Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad

This Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad can be served as a main dish, a side salad, a potluck or holiday dish! It’s always the first to go. It’s just that good!

A friend and I were recently discussing entertaining, the value of relationships, and why it’s important to regularly get together with good friends over a tasty meal.

For this new year, I’d love to challenge readers to not waste time, make entertaining moments happen, work on relationships, and spend time with people who will help you become a better person.

It works the other way, too. I understand that not every entertaining moment is glorious and golden, but the benefits outweight not getting together with people!


Dr. Brene Brown is a favorite author of mine. My husband introduced me to her when she wrote her first book, and I’ve recommended her writing to many.

Her message is freeing—about vulnerability, being authentic and real with others, and why connection matters.

“Living a connected life ultimately is about setting boundaries, spending less time and energy hustling and winning over people who don’t matter, and seeing the value of working on cultivating connection with family and close friends.” ― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

I want to be one of those people who lives a rich life, surrounded by love and people.

Change entertaining habits.

This may be the year that you change your entertaining habits, and even some friendships (it doesn’t mean you dump the friends, you just change the boundaries), and you create a goal of making new connections.

An example might be instead of doing casual pizza every Friday night, maybe invite 2 or 3 people over for a sit-down meal. Remember you don’t have to do it all; ask guests to bring a dish!

Or, start hosting a Sunday Soup Night (or afternoon) where you invite the neighbors.

If you don’t like to cook, figure out your budget and invite a couple or two out to dinner 2 times a month.

Just try something new!

I know some goals of mine are to be healthy, make new friends, encourage others, and spend time with “wise” people. In fact, I wrote about it here, at my Burn the Candles post.

The results of entertaining are connection and deeper relationships with others. It’s great to make new friends, to visit with old friends, and really, if you have a family, it’s one of the greatest gifts that you can hand down to your children: the gift of a hospitable heart.

Be smart with time.

I also want to be smart with my time this year, using what I’ve been given wisely. Sometimes that means we say no to one invite, and yes to another (like hosting in our own home!)

Baby Shower

My daughter and I recently went to a baby shower that our friend hosted, with a packed house of about 50 people.

It was awesome to see her daughter so blessed with so many people who cared about her (and an abundance of gifts, which took forever for her to open – lol!), and everything was so darling and baby festive!

(I just had to take a quick iPhone pic!)

Baby Shower

Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad

My friend served an array of luncheon dishes, and I offered to help by bringing one of my favorite salads that everyone loves, Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad.

It’s the perfect dish to take to a party, especially if you double the recipe and serve it in a giant bowl (feeds a crowd).

The sweet and tangy dressing with a hint of sesame combined with crisp, thinly chopped cabbage, crunchy, salty sesame sticks, dried orange cranberries, chicken, toasted almonds and plenty of fresh cilantro, makes every bite sensational.

It can be served as a main dish, or a side salad, and I promise, it’s always the first to go. It’s just that good! You can bring the salad to a party in a large bowl, or serve it at home in individual bowls.

Even with the dressing on, if you’re lucky and you have leftovers, it makes for a good leftover wrap the next day.

Remember, chicken is optional. Make the dressing up and store it in a canning jar.

You can toss right before serving, or even a bit in advance. The cabbage does not get soggy! YAY!

I’m not a fan of soggy salads.

Do you have some healthy goals for changing your dining habits this year by including more friends?

Asian Chicken Slaw Salad

Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad

Toast almonds by laying on a paper towel and microwaving for 1 minute, turning once. Or, toast the sliced almonds under low broil for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. You can also make your own cabbage mix with green and purple cabbage with a tiny bit of carrots.


  • 2 small bags of coleslaw mix (about 12 cups)
  • 4 cups rotisserie chicken, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted sliced almonds (or cashews)
  • 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Orange Cranberries from Trader Joe’s)
  • 3/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup sesame sticks (found in the bulk aisle at grocery store – optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. honey or brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil


  1. Layer the cabbage in a large bowl with chicken, almonds (or cashews, or both), cranberries, red onion, sesame seeds, sesame sticks (optional), and fresh cilantro.
  2. Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, honey, ginger, and sesame oil in a blender. Add 3 tablespoons of water. Process until smooth.
  3. Lightly pour the dressing over the salad mixture, according to how moist you like the salad. Gently toss and serve. (You may have a little dressing left over.)
All images and text ©

Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad

Are you following me on InstagramTwitterFacebook and Pinterest? Thanks being here today, and if you’d like to subscribe to Reluctant Entertainer, to have each post delivered straight to your e-mail box, then please add your email, here. It’s really easy!

This post has affiliate links. Every purchase from these links supports RE at no extra cost to you. Thank you! 

53 comments on “Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad”

  1. I think you challenging us to have dinner with friends at home more Is great. We spend a lot of time entertaining family which is wonderful but I do feel we are missing times with friends.
    This is such a great potluck dish, I love it!

  2. I am really enjoying your post, recipes and encouragement! I can’t wait to try this Asian salad to share with friends! It looks delicious!

