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Kalyn's Kitchen

Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro

This Vietnamese Cabbage Salad is perfect to make with leftover chicken (or turkey), and I love the flavors in this spicy dressing! And this tasty salad is low-carb, low-glycemic, and gluten-free. Use Salad Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

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Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

Way back in 2007, Glenna from A Fridge Full of Food posted a recipe for Vietnamese Cole Slaw, and the minute I saw the recipe, I knew I’d be making some version of it. Glenna had a Vietnamese co-worker who told her that in Vietnam the dressing for this type of salad would never contain oil, and I love the light but highly flavored dressing in this Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro that includes fish sauce, rice vinegar, and lime juice.

Having a good quality fish sauce makes a big difference here, and I love Three Crabs Fish Sauce, which I learned about from Lydia’s post on fish sauce. Read that if you’ve never cooked with fish sauce before. Or if you want it to be gluten-free, Red Boat Fish Sauce is also wonderful. And don’t be put off by the smell, this stuff tastes amazing in small amounts.

And since I have a hard time walking by those rotisserie chickens at Costco without having one jump into my cart, I’m always looking for salads ideas to use the leftover chicken. With the light dressing, chicken, radishes, and crunchy cabbage, I think this saladis perfect for summer.

One thing I’m trying to do at my house is have salad fixings in the fridge ready for lunch (when I have a hard time stopping to make a meal) and everything about this salad (except maybe the chopped cilantro) could be prepped ahead and then tossed together when you’re ready to eat. This one is really a keeper; hope everyone will like it!

Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

How to Make Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro:

(This is just a summary of the steps in the photos; scroll down for complete recipe.)

  1. Whisk together the hot sauce, garlic, sweetener of your choice, rice vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, and salt and pepper to taste to make the dressing.
  2. I use about one cup of diced chicken for each salad.
  3. The chicken and red onions get marinated in a small amount of dressing, which makes the onions a bit milder and infuses the chicken with flavor.
  4. Chop up the cabbage and cilantro and slice the radishes into half-moon slices.
  5. Toss the salad together with the desired amount of dressing and devour!

Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Asian Cabbage Salads to Keep You Cool:

Spicy Asian Slaw with Napa Cabbage, Carrots, and Ginger Dressing ~ Cookin’ Canuck
Thai-Style Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Mint and Cilantro ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Quick and Easy Asian Pickled Cole Slaw~ The Perfect Pantry
Sandee’s Sensational Asian Salad with Chicken and Cabbage ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro

Vietnamese Cabbage Chicken Salad is perfect to use up leftover chicken, and the dressing has no oil!


Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3-4 drops hot sauce (see notes, use more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic puree or minced garlic
  • 2 T sweetener of your choice
  • 2 T rice vinegar (not sweetened)
  • 3 T fresh lime juice (see notes)
  • 2 T fish sauce (see notes)
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1 red onion, sliced into rings (or sliced green onions)
  • 4-8 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1-2 cup sliced radishes
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Whisk together the hot sauce, garlic, sweetener, rice vinegar, lime juice, and fish sauce to make the dressing. (Fish sauce can vary greatly in strength, and if you’re not used to it I recommend starting with less and adding it until the dressing tastes good to you.
  2. Season dressing with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
  3. Dice the chicken and chop the red onion (or slice green onions; then put diced chicken and onion in plastic bowl and mix with a generous amount of dressing.
  4. Let marinate 15 minutes or longer while you chop the cabbage and cilantro and slice the radishes.
  5. When ready to serve, add the cabbage, radishes, and cilantro to the chicken/onion/dressing and toss, adding more dressing until the salad is as moist as you’d like it.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. This dressing will keep in the fridge for at least a week, and this is a perfect salad to prep ahead and then mix together when you’re ready to eat it.


Use Green Tabasco SauceSriracha Rooster Sauce, or other hot sauce of your choice for this recipe. I use my fresh-frozen lime juice for this. Use Red Boat Fish Sauce for gluten-free.

Recipe originally from Nigella Lawson, adapted by A Fridge Full of Food, with a more adaptations by Kalyn.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Made with an approved sweetener, this salad would be perfect for most low-carb diets or for any phase of The South Beach Diet. I’d probably eat this as a main-dish salad, but you could also serve with something like Spicy Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Salad with Thai Flavors or Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper, Parsley, and Mint.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
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23 comments on “Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Cilantro”

  1. I love the idea to use your left over rotisserie chicken and the dressing sounds awesome 🙂

  2. John, so glad you enjoyed it. I love the sound of fried shallots; will definitely look for them!

  3. We love to order this salad when we go out for Vietnamese food, and now we can make it at home! Delicious recipe & flavors, agree with the idea of adding mint since this is how our Vietnamese restaurant makes it; they also sprinkle fried shallots on top which you can find at the asian market (if you have one). Note if you use a rotisserie chicken and bagged chopped cabbage will make a double recipe. This will be a new "regular" at our house!

  4. Calissa, that sounds good to me!

  5. Delicious salad! I think next time I'm going to add some slivered almonds!

  6. I'm so glad you highlighted the fish sauce here! People often get anxious about the idea (or the smell), but it does wonders for dressings, and you would never know it's in most of them. Gorgeous, healthy salad, Kalyn – I'm loving all these great salad ideas!

  7. Looks beautiful and tasty!

  8. Thanks Pam; really love this salad!

  9. What a great combination of flavors & textures. It looks like a terrific salad.

  10. Lisa Jean, thanks for letting me know you liked it. I have a feeling I’ll be making this a lot this summer too, and with mint and basil from my garden when I get some!

  11. I made this salad for dinner last night and loved it. So springtime. I will be making it a lot this summer. Thanks!

  12. What wonderful colors this salad has…its very exciting in appearance!

  13. MW, I love the idea of adding mint and basil. In the summer when I have them in my garden, this is a must!

  14. Kalyn, I see fish sauce and lime juice in your Vietnamese salad, that’s 2 thumbs up !! 🙂 Hey, you really gotta try adding chopped vietnamese mint leaves, basils to that too, that would be really authentic 🙂

  15. Kitarra, thanks. I did love it.

    Chigiy, love to hear what your friend says.

    Anh, so glad to hear that it’s at least somewhat authentic. It seemed like a perfect lunch salad when I saw it on Glenna’s blog. Now I know I’ll make it over and over.

  16. Kalyn, this salad captures very much the spirit of the traditional chicken salad eaten in Vietnam. I really love it, so yummy and healthy. And you are absolutely right about not using oil the salad dressing =)

  17. Well, you know I love color, so I’m sure I will love this salad. I sending this to my Vietnamese friend too.

  18. WOW! I love the idea and the colors. Just a gorgeous combination!

  19. Tanna, looks like this recipe has a lot of incarnations.

    Pille, me too. Plus, eating things like this makes me think of spring!

    Anna I love it. If we subbed the sesame oil that would be an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation! Very funny!

  20. I tried this salad back when Orangette posted it in November, and it was delicious! If you don’t have any fish sauce (or want to make it vegetarian), you could try a bit of toasted sesame oil. Totally different flavor, but still tasty.

  21. Looks colourful and tasty! As well as healthy, of course:) I am consciously trying to eat lots of fresh vegetables, as there are lots of flu bugs around at the moment. Anything vitamin-rich is good:)

  22. An adaptation of an adaptation? At what point in time does it become your own! 🙂 I guess I’d rather see credit given than not.
    Looks like a lovely salad with without cutting the onion in rings and more green than red cabbage. I’d love a bowl.

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