Spicy Grilled Chicken Salad with Kimchi (GF)

Woman serving spicy grilled chicken salad.

I am fully and completely OBSESSED with kimchi. I’ve taken to putting it on everything from scrambled eggs to toast. There’s something delightfully complex about the flavor with its hints of smokiness, spiciness, and even some sweetness. Therefore, I wanted to create a salad recipe that features kimchi heavily, and uses it as a contrast to some umami-rich, soy-marinated grilled chicken. The result of my culinary musings is this tasty, well-balanced spicy grilled chicken salad with kimchi! It’s hearty and crunchy enough to be a satisfying meal, but it’s still light and full of healthy nutrients. It also comes together in just about a half an hour (not counting the marinating time of the chicken), so let me show you how to make it!

What goes in it:

Mandarin orange slices

For this salad, less is more.

We start out with beautiful sections of mandarin orange to provide sweet little bursts of flavor that layer in nicely with the rest of the salad ingredients. We’ve tried this recipe with both canned and fresh mandarin oranges. However, we vastly preferred the fresh mandarins since they are more tart than the canned kind. It’s a little extra work, but yields a much better flavor.

Next, we marinate some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a combination of soy sauce, chopped fresh Thai chiles, fish sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar. Then we pop them on the grill for a few minutes. Then, all that deliciousness goes straight into your lovely spicy grilled chicken salad with kimchi!

Grilled chicken for the spicy grilled chicken slices.

For the salad, we use some crunchy, juicy napa cabbage, chopped fresh romaine leaves, and zingy scallions to create a lovely, textured bed for you grilled chicken!

And finally, for those of you who have never heard of kimchi: what is it, anyway?? Basically, it’s just fermented veggies! You’ll mostly find veggies like napa cabbage, carrots, daikon, and radishes thrown into kimchi blends. Our favorite readily available store-bought kimchi brand is Chi Kitchen, which you can find at Whole Foods. However, you can easily ferment your own kimchi with whatever you have handy in your garden (recipe to come). Use a little or a lot of kimchi on this salad. It’s tasty in nearly every capacity (not that I’m biased or anything…).

Now, let’s get to the assembly.

Final assembly for this spicy grilled chicken salad!

Serving chicken on the salad.

First, toss the lettuce, cabbage, scallions, and mandarin orange slices together in your large salad bowl. Then, thinly slice your marinated, grilled chicken breasts, nestling the slices on top of your salad greens.

Spicy grilled chicken salad.

Next, top with whatever quantity of kimchi you’d like. I would use 1/2 cup as a guide, but I can never get enough kimchi, so don’t trust me entirely. Then, sprinkle a few pepitas over that for some extra crunch. Finally, drizzle with our delectable lemon, mirin, and miso dressing, and you’ve got a fresh and hearty meal. So tasty!!!

You can also improvise with this recipe. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can serve this with our Seriously Amazing Fried Tofu instead of the chicken, and it will be equally mouthwatering! Also, feel free to play around with different veggies, fruits, and dressing combos as this salad is all about layers of complementary flavors all working together towards a savory end goal. 😉 And there you have it! A quick, easy, and healthy spicy grilled chicken salad you can devour anytime!

Now, go forth and cook!

Spicy Grilled Chicken Salad with Kimchi

A crispy, crunchy, and hearty grilled chicken salad filled with fresh veggies and sweet bursts of orange, and then topped with spicy kimchi.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Salad, Entree
Cuisine: American, Healthy!
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: quick, easy, salad, healthy recipes, cabbage, grilled chicken, grilled chicken salad, kimchi, spicy grilled chicken, mandarin oranges, fresh recipes, Gluten-free
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 280kcal
Author: LM


For the chicken:

  • 3 chicken breasts *boneless, skinless
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce *use gluten-free if GF
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce *ensure that it is GF
  • 1 thai chili *finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic *finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger *fresh and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar

For the salad:

  • 3 mandarin oranges *peeled and sectioned
  • 4 cups napa cabbage *thinly sliced
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce *thinly sliced
  • 3-4 scallions *finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup kimchi *ensure it is gluten-free if GF

For the salad dressing:

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tsp white miso paste


For the chicken:

  • Combine all of the chicken marinade ingredients in a flat pyrex baking dish. Stir them to throughly combine. Be sure that the brown sugar is completely dissolved. This may take a few minutes of stirring.
  • Place chicken breasts in the Pyrex dish with the marinade. Spoon some of the marinade over the tops of the chicken breasts, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours, depending on how much flavor you want to absorb into the chicken. Be sure to flip chicken breasts halfway through marinating.
  • Prepare grill on medium-high heat.**
  • Grill chicken breasts on medium-high heat for 9-12 minutes per side or until a quick-read thermometer reads 165°F.
  • Remove to a clean plate, slice into thin strips, and set aside while you assemble the salad.

For the salad:

  • Combine cabbage, romaine, scallions, and orange slices in a large salad bowl. Make sure they are mixed thoroughly for the best flavor.
  • Place chicken slices on top of the greens.
  • Top with kimchi and pepitas.

For the lemon-miso dressing:

  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously until the salad dressing has a smooth, pourable texture. Drizzle over the salad and serve! Enjoy!


** If you don’t have a grill, you can bake the chicken breasts for 30 minutes at 350°F. 


Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 597mg | Potassium: 883mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 2022IU | Vitamin C: 61mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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