Hawaiian Chicken Salad with a Soy-Free Dressing

February 19th, 2013 at 8:08 am

I don’t know about you, but I am physically craving sunlight, warm breezes, and colorful scenery these days. If you live somewhere where all of this exists, can you please bottle it up and send me a case?!

This winter has not left me in a place of complete gloom like some winters have in the past. I’ve really been working on my attitude, staying positive, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and taking plenty of vitamin D. But still. I have no problem admitting that I am VERY ready for spring!

What better way to chase away the winter blues than with a refreshing salad that sings of the tropics?

We may not be able to go to Hawaii, but we can bring a little taste of Hawaii into our kitchens with a healthful meal.

Since I’ve been on my healing protocol for nearly a month now, I’ve started to loosen things up a little and bring in a few foods that were “off limits” for the first few weeks. Two of them are in this salad: honey and pineapple. Yum!

I’ve also experimented with adding some dried fruit back into my diet. What have I discovered? It’s a trigger food for me. Once I eat just a little bit, I’m left with a craving for more sweet things. Not that I give into those cravings, but then I’m stuck with them for a while, which makes focusing on other stuff hard to do! So dried fruit is really going to be a special occasion food for me for a while, I think.

Another discovery? I don’t miss grains one bit. Before my healing protocol, I didn’t eat very many of them, true, but I still thought I would miss them if I cut them out completely. Not so. There hasn’t been one time where I’ve wanted rice or a traditional grain-based baked good. I’m convinced it’s because I’m eating plenty of other healthy stuff (greens, proteins, fats, some fruits) that are satisfying me.

Last thing: I’m really doing well with eggs again. (Hallelujah!) For a while, eggs in any form in pretty much any quantity and any frequency were giving me an upset, nauseated stomach. I cut them out completely for a few months last year, then reintroduced them and was able to eat them once or twice a week without a problem. Now, since doing my healing protocol (eating good fats, fermented foods and probiotics, and eliminating grains and sweeteners), I am finding that I can eat eggs 2-3 times per week (once I did 4 times) without any nausea whatsoever. I think that supporting my digestion has really helped with this. I’m not going to go back to eating eggs every day, but if I can manage them a few times per week long-term I will be thrilled!

If you’d like to make this salad lower on the glycemic index (although it really isn’t bad at all), replace the pineapple with chopped apple and swap stevia or coconut nectar for the honey. You can also use cooked ground turkey in place of the chicken.

The Hawaiian flair comes from the pineapple, scallions, and dressing that is my “mock ginger-soy dressing.” Instead of soy sauce, I use coconut aminos. They also make a great seasoning for stir-fries, crock-pot soups and stews, and scrambled eggs.

Here’s to an early spring! (Fingers crossed.)

(Oh, by the way: Be sure to come on back tomorrow. I’m sharing my 3-step action plan for kicking sugar cravings on the spot. It WORKS!)

Hawaiian Chicken Salad with a Soy-Free Dressing
Serves 3-4

This easy chicken salad is packed with the flavors of the tropics and gets its flavor from a delicious soy-free ginger dressing.

For the salad:
2 -1/2  –  3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 -1/2 cups finely chopped green cabbage
3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions (green onions)
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

For the dressing:
1/4 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 thumb-sized chunk peeled, fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon or lime zest

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Fresh greens, for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, gently toss all of the ingredients for the salad. In a blender or small food processor, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing. Puree until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Serve the salad over greens if desired.


  1. Thanks for the link to the coconut aminos – I love having an option for soy free. The sodium kills me!!

  2. It was serendipty at play this morning! I just happened to have leftover ground turkey, fresh pineapple, a small head of Savoy cabbage and 1 tbsp of coconut aminos in the fridge when I logged in this morning looking for breakfast ideas. This recipe is deeeee-lish, Hallie!!

  3. So delicious-looking Hallie. You know this is right up my flavor alley!

  4. This was delicious and easy to make! Thank you for the recipe – I will definitely be making this again!

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I'm Hallie Klecker, a professional recipe developer, author, and passionate gluten-free foodie. As a certified holistic nutrition educator, my goal is to inspire others to live a balanced, nourished life through eating well and living pure—one bite at a time. Learn more.