teriyaki Chicken Salad is loaded with flavor and texture — tender pasta, fresh baby spinach, dry-roasted nuts, juicy mandarin oranges, crunchy water chestnuts, sweet onion, and seasoned chicken. We toss this salad with an addictive teriyaki dressing that uses only 3 ingredients and pulls everything together perfectly!

Teriyaki Chicken Salad

This Teriyaki Chicken Salad is loaded with flavor and texture — tender pasta, fresh baby spinach, dry-roasted nuts, juicy mandarin oranges, crunchy water chestnuts, sweet onion, and seasoned chicken. We toss this salad with an addictive teriyaki dressing that uses only 3 ingredients and pulls everything together perfectly!

Instructions

  • DRESSING: Combine the dressing ingredients in a resealable glass jar. Shake to combine. Store in the fridge, shaking again before using.

  • PASTA: In generously salted water, cook pasta according to package directions to “al dente” (the minimum time indicated on package). Drain pasta and add to a *very* large bowl; toss with half the prepared dressing and then place in the fridge, covered, until fully cooled.

  • ASSEMBLE: Once pasta is fully cooled, toss with the coarsely chopped spinach. Add diced cooked chicken, peanuts or cashews, cranberries, diced water chestnuts, drained mandarin oranges, and finely diced sweet onion. Drizzle on as much dressing as you’d like (you may not want it all) and gently toss to combine. Taste and add salt/pepper if needed or more dressing. Enjoy immediately!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Teriyaki sauce: This sauce is the major player in the dressing — it can make or break it! We recommend Mr. Yoshida’s teriyaki sauce, but any good quality, thicker-style teriyaki (that you know you love) will work great here.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 569mg | Potassium: 519mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 2031IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.