Kristin, author of Modern Potluck, blogger at Eat Better Drink Better, and former editor at Food & Wine, might disown me after she reads the accidental adaptation of her Chinese Chicken Salad from her new book. Forgive me, Kristin? You see, I didn’t set out to make this salad vegetarian, even though two posts back I waxed on about falling out of love with meat. But a vegetarian Chinese Chicken-less Salad is what happened.
After living in three states with heavy winters, you learn to seize all the jacket-less days. You plan one too many trips. Set your email to silent in the evenings and on weekends. Basically, you turn on summer hours—work less, play more. Without doing the math, I said yes to more work and more play. Though, I use the term work very loosely. Playing in the kitchen can hardly be considered as such. Either way, I over-booked myself. Up next—making my brother’s wedding cake that serves 230 people. Gulp.
So when I went to the store to buy the ingredients to make Kristin’s Chinese Chicken Salad and the rotisserie chickens weren’t ready yet, there was no time for going back. More cashews and red cabbage, I said! I came home to make and shoot the recipe. It was crazy good. Salty, sweet, crunchy, sour. I covered the salad, and stuck it in the fridge for later. Come dinner time the next day, we were dinner-less as usual. So I grabbed the salad and added green onions and diced avocados to give it new life. The cashews though! After sitting in the dressing, the texture softened, almost to that of chicken. It felt like the happiest of accidents. So I renamed it Chinese Cashew Salad.
Off to work on my shopping list for those cakes. It all begins tomorrow. 230 people. Pray for me and the grocery stores. There’s no ad-libbing cake ingredients. While I’m away, there’s another quick giveaway!
One person will win a copy of Modern Potluck plus a special delivery from Chicago Cutlery. To enter: Leave a comment below telling me your favorite potluck dish, modern or traditional. Giveaway ends August 9, 2016 at 9 am CST. Open to US readers only.
This salad is an adaptation of Kristin Donnelly’s Chinese Chicken Salad from her book Modern Potluck. I accidentally turned this salad vegetarian after arriving at the store before the rotisserie chickens were ready. And then I accidentally let the cashews sit in the dressing over night and fell in love with the texture. That’s how this adaptation came to be. The soaked cashews are best prepped a day in advance.
1/4 c. lemon juice, fresh
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. tahini
1 1/2” piece of ginger
1/2–1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
1/2 c. grapeseed oil
1 1/2 c. roasted cashews, divided
1 large napa cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds), shredded
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
4 carrots, grated
1 1/2 c. sugar snap or snow peas, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 green onions, sliced
handful of cilantro, chopped
A day in advance, make the dressing. Combine ingredients in a high-powered blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
Soak the cashews. Into a bowl or jar with a lid, add 3/4 cup of cashews. Pour in half of the dressing. Cover, shake, and let sit overnight. Pour in the remaining dressing into a separate, covered jar. Place both in fridge.
On the day of, assemble the salad. Chop, dice, grate, and prep the vegetables. Place into a large serving bowl. Just before serving, add in the soaked cashews plus their dressing, remaining 3/4 cup cashews, and dressing. Toss and serve. Garnish with avocados if you wish.
If using a rotisserie chicken, shred a 3-pound bird and add it into the salad. Skip the soaking of cashews and use only 3/4 cup.
Recipe Card powered by
Modern Potluck is a compilation of recipes you’d hope would dress the table at a friends house. The recipes have been updated from your mom’s recipes. Like this Chinese Chicken Salad. Kristin skipped the traditional canned mandarine oranges and fried wontons and added in the cabbage in place of lettuce. In each recipe, she guides the preparation to be made ahead of time and served warm when necessary. For all those reasons, these recipes are fit for the everyday cooking too. So many dog-eared pages.
This blog is made possible by your support (thank you), select brand partnerships, advertisements, and affiliate links to items I love and use. READ MORE >
Good old brownies always hit the spot!
I like the traditional potato salad. Yum! 🙂
I love to make a corn casserole – it’s always a crowd pleaser with young and old alike. The Chinese Cashew Salad sounds amazing, though, and will be the next dish I try. Thanks so much for the recipe and all the great content!
I make an awesome pork barbecue. Everyone loves it!
