Skinny Napa Cabbage Chinese Chicken Salad

Look on the menu of many restaurants from Wendy’s, Applebee’s, Ruby’s Diner to Wolfgang Pucks, Chinois, you’re bound to see the very popular Chinese chicken salad.  Normally it’s made with iceberg lettuce, chicken with the skin left on, or even fried chicken, deep-fried noodles, and a high-fat Asian dressing.  Happily, my skinny makeover really delivers a delicious and nutritious crunch thanks to the Napa cabbage, sliced almonds, pea pods, scallions, and lean skinless chicken breasts.  Finally, my homemade Skinny Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing is one of the best you’ll ever taste.  Each main course salad has 380 calories and 16 grams of fat including the dressing.  The shocking fat facts of Ruby’s Diner salad are 1447 calories and 110 grams of fat per salad!  

Prep Time: 15 minutes (including dressing)


1 recipe for Skinny Chicken Chinese Salad Dressing (recipe follows below skinny facts)

1 head Napa cabbage, washed and dried, shredded or chopped

2 cups chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (skinless)

1 cup Chinese pea pods, chopped

3 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

⅓ cup almonds, sliced

1 cup Chow Mein noodles, see shopping tip


1. Prepare Skinny Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing (recipe found below skinny facts) and refrigerate, see below

2. In a large bowl, add all salad ingredients except Chow Mein noodles.

3. Toss salad with dressing and divide onto 4 plates.

4. Sprinkle each salad with ¼ cup Chow Mein noodles and serve.

Makes 4 main course salads

Healthy Benefits
Napa cabbage (also called Chinese cabbage) is a good source of vitamin A, folic acid, and potassium.  It also contains a fair amount of fiber.

Shopping Tips
There are a few other variations you can try if you’d like.  First, you can substitute turkey for chicken breasts.  To make this salad vegetarian, leave out the chicken. It’s still delicious!

Choose Napa cabbage with firm, tightly packed heads, and crisp green-tipped leaves.

Chow Mein noodles can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets. I used LA CHOY Chow Mein noodles.  They come in a 5 oz can. They contain only 2.5 grams of fat for ¼ cup.

Weight Watchers POINTS

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 salad including the Chinese Chicken Salad dressing
380 cal, 16g fat, 26g protein, 36g carbs, 8g fiber, 392mg sodium, 17g sugar

Skinny Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing

Wait until you taste this fabulous dressing.  It’s sooo delicious.  It’s hard to believe it’s so low in fat and calories. Don’t worry about using ranch as the base. By the time you add all the other ingredients, it doesn’t taste like ranch dressing at all.  The skinny for 2 tablespoons is 51 calories, 3 grams of fat and 1 Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS.  The full fat dressing has 174 calories and 18 grams of fat for 2 tablespoons. Try it as a dip for carrots, pea pods, and celery.  Yum!

Prep time: 5 minutes


½ cup Nancy’s Skinny Ranch Dressing (get recipe here)

¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon chopped or crushed ginger (from a jar)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


1. In a small bowl whisk together all of the ingredients.

2. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for 1 hour to thicken.

3. Skinny Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing will keep in the refrigerator at least 1 week.

Makes ¾ cup

Shopping Tip
Chopped or crushed ginger (in a jar) can be found in the produce section near garlic (in a jar.)

Prep Tip
To toast the sesame seeds, sprinkle on a piece of foil.  Place under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes until toasted. Keep an eye on them. They brown very quickly.

Quick Tip
To chill the dressing faster, place in the freezer for 20 minutes (set a timer so you don’t forget about it!)

Weight Watchers
(old points) 1
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 1

SKINNY FACTS: for 2 tablespoons
51cal, 2.7g fat, 0g protein, 6g carbs, 0.1g fiber, 130mg sodium, 5g sugar
FAT FACTS: for 2 tablespoons of Ruby’s diner Chinese Chicken Salad dressing
174 cal, 18g fat, 1g protein, 3g carbs, 0g fiber, 391mg sodium, 3g sugar

If you make this recipe, let me know how you liked it. Leave me a comment below or give it a rating. Thanks so much. Happy Skinny Cooking!