Growing up, our mom would have lunch with her besties once a month and it was quite the occasion! Sometimes, they’d go out to eat, but most of the time, one of the gals hosted. Everyone wore their favorite, most colorful dress and gathered around good food for a sweet time of catching up and having a little much-deserved fun. One of the staples on their menu was this Ladies’ Luncheon Cashew Chicken Salad… could the name be any more perfect?! They’d fill a beautiful salad bowl full of fresh greens, perfectly marinated chicken, something salty, something sweet and juicy, and toss it in a homemade tangy dressing that was just so tasty. It was as delightful to look at as it was to taste, and that’s why they loved it so much! So, the next time you’re gathering your gal pals together, make sure this Ladies’ Luncheon Cashew Chicken Salad is on the menu. Everyone will be squealing with pure glee!

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For the marinade/dressing:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless

For the salad:

  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chow mein noodles
  • 3/4 cup salted cashews, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
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Step 1 –In a small bowl, whisk the apple cider vinegar, the molasses, the oil, the ginger root, the soy sauce, the salt, and the cayenne pepper together until blended.

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Step 2 –Pour 3/4 cup of the marinade into a large shallow dish.

Step 3 –Add the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat.

Step 4 –Cover the chicken and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.

Step 5 –Cover and refrigerate the remaining marinade to serve as the dressing.

Step 6 –Position a rack about 6-inches from the top of the oven.

Step 7 –Preheat the broiler.

Step 8 –Drain the chicken and place it into a 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

Step 9 –Cook the chicken until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads at least 165 degrees F, about 4-6 minutes on each side.

Step 10 –Cut the cooked chicken into strips.

Step 11 –Place the spinach on a serving platter and top with the chicken, the mandarin oranges, the cabbage, the carrots, and the green onions.

Step 12 –Sprinkle the salad with the chow mein noodles, the cashews, and the sesame seeds.

Step 13 –Stir the reserved marinade and drizzle it over the salad.

Step 14 –Serve immediately.