The ultimate Grilled Chicken Salad recipe with leafy greens, vegetables, juicy grilled chicken breast and a delicious creamy poppyseed dressing.
Table of Contents
- Ingredients for Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe
- How to Make Grilled Chicken Salad
- How Long Should I Marinate and Grill Chicken?
- Tips for Best Results
- Variations of Grilled Chicken Salad
- What Other Salad Dressings Can I Use?
- Can I Make It Ahead of Time?
- How to Store It
- More Salad Recipes to Try
- Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe Recipe
This grilled chicken salad packs in tons of flavor and is like summer in a bowl. It is a treat for your tastebuds with a delicious combination of protein, healthy fats, leafy greens, crunchy bacon and savory-sweet fruit and vegetables.
Ingredients for Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe
This grilled chicken salad is super versatile recipe. So if you want to swap some ingredients and use what you have on hand, just substitute it with the same food group item to maintain the perfect balance!
- Leafy greens: I used chopped romaine lettuce as the base of my salad. Chopped kale or lettuce, baby spinach, spring mix or arugula would also be delicious.
- Fruit: I added fresh raspberries, tomatoes and avocado. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, apple, peach, mango, or clementine will work.
- Vegetables: Crunchy cucumbers and red onion.
- Fresh herbs: I used fresh parsley. Cilantro, basil, dill, lemon thyme, chives or green onion would be great too.
- Grilled chicken: I am using my leftover grilled chicken recipe. If you don’t have a grill or weather isn’t cooperating, other chicken for salad that works is air fryer chicken breast, pan fried chicken breast or simply bake chicken breast in the oven.
- Salad dressing: Topped off with my creamy poppy seed dressing to finish.
How to Make Grilled Chicken Salad
Here is a quick overview how to make grilled chicken salad. Find full recipe card below.
- Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl, combine boneless skinless chicken breasts and chicken marinade and allow to marinate for 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- Grill the chicken: Grill chicken breasts over medium-high heat (450F) for around 5 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Once cooked, allow the chicken to rest covered for 5 minutes.
- Prepare the salad ingredients: Meanwhile, either as the chicken is marinating or cooking, in a large bowl, add the lettuce, raspberries, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, parsley and bacon.
- Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients and use a fork or whisk to mix them well.
- Assemble grilled chicken salad: Slice it and top salad with grilled chicken. I recommend serving the dressing on the side, so everyone can add as much as they like and if you have any leftovers, they’ll store better.
How Long Should I Marinate and Grill Chicken?
If you use my grilled chicken for salad, then it has a simple marinade with lemon, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper and requires only 30 minutes of marinating.
How long to grill chicken breast depends mostly on your grill and the thickness of your chicken breasts.
Here is a time chart for your quick reference.
|Chicken breast thickness
|Under 2 inches
|6-8 ounces each
|8-10 ounces each
|Over 2 inches
|10 ounces or more
As a general rule, make sure to grill the chicken until the meat thermometer inserted in the center reaches internal temperature of 165F.
Tips for Best Results
Here are my top tips for the best grilled chicken salad recipe in the world!
- For even cooking: If you don’t have even sized pieces, pound chicken breasts lightly with a meat mallet or rolling pin.
- Don’t forget the resting time: As soon as the chicken has reached the internal temperature, remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes while covered. This is critical for allowing the juices to redistribute for super tender, juicy chicken.
- Use chicken thighs: You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs. The grilling time will be 2-3 minutes longer than for chicken breasts.
- Match marinated chicken to similar flavors: Pair Greek chicken with other Mediterranean flavors like tomatoes, kalamata olives, cucumber, avocado, and feta like in this traditional Greek salad.
Variations of Grilled Chicken Salad
Combinations I use in this grilled chicken salad just never fails. However, you can add in other ingredients and extras. Here are a few ideas:
- Extra vegetables: If you want to pack in even more nutrients, include grilled corn, mushrooms, asparagus, olives.
- Toasted nuts: Nuts will help add crunch and healthy fats to the salad. When toasted, they also pack a punch of flavor. I like to use unsalted roasted mixed nuts. However, you could add walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, or even pine nuts. For a nut-free option, you could use sunflower seeds or pepitas.
- Cheese: Cheese adds a salty, savory flavor and creamy texture. Soft cheese that is easy to crumble like feta cheese and goat cheese are our favorites. Gorgonzola cheese would also work but isn’t the most kid-friendly option.
- Extra protein: Chicken pairs well with other proteins like hard boiled eggs. Make hard boiled eggs in Instant Pot or hard boiled eggs in air fryer.
- Swap out the protein: This grilled chicken salad can also be served with grilled salmon, grilled shrimp skewers, or even carne asada steak instead of chicken!
What Other Salad Dressings Can I Use?
Luckily, grilled chicken salad recipe is versatile, so any of these healthy salad dressings will pair well with it.
For this salad, I used my healthy poppy seed dressing which is creamy with a slight sweet onion flavor.
However, based on the ingredients you add to your salad with grilled chicken, you could also use:
- Balsamic vinaigrette
- Healthy Caesar dressing
- Healthy ranch dressing
- Asian salad dressing
- Cilantro avocado dressing
- Healthy honey mustard dressing
Or a simple combination of quality extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper to taste never fails!
Can I Make It Ahead of Time?
Yes. You can prepare all the components of this grilled chicken salad in advance. You can marinate chicken overnight. The salad ingredients can be prepared at the same time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. And you can make the dressing up to 1 week or more in advance!
You can also meal prep this grilled chicken salad recipe for work lunches. To do this, make up a layered mason jar with the dressing at the bottom, then add chicken, then the vegetables. Then just shake it up before eating.
How to Store It
If the salad is dressed, then make sure to eat it on the same day within 12 hours.
If the salad and dressing are stored separately, then you can store them for up to 2 days in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. If you make a large batch or two of grilled chicken, then you can make a week’s worth of salads!
More Salad Recipes to Try
- Chicken egg salad
- Curried chicken salad
- Avocado chicken salad
- Thai chicken salad
- Healthy cobb salad
- Grilled romaine lettuce
Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe
Grilled Chicken Breast
To make grilled chicken:
- In a large bowl add chicken breasts, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir with tongs and let marinate for 30 minutes-24 hours.
- Grill chicken on medium high heat (450 degrees F) for 10 minutes, flipping once. Rest under foil for 5 minutes.
To make poppy seed dressing:
- In a small bowl, add yogurt, maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, poppy seeds, onion powder, salt and pepper. Stir well with a fork to combine. Set aside.
To assemble grilled chicken salad:
- In a large salad bowl, add lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, red onion, parsley, raspberries, bacon and sliced grilled chicken breast.
- Drizzle with poppyseed dressing and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.
- Store: If salad is dressed, then make sure to eat it on the same day (within 12 hours). If the salad and dressing are stored separately, then you can store them for up to 2 days covered in the refrigerator.
- Leafy greens: Chopped lettuce, kale, spring mix or arugula would be delicious!
- Chicken: Chicken thighs would work as well.