I make a mean baked ziti and garlic toast for potlucks.
I always make corn pudding always a favorite
In warmer weather I like to grill chicken breasts and make a chunky chicken salad; in colder weather it’s gumbo!
Our favorite potluck is a salsa and guacamole combo on top of nachos with sprinkled cheese.
My favorite potluck dish is mostaccioli.
I always make a bbq bean dish with ground beef added to 3 different beans and make it in the crockpot
My favorite potluck is homemade chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles.
I make some crazy good vegan Swedish meatballs!
Pie, pie, and more pie! We can never get enough pie around our house!
Love a great salad!
My favorite potluck dish is macaroni salad so easy to make ahead and take along!
My favorite potluck dish is copycat Cracker Barrels Hashbrowns Casserole! Everyone loves it!
I love to make a pasta salad with lots of fresh produce!
Enchilada Recipe, so yummy
We love to make mac and cheese! It’s always a hit.
Spinach and artichoke dip
I always bring dessert, snickerdoodles!
I usually bring a potato and ham and cheese dish. It’s always a big hit!
I love bringing a 3 cheese baked macaroni casserole.
During the Summer, I like to bring a fresh fruit mix served in half a watermelon rind–super easy and looks like something fancy. In the cooler months I like to bring a Tex Mex Bean “salad” to eat with tortilla chips.
Everyone always wants me to bring either deviled eggs or baked beans but my favorite is fruit salad.
Everyone always loves it when I make my from scratch home made chicken and dumplings!
I love to bring pasta salad…with rotini, mozzarella, pepperoni, tomato & olive!
I love to bring appetizers and one of my favorites to bring are ham and cheese spirals which are very simple to make. You just need soft flour tortillas, ham, Swiss cheese, cream cheese and horseradish. You mix up the horseradish with the cream cheese, spread that on to the tortillas, top with the ham & cheese, then roll and slice into spirals. I have brought these to many gatherings and they are always a hit.
I love to bring dessert because everyone knows me for my cake decorating! I’d probably say cupcakes 🙂
I like to make a strawberry cheesecake salad
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars – always a potluck hit!
I love to bring brownies!!
Although simple, I often grill or broil one large salmon side. I buy wild caught and keep them in the freezer for the unexpected (or forgotten) potluck. I cut it in small pieces and it is always gone when I come back around to pick up the dish. Salmon is delicious hot or cold and goes with everything.
I tend to bring dessert- usually cookies or brownies.
usually a greek pasta salad…but i’m seriously reconsidering after reading this recipe. thank you for experimenting and actually turning it vegetarian…i can hardly wait to make this!
Pretzel salad–the one with layers of pretzels, Cool Whip and cream cheese, and strawberry Jello. It’s the perfect side dish to any potluck. And in our house, there’s always room for dessert, too.
Cold soba noodle and edamame salad.
Asparagus spears rolled up with cream cheese and prosciutto
Oh my goodness. Good luck with that cake! I am usually the one who brings dessert to a potluck – typically cupcakes or fruit crumble bars depending on the season. But growing up, my favorite thing to eat at potluck was that asian salad with crunch ramen noodles!
Good luck with the wedding cake! I love brilliant recipes that arrive from happy accidents like this one. I can’t wait to give this a try. As for potluck dishes, I usually bring a grain salad of some sort. But I’ve been known to whip up my mom’s black bean salsa more than once.
In the summer I like to bring a Caprese salad with home grown tomatoes and basil.
chicken lomein is a favorite dish. Or tomato cucumber salad.
This sounds like the loveliest of mistakes! My favorite summer memories involve my mom’s version of Chinese coleslaw which we call California coleslaw. I know what you mean by the nuts softening in the most deli our way. The honey roasted peanuts in the California coleslaw save the same way. I love bring this to potlucks but if my mom is coming I leave. That to her and bring black bean corn salsa!
My favorite potluck dish is always a hearty grains and greens salad. Being vegan, it can stand in as a main for me if nothing else there works, plus it’s a great side for everyone else!
Mac-n-cheese or some sort of salad!
This is definitely going to the next potluck! Usually it’s curry deviled eggs (one side of the family) which I love any excuse to eat or I’m known as the fruit plate provider for the other side of the family…every time!
