Chicken Larb Salad with Red Cabbage

chicken larb paleo recipe

Recipe: Chicken larb salad with red cabbage

This chicken larb salad is like Pop Rocks Candy – layers of textures and amazing punchy flavours unravel in your mouth with each bite. Originating in Laos and evolving through neighbouring cuisines, this salad is made with different types of minced meat, fish sauce, lots of fresh lime juice, chili and raw vegetables. Herbs like coriander,Thai basil, and mint can be used to toss through the salad.

I usually make my larb with chicken and lots of fresh vegetables I have on hand. The recipe calls for some ingredients you might not usually have in your shopping basket, like lemongrass or coconut aminos, but they are very easy to find in specialty stores and online. You should really have some fish sauce and Tamari wheat free or gluten free, naturally brewed soy sauce in your pantry, I find I use them in a lot of dishes.  Coconut aminos is a sauce made from coconut sap, it has a slightly sweet flavour and resembles soy sauce.

If you can’t find coconut aminos, use some palm sugar for that little sweetness that you need in the authentic larb. Palm sugar is made from the sap of the palm tree which is collected and boiled down to thicken. It comes as a hard block of brown looking sugar which can be grated or sliced. Like raw honey, I think of palm sugar as a natural sweetener and I use a little bit for baking or in Asian dishes. If you’re concerned about having any sugar at all, remember that we’re only using 1-2 tablespoons for the WHOLE salad so you’re looking at a small quantity per serving, like 3-4 grams.

Note: This salad is very easy to make once you get past all the chopping :) You can toast/roast coconut flakes and cashews in a frying pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes or in the oven. Keep an eye as they can burn quickly.

This picture doesn’t show ALL of the salad. The recipe makes quite a lot so you will have enough to feed a family or to save as leftovers for lunch. I would normally serve it with a side of green vegetables and mushrooms in oyster sauce or some stir-fried cauliflower. You can add a little sweet potato to increase the carb intake.


For the chicken:

  • 450g chicken mince, free range of course
  • 1 long red chili, finely chopped with the seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Little nob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stem lemon grass, pale section only, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of coriander stems washed and finely chopped (I don’t waste anything, save the leaves for the salad)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbs coconut aminos
  • 1 tbs tamari wheat free soy sauce, or gluten free, naturally brewed soy sauce (or replace with extra coconut aminos)
  • 1/2 lime rind grated
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Coconut oil for frying (about 3 tablespoons)
  • If you have it, a few leaves of kaffir lime leaves chopped up are also a nice addition
For the salad:
  • 1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp green spring onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander leaves (saved from the stems used in the chicken)
  • A handful of fresh mint or Thai basil if available
  • 1/2 cup crashed roasted cashews or some seasame seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried fried shallots (optional for garnish)
  • 2 tbsp toasted coconut flakes (optional for garnish)
For the dressing:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp grated palm sugar or 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos or tamari
  • 1 small red chili, finely chopped (you can leave it out if you like it mild)


  1. Once you’ve prepared all your ingredients for the chicken, heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a large frying pan or a wok to high. Throw in lemongrass, chili, garlic, coriander stems and ginger and stir fry for about a minute until fragrant. Add chicken mince and lime zest. Stir and break apart the mince with a wooden mixing spoon until separated into small chunks (this might take a while as chicken mince is quite sticky). The meat will now be changing to white colour. Add fish sauce, coconut aminos, tamari and lime juice. Stir through and cook for a further few minutes. Total cooking time for the chicken should be about 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the salad base by mixing together sliced red cabbage, onion grated carrot, and fresh herbs.
  3. Mix all dressing ingredients and toss through the salad.
  4. Serve cooked chicken mince on top of the dressed salad and topped with roasted cashews, dried shallots, coconut flakes and extra fresh herbs. I often just mix everything together :)

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Number of servings: 4

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Feel free to replace chicken with beef, pork or duck – it works just as well.


  1. Cush says

    I made this salad for my family tonight- it was awesome! Even 11yo loved it. Have pre-ordered your cookbook Irena, so looking forward to more recipes like this one!

  2. Andrea says

    Wonderful recipe! So flavorful! I made this yesterday for the family I cook for & although it is involved/time consuming it’s worth every minute. The meat turned out fantastic, I couldn’t help taking several tastes- of course to make sure it was seasoned properly ;) I added cashews that I pan fried in coconut oil- yummers! Such an awesome dish! And can be modified for 21dsd which is a bonus

  3. Tash says

    Just wanted to drop by and say I am currently half way through a bowl of this salad and it’s awesome. Great recipe!

  4. Sue says

    Made this the other day- absolutely yum! I cheated a little bit and used a big tablespoon of my homemade red curry paste to season the chicken to cut down on a bit of the chopping and it was great!

  5. Kate Alison says

    Irena! I made this salad for dinner last night – it was fantastic!
    I think next time I’ll have a little more salad, I used 500 gms mince and it was a little too meaty – but the balance of flavors was amazing.
    Also great to have a carb free meal that leaves you totally full.

  6. Amanda says

    Yum! I just made this yummy chicken larb and red cabbage salad, and it tastes fantastic! So fresh and full of flavor! Great recipe, thank you.

  7. says

    I stumbled across your blog this weekend. I’m in LOVE with all of your recipes! I made this for lunch today and it is AMAZING! I have a feeling this will become a family favorite. :)


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