Grilled Chicken and Cabbage Salad With Creamy Tahini Dressing Recipe

Leftover grilled chicken is the star of this fresh and flavorful salad. . J. Kenji López-Alt

Why This Recipe Works

  • Massaging the chicken meat with olive oil and lemon juice before adding the remaining ingredients gives it more flavor, while also tenderizing it.
  • A ton of fresh herbs makes the salad taste light and refreshing, though it's still hearty enough to eat as a light meal.

I've been trying to come up with great ways to use leftover grilled chicken breasts that mask their inherent dryness and give them new life. One of my favorites is a fresh, crunchy salad with cabbage, red onion, and a ton of fresh herbs in a tahini-based dressing.

Recipe Details

Grilled Chicken and Cabbage Salad With Creamy Tahini Dressing Recipe

Active 15 mins
Total 15 mins
Serves 4 servings


  • 3/4 pound leftover grilled chicken breasts (about 2 breasts) or 3/4 pound picked cooked rotisserie chicken meat, shredded

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 3 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 lemons, divided

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, finely minced (about 4 teaspoons), divided

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3/4 pound finely shredded red cabbage (about 1/2 head)

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1/3 cup tahini paste

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds


  1. Combine chicken with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and massage with clean hands to work the dressing into the chicken. Add cabbage and red onion and toss to combine. Set aside.

  2. In a small bowl, combine tahini, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and remaining 3 teaspoons minced garlic. Whisking constantly, drizzle in remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Slowly whisk in up to 1/2 cup water until a thick, pancake-batter-like consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. Add mint, parsley, and cilantro to bowl with shredded chicken and cabbage, along with half of sesame seeds and all of the dressing. Toss with clean hands to combine. Adjust to taste with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as necessary. Transfer to serving platter or bowl and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds. Serve immediately. Salad can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
474 Calories
33g Fat
17g Carbs
32g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 474
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 43%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 516mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 42mg 211%
Calcium 120mg 9%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 815mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)