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This Coconut Crispy Chicken Salad recipe is bursting with fresh sweet and savory flavors and tossed with an easy sesame vinaigrette.
One of those salads that just turns me on so happy. ♡
Some of you might recognize it as a nod to the nostalgic tangerine chicken salads that so many of us (hi, me!) loved at restaurants in the ’90s. But my modern version is brightened, refreshed and, dare I say it, even tastier than the originals! It’s packed with an irresistible blend of crunchy coleslaw, juicy fresh tangerines, creamy avocado, toasted almonds, chopped cilantro and spring onions. Then it’s all tossed with a quick sesame vinaigrette and pan fried with my favorite crunchy coconut chicken. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors, creamy and crunchy and juicy textures, with zero cans of syrupy-sweet tangerines in sight. If you’re anything like me, I think you’ll absolutely love it!
Of course, there are all sorts of ways you can adapt this recipe to your liking, from substituting in your favorite protein (shrimp or tofu would be fantastic alternatives to chicken) to whatever veggies or nuts you happen to have on the other hand, to all sorts of other fun add- Ins you might like (see ideas below). So please enjoy this recipe and enjoy an extra bite for me!
Ingredients for Crispy Coconut Chicken Salad
Before we dive into the full Coconut Crispy Chicken Tangerine Salad recipe below, here are a few quick notes on the ingredients you’ll need:
- Coleslaw mix: I just used standard coleslaw mix which adds wonderful texture and crispiness and helps this salad hold up nicely in the fridge if you happen to have leftovers.
- Crispy Coconut Crusted Chicken: I recommend thinly slicing boneless chicken breasts (or you can use chicken fillets), which we breaded with panko breadcrumbs, sweetened shredded coconut, egg, flour, ground ginger, salt, pepper, and then coated in coconut oil (or your favorite cooking oil) .
- tangerines: I love the flavor of fresh tangerines (clementines) in this salad, but feel free to use any other variety of fresh oranges or canned tangerines if you prefer.
- Spring Onions and Coriander: We’re going to add lots and lots of chopped fresh spring onions and cilantro to freshen things up.
- Avocados: I recommend using a generous amount of diced avocado in this salad, their creamy flavor and texture pairing so well with all the other crunchy ingredients.
- Almonds: I love the texture of toasted sliced almonds in this salad, but slivered or ground almonds would be delicious too.
- Sesame Vinaigrette: This sweet and savory vinaigrette is easy to whip up with oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, toasted sesame oil, ground ginger, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
- Sesame seeds: Finally, I recommend a generous sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds as a garnish for extra sesame flavor and crunch!
Optional recipe variations
Here are a few other ways you’re welcome to adapt this Crispy Chicken Salad recipe if you’d like:
- Bake chicken: If you prefer to bake the chicken instead of pan frying it, simply brush the breaded chicken with oil on both sides. Place on a rack on a baking sheet (or you can place directly on the baking sheet) and bake at 400F for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Use a different protein: Shrimp or tofu would be delicious options in place of the chicken if you like.
- Use different greens: Use one of your favorite salads in place of the coleslaw.
- Use different fruits: Fresh strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, kiwi, or any other variety of orange would work well in place of (or combined with) tangerines.
- Use peanuts: Throw in some crushed peanuts instead of almonds.
- Add more fun stuff: Crispy chow mein noodles, crispy won tan strips, edamame, sliced radishes, sliced jalapeño peppers, etc. would also be fun additions!
- Make it gluten free: Use gluten-free panko and a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix.
- Make it vegetarian/vegan: Use plant-based “chicken” or tofu, or omit the protein altogether.
More popular salad recipes
Looking for more fruit salad recipes to try? Here are a few of my favorites:
Crispy coconut crusted chicken
Sesame Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- Prepare the excavator assembly line. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, ginger, and black pepper until well combined. In a second shallow bowl, beat the egg lightly. In a third shallow bowl, whisk together the panko and shredded coconut until well combined.
- Bread the chicken. Dip a piece of chicken in the flour mixture until completely coated, shaking off excess flour. Next, dip the chicken in the whisked egg until covered, shaking off excess egg. Finally, dip the chicken in the panko mixture and gently press down on the chicken as much of the mixture as possible to help it stick. Place the chicken on a clean plate and repeat this process with the remaining chicken strips.
- Fry the chicken in the pan. Heat the coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan until hot. Add as many chicken pieces as will fit in a single layer without overcrowding the pan. Fry 2-3 minutes per side or until the breading is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel lined plate and repeat the process with the remaining chicken, adding additional coconut oil to the pan if needed.
- Make the vinaigrette. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients (or shake vigorously in a sealed jar) until combined.
- mix salad. Combine the slaw mix, oranges, scallions, avocados, cilantro, almonds and cooked chicken in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle evenly with the vinaigrette and mix.
- Surcharge. Serve immediately, garnished with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!
shredded coconut: If your brand of shredded coconut has fairly large flakes, I would recommend briefly chopping them in the food processor (or roughly chopping them with a chef’s knife) so they stick to the chicken more easily. Feel free to use unsweetened grated coconut if you prefer.
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