If you love the taste of Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad but are looking for a vegan version, you’re in luck. This recipe delivers all the same flavors and textures, but with plant-based ingredients. You’ll love the combination of crispy vegan chicken, fresh greens, and crunchy toppings, all drizzled with a sweet and tangy dressing.
I recently went out to dinner with my parents and some of their friends. The couple sitting next to me ordered the Oriental Chicken Salad. As soon as the plate hit the table, I was hit with a flood of memories of eating Applebee’s version of this dish.
It made me realize I missed this salad quite a bit and haven’t eaten it in the 14 years I’ve been vegetarian and then vegan. Voila! I was hit with inspiration for a new recipe.
❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe
- Vegan and dairy-free
- It’s a healthier option than the original version
- Easy to make and can be prepared in under 30 minutes
- It’s perfect for meal prep and can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner
- Offers a vegan take on a classic dish. It’s a great way to enjoy the same flavors and textures without compromising on your dietary preferences.
- Vegan Yogurt or Mayonnaise: Use your preferred vegan yogurt or mayo for the dressing. If you’re using yogurt, make sure it’s plain and unsweetened to avoid altering the taste of the dressing.
- Maple Syrup or Sweetener of Choice: You can use any sweetener you like in the dressing. Agave nectar or honey (if you’re not strictly vegan) are good options as well.
- Rice Vinegar: This gives the dressing a tangy flavor. If you don’t have rice vinegar, you can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Dijon Mustard: Adds a slight kick to the dressing. If you don’t have Dijon mustard, you can use regular mustard instead.
- Sesame Oil: Gives the dressing a nutty flavor. You can substitute with any other nutty oil such as peanut oil or cashew oil.
- Soy Sauce: Use low-sodium soy sauce if you’re watching your sodium intake. You can also use tamari or liquid aminos as a substitute.
- Romaine Lettuce: Use fresh, crisp lettuce for the salad base. You can use any type of lettuce you prefer.
- Napa Cabbage or Coleslaw Mix: Adds a nice crunch to the salad. If you don’t have Napa cabbage, you can use regular cabbage instead.
- Red Cabbage: Adds color and texture to the salad.
- Cilantro or Fresh Mint: Adds a fresh, herbal flavor to the salad. If you don’t like cilantro, you can use fresh mint instead.
- Red Onion: Adds a mild onion flavor and a pop of color to the salad.
- Gardein Vegan Seven Grain Crispy Tenders: These vegan chicken tenders are a great substitute for the original recipe. If you can’t find these, you can use any vegan chicken substitute you prefer.
- Almonds or Peanuts: Adds a nice crunch to the salad. If you have a nut allergy, you can leave this out.
- Dry Chow Mein Noodles: Adds a nice crunch and texture to the salad. If you can’t find these, you can use crispy noodles or fried wonton strips instead.
↩️ Substitutions and variations
- Vegan yogurt or vegan mayonnaise can be used interchangeably in the dressing
- Napa cabbage or coleslaw mix can be used instead of traditional cabbage for added crunch
- Fresh mint can be used instead of cilantro for a different flavor profile
- Gluten-free breadcrumbs can be used instead of the chow mein noodles.
- Agave nectar or brown sugar can be used instead of maple syrup
- Tamari can be used instead of soy sauce for a gluten-free option
- Swap out the vegan chicken for crispy tofu or tempeh for a different protein source
- Add sliced avocado or mandarin oranges for extra flavor and texture
Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and instructions!
- Preheat the oven and bake the vegan chicken tenders according to package instructions
- Chop up and mix together all of the fresh salad base ingredients in a bowl
- Mix together all of the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl
- Plate the lettuce and top with the vegan chicken, chow mein noodles, almonds, and dressing
👩🍳 Expert tips
- To make the salad extra crispy, refrigerate the fresh ingredients for an hour before serving
- Adjust the consistency of the dressing by adding more yogurt or vinegar as needed
- If making ahead of time, store the dressing separately from the salad to prevent sogginess
🍴 Recommended Equipment
- Baking sheet for cooking the vegan chicken tenders
- Mixing bowls for the dressing and salad base
- Whisk or fork for mixing the dressing ingredients together
❄️ Storing and Making Ahead
- This is best served fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days
- Store the dressing separately from the salad to prevent sogginess
- If making ahead of time, wait to add the toppings until just before serving
🥪 Serving Suggestions
- Top the salad with sliced green onions or sesame seeds for added flavor and texture
- This goes really well with a chickpea salad sandwich or a minestrone soup.
- Serve with a side of steamed edamame, vegetable summer rolls or tofu dumplings.
- Enjoy with a refreshing drink, such as a green smoothie or iced tea
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If you loved this recipe, leave a 5 ⭐️ rating on the recipe card and comment below!
Applebee’s Vegan Chicken Salad
- 1 Cup Plain Vegan Yogurt (or vegan mayonnaise)
- 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
- 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- ¼ teaspoon Sesame Oil
- 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1 Head of Chopped Romaine
- ¼ cup chopped Napa Cabbage (or fresh coleslaw mix)
- ¼ cup chopped Red Cabbage
- ¼ cup chopped Cilantro or Fresh Mint
- ¼ cup chopped Red Onion
- 4 Gardein Vegan Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
- ¼ cup Slivered almonds
- ¼ cup Dry Chow Mein Noodles
- Bake vegan Chicken Tenders4 Gardein Vegan Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
- Chop up and mix together all of the fresh salad base1 Head of Chopped Romaine, ¼ cup chopped Napa Cabbage, ¼ cup chopped Red Cabbage, ¼ cup chopped Cilantro or Fresh Mint, ¼ cup chopped Red Onion
- Mix together all of the dressing ingredients. Add more vegan yogurt if thicker consistency is desired. Add more vinegar or soy sauce if thinner consistency is desired1 Cup Plain Vegan Yogurt, 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup, 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard, ¼ teaspoon Sesame Oil, 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
- Plate the lettuce. Top with vegan chicken, chow mein noodles, almonds and dressing¼ cup Slivered almonds, ¼ cup Dry Chow Mein Noodles
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
The salad dressing is delicious! I’ve made it twice in the past week. Oriental Chicken salad was my favorite and go to on a “I don’t want to cook night. I think the dressing is better!
My families favorite salad! Simple but so good 😊
Fantastic! Glad you love it