Honey Sesame Dressing for Asian Chicken Salad

A simple salad for the last days of summer with an Asian-inspired honey sesame dressing and marinade.

Every year I feel as though I’m hanging on to the last bits of summer, wishing the sun’s rays to remain warm and strong just a bit longer so as to delay the inevitable winter, the graying of the plants and the whiteness that will eventually come and blanket my little piece of the earth.

I appreciate the seasons. I suppose any true Minnesotan must, lest you drive yourself crazy. There’s a peace and calm that comes with the winter, a stillness as the world rests and waits to spring forth again, green and beautiful once more.

While it’s still here, though, I’m holding tight to the green, the lushness of the end of summer and the welcoming of winter, as leaves turn and the produce at the market changes from shades of bright berries and herbs to the warm colors of fall with its orange pumpkins and a rainbow of winter squash.

For now, we snap peas in the garden wearing jeans and sweaters instead of shorts and t-shirts. We snack on crisp apples rather than melon and berries and start backyard fires before the sun goes down for warmth.

Winter always brings a sense of melancholy for me, as I say goodbye to my garden and clear the yard to prepare for its snow blanket, but what I’ll miss most of the warm summer sun is the salads and meals thrown together with abandon, pulled from the ground and placed directly on the table for all to enjoy.

Our menu is changing with the seasons, but I’m not quite ready to give up with the last two days of summer left to celebrate. Here’s to tailgating, backyard campfires and a new season before us, but for now – today – I’ll enjoy a salad, fresh with greens, snow peas and a hint of orange to show that fall is here and winter is coming.

Honey Sesame Dressing:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons grape seed oil, divided

Sesame Crusted Almonds
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup raw almonds

Chicken Salad:
2 large or 4 small chicken breasts
6 cups salad greens
1/2 cup snow peas, ends snipped
2 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
3 green onions, diced

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, garlic and ginger. Slowly drizzle the sesame oil and 1/2 cup grape seed oil into the bowl while whisking continuously until emulsified. Remove 1/3 cup of the marinade to a separate bowl. To that bowl drizzle and whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Set aside for dressing the salad. Separate 3 tablespoons of the marinade and set aside. Add chicken breasts to the remaining marinade.

In a small pan over medium heat, heat grape seed oil. Add sesame seeds and stir to coat in the oil. Toast for 30-60 seconds until lightly golden. Add in almonds and 3 tablespoons of the marinade mixture. Continue cooking until almonds and sesame seeds are caramelized, stirring frequently.

Heat grill to medium. Place chicken on the grill and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Turn once more and cook a final 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate, tent with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, layer greens, snow peas, oranges and green onions in a bowl. Sprinkle almonds over the greens. Slice chicken breast thinly and place on top of the salad. Drizzle with honey sesame dressing and serve immediately.

Copyright © Food for My Family.


  1. Oh my goodness – what a delicious recipe and photos. I love this Asian chicken salad twist!

  2. This looks delicious! I’m looking forward to the fall, but I will also miss eating salads for dinner.

  3. This recipe looks fabulous! Love your pictures!

  4. Amazing. So amazing that I just let coffee dribble out of my face while oozing out of my chair.

  5. This looks divine. I am enjoying salads and GF meals lately and I cant wait to add something totally delicious!! Thanks for the great recipe!

  6. I hear you about not wanting to let summer go, it’s always the season that seems to go by the fastest for some reason. I’m going to be hanging on for as long as I can too!

  7. This sounds wonderful. I love salads like this whether in the summer or winter months. Your salad dressing sounds delicious as do the almonds. I’m definitely making this. Thanks for sharing. Your daughter is darling!

  8. What a marvelous combination of textures. Happy Cooking!

  9. Can’t wait to try this out. I’m always looking for healthy salad dressings and this sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Those sesame crusted almonds are making my toes curl. I LOVE when my toes curl!

  11. Thanks for sharing.It look delicious. I like eating salad.I cant wait to try this weekend.

  12. I was just now looking for new salad and salad dressing recipes, and I found your blog. I am so excited to try this salad!

  13. Strikingly beautiful photographs! And a lovely salad as well. Yum.

  14. That is one beautiful salad, my friend. James loves those flavors, so I’ll definitely be making this for dinner next week.

  15. You gave me a craving. I’m going to have to do this for lunch!

  16. I want to try this salad..I am sure it heathy kind of salad..I cant wait to make this!

  17. Fortunato says:

    I want to try this salad..I am sure it heathy kind of salad..I cant wait to make this!

  18. Summer is great, isn’t it? Love your photos; reminds me of when I was a little girl de-stringing the snow peas for my mum. Great idea for this homemade salad dressing!

  19. I can’t run to the store fast enough for these ingredients! Sounds heavenly!


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