Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad

Did you have any teenage moments when you thought you were quite the grown up? For me, it was the first time I ordered the Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad.

Copycat Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad. A better homemade version of the original restaurant recipe anyone can make! Juicy oven fried chicken, fresh greens, crispy ramen noodles in a sweet and tangy oriental dressing. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

My mom, sisters, and I were seated at a high top in the bar area. I felt too old and too sophisticated for the kids menu, and my mom was not going to let me order a steak, so I drifted to the Oriental Chicken Salad, which fell somewhere in between.

The Oriental Chicken Salad also happened to be what the two other older, clearly cooler teenagers I could spot from my high vantage point were eating. They seemed hip and cool. I wanted to be hip and cool. Oriental Chicken Salad it would be. I ordered my chicken crispy and my dressing on the side. Extra crunchy noodles please.

I was quite the sophisticate.

When the salad arrived, I gave it a skeptical toss (really, adults eat salads and consider it a meal?), and took a tentative forkful. It was love at first bite!

If you’ve never had the Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad, you should know that it’s delicious. I went on to order it many times through high school, and years later, it’s still flagged as a customer favorite on the Applebee’s menu. It contains all the critical components that make a salad satisfying: crisp greens, filling protein, almonds and chow mein noodles for crunch, and a sweet, creamy dressing to tie it all together.

Tastes EXACTLY like Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad! Easy copycat restaurant recipe that anyone can make at home. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

As a teenager, I gave little thought to the nutritional quality of my meals, and it never would have occurred to me that any dish with the word “salad” in its title might not be healthy. As an adult, I’ve learned that, unfortunately, salads are often one of the least healthy things on a restaurant’s menu. While writing this post, I became morbidly curious about the Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad calorie count and had to take a peek. I was shocked. Depending upon your diet, it could be nearly a day’s worth of calories.

I generally try to avoid counting calories, especially when I go out to eat, but I do believe it is reasonable to expect my salads to be nutritious. I also expect them to be yummy, filling, and offer a good variety of ingredients, flavors, and textures. Have I set the bar too high? Absolutely not! Case in point: today’s homemade version of Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad. It’s just as deliciously addictive as Applebee’s version, but it is actually good for you and reasonable in the calorie department too.

Copycat Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad with oriental dressing. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

In place of the deep-fried chicken strips Applebee’s puts on its Oriental Chicken Salad, I swapped these Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders. They offer the same juicy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside sensation but are oven baked instead of fried. I kept the chow mein noodles and toasted almonds (gotta have that crunch!) and layered in extra fresh veggies. Finally, I made my own homemade oriental dressing, which uses Greek yogurt in place of the mayo in the Applebee’s version.

Copycat Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad. Just like the original! A healthy homemade version that anyone can make! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

I inhaled this salad for lunch and can see it being a great choice for light, cool meals throughout the summer. I love it topped with these Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders, but you can also easily swap grilled chicken or even salmon or shrimp.

If you like this Copycat Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad, be sure to check out these other main dish chicken salad recipes:

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Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad

A healthy copycat version of Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad that’s just as good as the original for a fraction of the calories!

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Salad:
  • 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce (about 1 head)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 8 Crispy Asian Chicken Tenders
  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup chow mein noodles
  • 2 green onions, chopped
For the Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1–2 tablespoons nonfat milk, if necessary

Directions:

  1. Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl or large measuring cup, combine the Greek yogurt, honey, vinegar, mustard, sesame oil, and salt. Taste and add more salt as desired. If the dressing is too thick for your liking, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk, until the desired consistency is reached.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the romaine, red cabbage, and carrots. Arrange the chicken tenders on top. Drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with the chow mein noodles, almonds, and green onion. Enjoy immediately.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 (of 4)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 370 Calories
  • Total Fat: 11g
  • Cholesterol: 106mg
  • Sodium: 304mg
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 16g
  • Protein: 29g

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

12 comments

  1. I like how this is a lightened up version of the Applebee’s salad! I can’t say I’ve ever had this salad at Applebee’s, but I’ve definitely encountered similar, and the flavor combo is spot on. I remember the days where I desperately wanted to be grown up. Now I wonder what my rush was!! :P

  2. Brilliant! This is the only entree I’ve ever eaten at Applebee’s. I know I’m going to love YOUR version even better!

  3. Well, Erin, you got me with this one!  I had no idea how you would use chicken tenders in a recipe, but you only landed on what used to be my favorite meal at Applebee’s.    I say used to, because they apparently changed the recipe a few years back and it was not anywhere near as good.  I did always order the salad with grilled chicken, but I would definitely make the chicken tenders/fingers for this recipe.  The calorie count makes that a reasonable thing to do.  I also like the idea of using Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise.  I will put this on my list of definite things to make this summer.   I’m glad that I’m able to be reasonably open-minded…  😇

  4. pretty sure that salad was my first restaurant favorite! i haven’t had it for ages but i’d bet i’d still love it, especially a homemade version!

  5. This is one of my go-to menu choices at Applebies too! Although it seems like they give you less salad stuff these days, or maybe I just got a very generous chef a few times.
    I will have to try your recipe because this means I can add all the veggies I want, AND I don’t have to cook the chicken!
    Val

  6. hey girl- this looks amazing! I have had Applebee’s Oriental chicken rollup and it is so amazing!~ yummy

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