Conscious Food Choices

For the love of delicious healthy food…

“Chinese Chicken” Salad

This is an old recipe of mine, which I used to do a lot and then forgot about until recently. It’s a bit labor intensive, and slightly evil (if deep-fried tofu qualifies) but it’s a serious crowd-pleaser and gets people into eating heaps of salad so I think it’s worth it.

Vegetarian “Chinese Chicken” Salad for 8Vegetarian "Chinese Chicken" Salad

  • 2 # tofu
  • 1 -2 cups peanut oil (for deep-frying)
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1/4 t. white pepper


  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • high quality salt
  • white pepper


  • 2 romaine heads, cut into 1″ strips
  • 2 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/2 green apple, sliced paper-thin
  • 1/2 red pepper, in thin strips
  • 2/3 cups toasted almonds
  • 2/3 packs rice or bean thread noodles (optional)
  • 2/3 cups thinly onions or shallots (optional)

Make the tofu “chicken” by cutting tofu into thin strips –  roughly 1 x 3 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. Deep fry in small batches in hot peanut oil, draining well on fresh paper towels as you go. As you fry, combine water, soy sauce, maple syrup, yeast, chili and white pepper in a large deep skillet or braising pan, bring to a boil.  As you fry, add well-drained batches of fried tofu to the simmering liquid, mixing in as you add each new batch. Continue to boil the tofu in sauce, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid in the pan is absorbed and the tofu just begins to caramelize on the bottom of the pan.  Watch it carefully here and pull off just before it browns or starts to burn. There should be a nice slightly thickened glaze coating all the tofu, and some tofu pieces will be a bit crunchier than others – that’s all good. Transfer to a sheet pan or baking sheet and cool completely.

Once the tofu is out, deep fry handfuls of dry rice or bean threads very quickly in the hot oil just until they puff up. Drain on towels. Fry onions or shallots if using.

Whisk together all dressing ingredients to combine. Set aside.

Vegetarian Chinese Chicken Salad and Ginger Carrot SoupSesame BunsWhen ready to assemble, combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, topping with cooled tofu and fried noodles, and toss lightly with some of the salad dressing. Serve immediately while the noodles are still crisp, passing the remaining dressing at the table.

For a great almost-Fall meal, I serve this with sesame or scallion buns, and a hot (or chilled, depending on how almost it is) ginger carrot soup…

October 7, 2012 - Posted by | Fresh, Recipes, Salads, Vegan Recipes | , ,


  1. Mmmm, this salad is going on my menu plan this week. I’d love to have a recipe for the sesame buns too! Those were soft and warm and absolutely perfect.

    Comment by Kimberly Gorbea Bacso | October 8, 2012 | Reply

    • Ah… ok. Next post: Ginger Carrot Soup and Sesame Buns… but have to make a recipe first! Thanks!

      Comment by Jorin Hawley | October 8, 2012 | Reply

  2. i always loved the original chinese chicken salad, a restaurant in palo alto being the very best. only problem is they used msg and i would always have a reaction to it so i stopped until they got wise about removing the ingredient from their recipe. so thank you for bringing it to the forefront again with different choices.


    Comment by wendy free | October 9, 2012 | Reply

  3. […] Chinese “Chicken” Salad […]

    Pingback by Vegetarian Menu Plan – Week of 10/8 | The Daily Details by Kimberly Bacso | June 5, 2015 | Reply

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