  3. That salad sounds REALLY great!

  4. I love cabbage based salads in the winter. So hearty and satisfying when lettuce isn’t always looking good!

  5. The Asian salad looks wonderful! Are the sesame sticks chopped or whole? Thank you!!!

  6. Where do you find the black sesame seeds? Is it okay to use regular sesame seeds if I can’t find them?

  7. Made 1/2 recipe tonight with a lemon rotisserie chicken and a bag of
    Taylor Farms Asian cabbage salad mix (did not use their dressing etc.)
    and it was a big hit. Wish I had time to get the orange cranberries, but
    our Trader Joes is always too crowded unless I arrive when it opens.
    This wa fairly easy and a delightful combination of favors for a light summer dinner-I did squeeze lime juice as a final addition. Thanks for renewing my faith in Pinterest recipes.

    • Asian chicken cranberry salad……Would you mind publishing the measurements of the recipe? I can’t get a printed version on the web site. Thanks!

    • Linda, I just checked the recipe page and I see the “print” button! Scroll to the bottom?

  8. How do I get recipe 

  9. I need to get the recipe for Asian chicken cranberry salad.

  10. Is their a difference in the regular or black sesame seeds as far a flavor. Never heard of black ones.  Where do you get them? Also as far as sesame sticks do you crush them or just chop them up and do you add them just before serving or what. Thank you.

    • You could toast regular sesame seeds, Gerri. It’s up to you with the sesame sticks … they are good in big chunks, but crushing is a great idea, too!

  11. We are not fans of Cilantro. Is there something we could use in it’s place?

  12. Kicked it up and added sriricha sauce and fresh lime juice. Awesome

  13. Looks delicious. I’d make a few modifications to make it more heart healthy and veganized. Substitute:

    Chickpeas or Black Beans for the Chicken
    Water for the Oil
    Agave for the Honey

    Can’t wait to try it.

  14. I don’t like cilantro, can I use something else?  I can wait to try it, it sounds delicious. 

  15. Where is the recipe for asian chicken salad????? Thanks

  16. If you can’t find black sesames fry regular sesames quickly in a bit of olive oil…so good!!

  17. Could not get your video to play.  Did you print out recipe?

  18. I just want to say thank you for this salad.  I am slow to endorse many things but this was a show stopper for Christmas Eve.  I made this for my family’s annual get together and it was wonderful.  I hope to try out many many more of your suggestions in the future….thank you!

  19. This would be so good and crunchy if you added Ramen noodles

  20. What exactly are sesame sticks? Recipe looks delicious! 

  21. I really wanted to give this 5 stars but, both my husband and I felt as if something was missing in the dressing. I halved the recipe and followed it with the following exceptions:
    I had Napa cabbage in refrig so I finally chopped that. I had a roasted chicken from the day before so I used that. I could not find sesame sticks but substituted a ramen noodle/sesame seed/almond mix that I had left over for the crunch. We are not lovers of the strong flavor of cilantro so that was eliminated. Neither of us are lovers of hot and spice, so I cut the ginger in half.

    I accidentally over poured the sesame oil a bit, but love that flavor so thought no big deal.
    It still seemed to be missing something to add to the fullness of flavor that I was expecting. We both thought salt and pepper might be the missing element but that wasn’t it. I used honey instead of brown sugar.

    If anyone has suggestions, I am willing to retry.

    • Melissa, sounds like you made a completely different recipe! LOL

    • Perhaps the reason you felt the salad was missing something was, well, because you were missing a lot of the recipe’s ingredients! Try it again as it was intended before saying it wasn’t all that good. Try new things. You might like it! 

  22. Do you have the nutritional information on this salad? It is January and we’re all counting calories and eating healthy again! 

  23. This looks wonderful! I want to make BUT do you have any suggestion for modifying the dressing? We can’t use soy due to an allergy.

  24. I made this dish. It came out delicious, although much darker then your picture. I guess the basmati vinegar turned it that color. Any suggestions to keep it a more salad look. Thanks

  25. I used bottled Ginger Sesame Dressing instead of making it. Skipped the chicken to have salad as a side dish to homemade vegetable soup and crusty bread.

  26. This salad is amazing. I believe it’s just as good or better than anything at Panera.

  27. Love, love, love this recipe!! It makes a lot which means it works great for leftovers! Many Asian style salads like this call for peanut butter in the dressing and greatly appreciate this being different! Delicious recipe…a must try!!

  28. Where the actual receive list dressing ingredients

  29. I absolutely love this salad. Would like to know know the nutritional value please. 

  30. My family enjoys flavorful meals, but the dressing totally overpowered the salad. Love the salad ingredients, will use a different dressing next time.

  31. Very tasty! The only changes I made were to omit the cilantro and sesame sticks. Will definitely make again. Thanks for the recipe!

  32. Sandy, I made this for dinner tonight and we absolutely loved it. Thank you for a fabulous recipe. I’ll be making it again. The dressing in particular is just perfect. Xoxo -Maggy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *