Chicken and Mandarin Salad with Simple Sesame Dressing

$5.20 recipe / $2.60 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.84 from 12 votes
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Happy Saturday, everyone! I hope your weekend is off to a good start. I wanted to take a few moments to share a salad I made this week with some of the leftovers in my kitchen. It all started with the double batch of Simple Sesame Dressing that I made for my Roasted Broccoli Salad earlier this week. Despite being fairly inexpensive, I didn’t want that dressing to go to waste. So, I paired it with a can of mandarin oranges that have been in my pantry FOR-EV-ER, one of the avocados I picked up on a post-cinco-de-mayo sale, and part of the rotisserie chicken that I’d been nibbling on all week. The flavors and textures came together beautifully in this sweet-salty-creamy-and-crunchy Chicken and Mandarin Salad.

A big bowl of Chicken and Mandarin Salad with avocado and red onion on the side.

Alternative Ingredients

I’m sure not everyone will have the same leftovers that I had, so I want to offer a few alternate ingredients that I think would work well. Instead of tender baby greens you can use finely shredded cabbage, or even bagged coleslaw mix. Not a fan of canned mandarin oranges? Try a diced mango instead. No sliced almonds? Try some chow mein or broken up ramen noodles for crunch instead.

Sesame dressing being poured from a mason jar onto Chicken and Mandarin Salad
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Chicken and Mandarin Salad with Simple Sesame Dressing

4.84 from 12 votes
This meal-worthy Chicken and Mandarin Salad boasts sweet mandarin oranges, creamy avocado, crunchy almonds, and homemade sesame dressing.
This meal-worthy Chicken and Mandarin Salad boasts sweet mandarin oranges, creamy avocado, crunchy almonds, and homemade sesame dressing.
Servings 2
Prep 15 minutes
Total 15 minutes



  • 2 Tbsp light or neutral oil* ($0.08)
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar ($0.12)
  • 4 tsp soy sauce ($0.13)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil ($0.11)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.02)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.04)
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds ($0.04)


  • 6 cups salad greens** ($1.25)
  • 11oz can mandarin oranges ($0.77)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken breast ($1.50)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds ($0.50)
  • 1/4 small red onion ($0.14)
  • 1/2 avocado ($0.50)


  • Prepare the dressing first, so the flavors have a few minutes to blend. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, and sesame seeds. Set the dressing aside.
  • Slice the red onion very thinly and soak the slices for a few minutes in ice water to take the edge off. Drain the can of mandarin oranges. Slice the avocado and chop the chicken breast.
  • To assemble the salads, place about 3 cups of salad greens in each bowl or plate. Top with mandarin orange segments, chopped chicken, sliced avocado, and a few slices of the soaked red onion. Give the dressing one last whisk and then drizzle it over the salads. The dressing is potent, so start with a small amount and add more as needed.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


*Use a light flavored or neutral oil, like canola, grapeseed, or an untoasted sesame oil.
**This salad works with a variety of salad greens, or even very thinly sliced cabbage.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 581.55kcalCarbohydrates: 30.9gProtein: 31.35gFat: 40.35gSodium: 918.65mgFiber: 10.95g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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A fork stuck into a bowl of Chicken and Mandarin Salad

How to Make Chicken and Mandarin Salad – Step by Step Photos

Simple Sesame Dressing in a mason jar

Make the dressing first, so the flavors have a few minutes to blend (this is a double batch pictured). In a small jar or bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp light or neutral oil, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 4 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp fresh grated ginger, and 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds.

Soak Red Onions in ice bath

Here’s a really handy trick for red onions, which can be a bit strong sometimes (I love their flavor, but they can be over powering and sometimes give me a stomach ache). Slicing them VERY thinly can help balance their strong flavor with the rest of the foods you’re eating (big chunks or thick slices = potent). Soaking them for about 5 minutes in ice water also really takes the edge or the bite off the onion. 

Bag of fresh spinach

You can use just about any salad green for this, but I chose this mix of baby greens (because I’m also going to use it in pasta and some for smoothies). Salad greens can be expensive if you’re buying the small bags, but larger bags or tubs of greens are usually much less per pound. It’s hard to tell in this photo, but this bag is about 3-4 times the size of a regular bagged salad.

Chicken and Mandarin Salad without dressing

To build the salad, place about 3 cups of salad greens to each large bowl or plate, along chopped rotisserie chicken breast, sliced avocado, mandarin orange segments, some of the sliced red onion, and about 2 Tbsp sliced almonds per salad.

Dressing being poured from a mason jar onto the Chicken and Mandarin Salad

Give the dressing one last whisk, then drizzle it over the salad. Go slowly and add more if needed after stirring the salad.

Close up of finished Chicken and Mandarin Salad

And that’s it! This Chicken and Mandarin Salad might be the most epic “leftover” meal I’ve ever made. :D


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  1. I used mango as an alternate fruit and added a chopped yellow bell pepper that needed to be used up.

    I also used about a tablespoon of mayo in the dressing so that it would emulsify, which I think really helped.

    1. Hi Kellee! Keep the dressing in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three weeks. Happy cooking! XOXO -Monti

  2. I came to browse the salad section because I have this lonely , aging cucumber in the fridge and you have such great salad ideas. Whaddya know, I have sliced almonds and mandarin oranges in the pantry! I have shrimp in the freezer I’ll saute and sub for chicken, and of course, the sad cucumber instead of avo, (as much as I love them, they’re kinda rich for me.) Your dressings always rule and I have all ingredients on hand. I even have half a red onion that needs to get used. So here I am, making a beautiful, fancy salad (fancy for me) and all I have to buy is the lettuce.

    Thank you, Beth!

  3. This was absolutely delicious but I’m having trouble understanding the calorie count on this recipe. Is this two servings with each at 581 calories. Or is the entire salad 581 calories so each serving is half of that? Sorry for the silly question!

    1. The nutrition data provided is calculated using all ingredients listed on the recipe card, including any ingredient listed as optional. Keep in mind that recipes that involve marinades, breading, salad dressings, oil for frying, or salt for cooking pasta and potatoes may be skewed because some of these ingredients will be discarded and not included in the final edible portion.

    2. I repurposed some takeout teriyaki chicken instead of rotisserie AND IT TURNED OUT AMAZING!

  4. This dressing is 😍😍
    We had a sandwich shop here that had a salad similar to this one. I loved it but they closed and I haven’t been able to find a comparable dressing since then. This is it! The only difference is theirs had a tad more sugar but I can adjust that. I’m so happy I found this! 

    1. Oh that makes us happy to hear! Glad to hear you enjoy it Amber.

  5. So good! My husband asked me to put this in our monthly rotation. I will happily oblige. I used fresh mandarins since they are in season and swapped snow peas for avocado since mine weren’t ripe yet. Can’t wait for lunch tomorrow.