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Asian-Inspired Chickpea Salad (Vegan Chinese Chicken Salad)

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I grew up loving asian-inspired “Chinese Chicken Salad” and whenever I saw it on a menu, I’d order it—without the chicken! I know that might sound crazy, but it I loved the toasted sesame dressing, juicy mandarin orange slices, and colorful salad. And as a vegetarian since age eight, I never missed the chicken. 

Fast forward a few decades to today. I figure it’s about time to create a vegan version—but step it up a notch from my “no chicken” days. In this recipe you’ll make your own sesame dressing from scratch, and instead of chicken, you’ll add chickpeas to the salad. Chickpeas are delicious and give this Asian-Inspired Chickpea Salad that filling protein boost! 

The Best Vegan Chinese Chicken Salad (Copycat California Pizza Kitchen Recipe)

What Can I Use Instead of Chicken?

In this recipe I use chickpeas because it’s so quick-and-easy to open a can, rinse them, and sprinkle them on the salad. But by no means are you limited to chickpeas! You can use any number of hearty alternatives to create your own spin on this Asian-Inspired Chickpea Salad. Such as…

  • White beans or any other beans you enjoy
  • Grilled or baked tofu 
  • Vegan chicken nuggets, baked and sliced
  • Veggie burger(s), grilled and roughly chopped
  • Roasted peanuts or cashews
  • Sunflower seeds 

All of these will give a nice protein boost similar to chickpeas. 

Chinese Chickpea Salad Recipe | World of Vegan

FAQ: What if…

I have extra Napa cabbage—what can I do with it? 

Shred it up and toss it in the salad! There should be plenty of dressing to cover more greens. 

I have extra dressing—what can I do with it? 

Store it in a sealed container in the fridge and use it for your other salads throughout the week! 

I don’t like raw chickpeas—what can I use instead?

Not to worry! You can toss the chickpeas in a tablespoon of vegetable oil with some salt and garlic powder and roast them in the oven for a crispier bite. If you want to skip the chickpeas altogether you can use any of the other vegan alternatives to chicken listed above (tofu, vegan nuggets, veggie burgers, etc.).

I hate cilantro—is it needed?

Nope! Feel free to leave out the cilantro and this salad will still be delicious. The dressing is so flavorful it won’t feel like something is missing. 

Vegan Chinese Chickpea Salad

More Delicious Vegan Recipes to Try:

Asian-Inspired Chickpea Salad

Author: Michelle Cehn
5 from 4 votes
A fresh and delicious vegan Chinese Chicken Salad—a plant-based spin on the asian-inspired dish found on many restaurant menus. Instead of chicken we're using the beloved protein-packed chickpea! Enjoy!
Chinese Chickpea Salad | World of Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Salad

  • 3 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges in juice, juice drained
  • cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, optional

Dressing

  • cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • In a large serving bowl, add the Napa cabbage, purple cabbage, carrots, chickpeas, green onions, and cilantro and mix well. 
  • In a small bowl, add all dressing ingredients and whisk together vigorously until fully combined.
  • Drizzle dressing evenly across the salad, mix well, and top with mandarin oranges, toasted almond slivers, and black sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

This salad is best enjoyed fresh since the purple cabbage will turn the chickpeas purple over time. If you'd like to prep it in advance, keep the dressing separate from the salad until you're ready to eat it. 

Nutrition

Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 1120mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 6755IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Appetizer, dinner, Salad
Cuisine asian
Keyword chickpea salad, vegan chicken salad

Vegan Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

We want to thank our amazing recipe tester J.J. Steele for helping us perfect this recipe!

Asian-inspired Vegan Chinese Chicken Salad recipe by Michelle Cehn, author of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook, for World of Vegan. Copyright of World of Vegan™, all rights reserved. Please note that this article may contain affiliate links that support our work at World of Vegan.

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Recipe Rating




4 comments
  1. 5 stars
    This is such a perfect replica of the Chinese Chicken Salads I love, but made vegan! Way to go!!

  2. 5 stars
    Im always amazed at the versatility of chickpeas! Here is a great example of how it adds a meaty consistency to this Chinese “chicken” salad. This is a very flavorful and healthy vegan version. Delicious, colorful, and beautiful on the plate.

  3. 5 stars
    Craving Chickpea Chinese! This video made me drool SO much. All of my favorite flavors in one dish – yum! The thick, toasted sesame oil in the dressing and the addition of the sweet, bright mandarin oranges totally makes this dish an A+! I can’t wait to make this dish for my dad (who is fully Chinese and also loves chickpeas) – wooo!

  4. 5 stars
    Love making this! I usually just dump in all the Napa cabbage I have—and if there’s extra dressing, I am glad to save it for other quick-fix salads during the week. Hope you all enjoy!!