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Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad - A super simple, super flavorful salad that is delicious as a main dish or side!

This past Labor Day weekend, our friend Simone brought a delicious Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad to a barbecue we attended in our neighborhood.

The party was actually an annual rib cook-off where my husband Jack served as one of the judges. And while the ribs were very good – this Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad was even better! This salad is light and delicious with a spicy (but not too spicy) Asian dressing. Simone was nice enough to share her recipe with us – so we could share it with all of you today!

This salad is incredibly simple, and it uses ingredients typically found in the average supermarket – so no trip to a specialty market is needed. The recipe calls for cooked shredded chicken, so you can poach it or – to save even more time – you can use an already-cooked supermarket rotisserie chicken. (We include the steps to cook a chicken in the recipe below.)

Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad - A super simple, super flavorful salad that is delicious as a main dish or side!

A few last things to mention… We highly recommend using a mortar and pestle to make the sauce. While you can use a blender, Simone swears the sauce will not taste as good! (And Simone is an excellent cook – especially when it comes to Asian cuisine – so take her word for it!) 😉 She also noted that you don’t want any one ingredient in the salad to overpower the others so follow the instructions and proportions of ingredients exactly as written!

Interested in more chicken recipes?
Click here for our 100+ Best Chicken Recipes.

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Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


If using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, the cook time listed will be less.


  • 1 small whole raw chicken or half a medium-to-large raw chicken, or one half medium-to-large cooked rotisserie chicken
  • 1 large onion (if cooking the raw chicken)
  • ½ small head green cabbage
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely shredded
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

For the Sauce (makes one cup)

  • 2 small garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Garlic Sauce, available in most supermarkets
  • 1 fresh Thai bird chili pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced fine, optional (if you can’t find this, any small hot pepper will work)
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice including the lime pulp
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar


  1. If cooking a raw chicken, place in pot, cover with water and place in whole peeled onion. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 hours then cool. If using cooked chicken, go to next step.
  2. Shred chicken meat into thin threads with your fingers and place into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Shred cabbage into thin shreds with a sharp knife and add to chicken.
  4. Finely shred the carrot and chop mint and add to bowl.
  5. Toss the mixture and refrigerate.
  6. With a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic to a paste. Add the chili garlic sauce and the Thai chili pepper and continue mashing to a fine paste.
  7. Scrape into a small bowl and add other sauce ingredients, whip to combine and refrigerate.
  8. When ready to serve, pour cold sauce mixture over chicken and cabbage, toss and serve.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad - A super simple, super flavorful salad that is delicious as a main dish or side!

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  • Nutmeg Nanny wrote:

    Simone sounds like one smart cookie! This salad looks awesome and I bet it tasted even better!

  • Erin @ Texanerin Baking wrote:

    How awesome that this doesn’t require any specialty ingredients! I feel like I’m always at the Asian food shop. The salad looks fantastic!

  • Angie | Big Bear’s Wife wrote:

    Oh my, an annual rib cook-off sounds like so much fun! Also I love the idea of using rotisserie chicken in this salad!

  • adriana wrote:

    just simple food!very good!for me,only the sauce is,sometime,a problem!:))

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Adriana! Hopefully this sauce won’t be too difficult – the ingredients should be fairly easy to find!

  • Jessica (Savory Experiments) wrote:

    This looks so tasty, Martha! I have some chile garlic sauce that needs to be used up- looks like it found a home!

  • Lauren @ Healthy Delicious wrote:

    My mouth is watering thinking about the flavors in this.

  • Sarah Walker Caron (Sarah’s Cucina Bella) wrote:

    What a gorgeous salad! I am a huge fan of spicy foods, but my family isn’t — how spicy is the dressing?

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Sarah – It’s not super spicy at all – just a little bit of heat and flavor from the chili garlic paste. (You can always add more or less to suit your tastes!)

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