I usually make cheesy crockpot potatoes.
I always make the dessert 🙂 I make anything from key lime pie (my Dad’s favorite) to cinnamon rolls depending on the party!
I like to bring little finger foods for appetizers and/or desserts!
This looks amazing! My favorite pot luck dish is homemade guacamole. Not glamorous, but everyone loves a good homemade guac and it gives me an excuse to eat it.
My favorite is a vegetable and orzo salad by Ina Garten!!
My husband would love this!!
Growing up there was a woman at my church who always brought roast pork lo mein to the church potlucks. My siblings and I LIVED for it! We thought this woman was a kitchen mastermind – able to replicate a seemingly “foreign” dish PERFECTLY (nevermind that our own mother was an amazing cook). It wasn’t until I was older and thought about it and remembered how that same woman loathed all things domestic, that I realized she was just bringing takeout lo mein to those potlucks – not quite so magical. I love to cook and I hope that my potluck offerings inspire that kind of excitement. I usually default to pepperoni bread – a rolled bread loaded with herbs, cheese and pepperoni (or spinach if I want it to appear more wholesome). Great recipe – thanks!
My favorite pot luck dish is actually a dessert – berry cobbler! So delicious.
Oh my gosh!! This salad looks and sounds soo good!! I got on your site to look for the Quinoa Black Bean Burger and now I want this salad! You have the best recipes!!
Lately I’ve been making an Edamame and White Bean Salad with Pecorino thats been a huge hit!!
Pesto spinach pasta salad!
My favorite potluck dish is something that can be made ahead and still taste good for the day of the potluck. My go-to is usually a tri-color pasta salad with throw-ins like red onion, parsley, garbanzo beans, and other veggies. It changes depending on what’s in my fridge. The good thing about this dish (and the yummy chinese cashew salad recipe you just made) are that they don’t need to be hot! Therefore the salads will still taste good at room temperature when people get up for seconds 😉
I always bring a selection of desserts to potlucks. Usually a variety of mini pies or hand pies and a plate of cookies and brownies. Nothing fancy, but always well received.
I like making crostini for large get-togethers. So simple, easy, and tasty!
Ahhh my favorite blogger! My go to pot luck is anything Mexican from your amazing Enchilada recipe, seven layer dip, or good old chips and guac. Sorry this is standard for Us Texans 😉
Love your photos!
One of our favorite pot luck dishes is a grilled peach orzo salad with tomatoes and green onions topped off with a tangy peach dressing.
I always drop everything and read this blog! It is always beautiful and just what is needed at the time.
My favorite Pot Luck dish is Green Chili Egg Puff. It can be an appetizer or a main dish..yummo.
Looks great! I love to bring fruit salad with lemon verbena and lime dressing from The Herbfarm Cookbook.
This looks delicious! I’ll be thinking of you and the cake baking. I know they will turn out beautifully!!! ❤️
This is going on the to-do list but, like you, I probably won’t do it quite as written. The salad itself is a lot like something I already do minus the onion and I’m anxious to try your dressing. You had me hooked when I saw cashews in the title; I love cashews.
One of my favorite potluck dishes is also one of the simplest dishes I make, my version of a French Dip Sandwich. I start out with the To-Die-For Roast Beef recipe, also referred to as a 3-envelope roast (a large beef roast, 1pkg. brown gravy mix, 1 pkg. Italian salad dressing mix, 1 pkg. ranch dressing mix, and water) in a slow cooker. Then I drain the liquid from a jar of pepperoncini into the pot and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours. I chop up the pepperoncini and stir them in a couple hours before the beef is done. Sometimes I also thinly slice a large onion and add that with the pepperoncini. I take plenty of hoagie rolls (cut in half or thirds, depending on the size) and several packages of shredded mozzarella cheese. This is a frequently requested dish and I’ve never come home with leftovers.
Deviled Eggs would be a potluck dish I would share. They’ go quickly!
I love to bring a whole loaf of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – kids are always thankful and a fair amount of adults indulge too. I go for oat bread, natural peanut butter and thick jam, usually strawberry. Yum!
Broccoli alas with bacon and cashews!
I make a killer spinach and artichoke dip!