Citrus and Sesame Crispy Chicken Salad

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No matter how many times I have a really good salad, I always find myself mulling over how much better it was than I expected. There's something about a salad that is packed with all different flavors that makes it so fun to eat. Each bite is a little different and for the notorious fast-eaters out there (*raises hand*), a good salad can really be enjoyed. This crunchy, fresh, colorful, and filling recipe checks all the boxes. I promise it will leave you feeling energized and satisfied, the best of both worlds.

No boring salads here!

In my opinion, a really good salad always has a couple things in common. It's always got a variety of ingredients, some protein, something crunchy, and lots of color! This salad checks all those boxes, and is truly one of our favorites.

sesame panko crusted chicken with sauce

Starting with the chicken, which ingredients do you need?

The only cooking involved in this salad is the chicken. This salad is topped with a sesame crispy chicken, which is so delicious and crunchy, and is topped with the most umami-flavored sauce. It adds so much to this salad and will also be sure to fill you up. The most important thing to keep in mind here is you want your chicken to be pounded super thin. In my opinion, thinly sliced chicken on a salad is the best way to have it! It ensures a little bit in every bite, and is also much easier to eat with a fork. So put those chicken breasts between some plastic wrap on a cutting board and pound them nice and thin!

You'll start by grabbing the ingredients for the crispy coating:

  • panko breadcrumbs - I love using panko breadcrumbs because since they're bigger than regular breadcrumbs, they add an extra crunch
  • sesame seeds - adding some sesame seeds to the coating adds the best flavor that pairs with the rest of the salad
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • eggs
  • olive oil - helps the chicken crisp up in the oven!

The panko and sesame seeds get extra crispy in the oven, and the eggs really help the panko mix stick to the chicken. A light drizzle of olive oil helps everything become nice and golden, and gives an extra crunch!

Sesame soy sauce chicken with panko

How do you make the chicken?

This chicken is super easy to make, and really quick too. All you'll need to do is:

  1. Combine the panko, sesame seeds, and a little salt and pepper on a plate
  2. Add eggs to a medium bowl and whisk with a fork
  3. Coat each chicken first in the egg, then press into the panko mix on each side
  4. Lay chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet
  5. Drizzle each with 1 teaspoon olive oil
  6. Pop in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until cooked through!
  7. Broil *and watch closely* to get them extra golden

I love this chicken because it's not super heavy since it's baked, but it also gets super crispy and delicious like a coated pan-fried chicken breast would. I promise it's worth it to make this delicious and crunchy topping for this salad! Now for the sauce...

Salad ingredients

What about this sauce for the chicken?

Okay this sauce is SO good. It's sticky, soy-flavored, umami goodness that makes this chicken! You'll just need to grab:

  • sesame oil
  • garlic
  • crushed red pepper
  • fresh ginger
  • soy sauce
  • honey

While the chicken is cooking, 1) heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium heat 2) add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and ginger, stirring until fragrant, for 2-3 minutes 3) reduce the heat to low and add the soy sauce and honey, simmering until thickened, about 3-4 minutes. And finally, drizzle this sauce over each chicken breast and admire the sticky goodness!

Sesame crispy chicken salad with citrus

Now that the chicken is done, what else is going in this salad?

This salad is truly one of my all time flavor combinations. It also comes out so colorful which in my opinion, always makes salads more fun to eat. This salad is one of those where I can also eat it for dinner, and be EXTREMELY happy with how tasty it is, not even just for a salad, but in general! The other ingredients in this chicken salad are:

  1. romaine lettuce
  2. cabbage - I love adding this, it adds some color and great texture
  3. bean sprouts - fun addition, and you don't need many at all
  4. scallions - adds a great bite
  5. cilantro
  6. clementines - probably the best part other than the chicken, they go so great with the other ingredients and brighten this salad up!
  7. wonton strips - an extra crunch, if I wasn't allergic to nuts an almond would also be great!
  8. avocado
  9. cucumber - I like to thinly slice them into ribbons to add some more great texture

Add all these ingredients to a large bowl, and top with the chicken, which I like to slice into thin strips!

Citrus salad with sesame crispy chicken

Last but not least, the vinaigrette!

This vinaigrette is my favorite, and the lime juice it has in it is what makes it for me! Super zesty and also umami-flavored, this vinaigrette really brings all the other ingredients together. All you'll need for this is:

  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • juice of one lime - adds the perfect zest
  • oyster sauce - adds both flavor and thickness
  • chili garlic sauce - just a little heat!
  • fresh ginger
  • honey

Whisk these ingredients together and if you like extra dressing, feel free to double this vinaigrette recipe up!

Sesame crispy chicken salad with clementines and avocado

This salad is fresh, satisfying, colorful, and fun - everything we always want in a salad that's good enough for dinner, and light enough for lunch. Squeeze on some extra lime juice and enjoy this packed sesame crispy chicken salad!

Citrus and Sesame Crispy Chicken Salad

Refreshing and healthy, a lunch or dinner-worthy sesame crispy chicken salad packed with crunchy, flavorful, and colorful fruits and veggies.

Author:
Jackie

Ingredients

Servings: 4

Sesame Crispy Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts, about 1 pound total
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ⅛ cup sesame seeds
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • crushed red pepper, sprinkle
  • 1 tbsp ginger, fresh, grated
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey

Salad

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup cabbage, chopped
  • ½ cup bean sprouts
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 4 clementines
  • ½ cup wonton strips
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • ½ an english cucumber, cut into long strips

Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • juice of one lime
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • ½ tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions

Sesame Crispy Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pound chicken breasts until thin. Coat a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine panko, sesame seeds, kosher salt, and black pepper on a plate. Add beaten eggs to a medium bowl. Coat each chicken breast in the beaten eggs, dredge through the panko mix, pressing until coated on each side, then lay on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle each chicken breast with 1 teaspoon of oil then bake until cooked through, 12-15 minutes depending on thickness. In the last minute of cooking, broil until top is golden and remove from oven.
  4. Meanwhile, heat sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, crushed red pepper, and ginger, stirring until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add soy sauce and honey, simmering until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Drizzle over each chicken breast and set aside while you prepare the salad.

Salad

  1. Toss salad ingredients together in a bowl and top with sliced sesame crispy chicken.
  2. Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and drizzle over salad. Enjoy!
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

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