ASIAN SESAME CHICKEN SALAD

A copycat recipe for Panera's Asian Sesame Chicken Salad.This salad is made with romaine, wonton strips, almonds, chicken, and an asian sesame vinaigrette.
A copycat recipe for Panera's Asian Sesame Chicken Salad.This salad is made with romaine, wonton strips, almonds, chicken, and an asian sesame vinaigrette.
INGREDIENTS:
 SESAME VINAIGRETTE:
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 whole cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

SALAD:
  • 4 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped (or spring mix)
  • 1 (15 oz can) mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 cup wonton strips (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 12 ounces cooked grilled chicken, sliced or diced (see note)

DIRECTIONS:
  • FOR THE DRESSING: Place the rice vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat and allow it to just come to a gentle boil, add the sugar and garlic cloves and let the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove the rice vinegar mixture from the stove and discard the garlic cloves. Place the rice vinegar mixture in a mason jar and add the sesame oil, canola oil, soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds. Allow the dressing to come to room temperature, about 10-15 minutes. Screw on the lid and give it a good shake until the dressing mixes together. Please note, homemade salad dressing will separate as it sits, just give it a good shake before pouring onto the salad.
  • ASSEMBLE THE SALAD: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salad and top with the sesame vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

NOTES:
  • WONTON STRIPS: I used store bought already prepare wontons strips for this recipe, if you’d like to make your own, purchase square wonton sheets. These are usually sold at Asian supermarkets in the freezer section. Cut the squares into small strips. Heat 1-inch of oil in a skillet when hot, add the strips and cook them for about a 30 seconds to a minute. Remove them from the pan before they’re totally brown to a paper towel lined plate.
  • GRILLED CHICKEN: I marinated my chicken breasts in 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. Just cook it in a cast iron skillet for about 5-6 minutes or until cooked through. You can also grill the chicken on an outdoor grill. Shredded rotisserie chicken or previously cooked, cubed chicken is also okay to use in this recipe.