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Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe

Updated on February 27, 2013

Grilled Chicken Salad

One of the simplest, tastiest, and healthiest salad types - the grilled chicken salad has been unappreciated and underused. This amazing salad can be quite low in fat yet high in flavor, making it one of the best food options for lunch or dinner. Because all the flavors are so versatile and hard to mess up, even new chefs are able to whip up something everyone can enjoy!

The Chicken

Lets face it. Chicken is one of the most versatile meats one could possibly choose to work with. However, this makes it perfect for Chicken Salad because it matches well with so many flavors. You can add just plain grilled chicken to anything from a southwest style salad to a chef's salad and have a different yet delicious chicken salad every day without feeling repetitive.

There are many ways to grill chicken. You can either have it the traditional way with coal, or gas, or even some electric griddle type grill - however I prefer the old way with a my choice of wood to add that extra element of flavor to my chicken.

As for the seasonings, that always depends on the salad. Most of the time I use a mix of garlic, parsley, and salt though. If I want extra spice I use a mix of finely ground dried red and green peppers, black peppercorn, paprika, and the garlic salt. However, chicken is so open to new flavors that you can add anything you want!

Sauces and Dressings

Salad loves dressings. Be it fruits, nuts, herbs, or cheese any kind of dressing will take a salad to the next level. However when eating healthy it is important to consider what goes in the dressing that you are eating. For instance, logically creamy dressings such as ranch have a lot higher fat content than a more light dressing such as a fruit vinaigrette. When considering what dressing you are going to put on a salad, you also want to think about how it compliments the salad it is going on.

There are many options with grilled chicken - for instance the more creamy ranch would go with hearty salads (both in thickness and in flavor content), and you would want to put a vinaigrette on something much lighter that is perhaps just lettuce, chicken, nuts, and cheese.

Have fun with all the combinations!


The Plain Chicken Salad

Not that there is anything plain about it - the "plain" chicken salad is one of the most common kinds of grilled chicken salads and goes well as either a main or a side. If you are looking for a quick "plain" grilled chicken salad all you need are a few vegetables, your chicken, perhaps a secondary meat, and perhaps some kind of cheese. Below is a small table of things I love to have on a "plain" grilled chicken salad.

Various Chicken Salad Ingredients

Vegetables (And Fruits)
Pine Nuts
Cheese (Swiss, Cheddar, Feta, etc)
Seasonings (Salt, Pepper, etc)
Peppers (Red, Yellow, Green)

Grilled Chicken Quinoa Salad

Delicious and simple grilled chicken and quinoa salad:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup corn, 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded grilled chicken
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 tbsp or more white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2-4 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • cilantro for garnish

As with all salads, mix together well for the biggest punch!

I love having my chicken charred a bit for this because it adds that wonderfully smoky flavor to it!


Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad

Among one of the favorite salads in restaurants is the southwest grilled chicken salad. There are many ways to make it, and I always love going to restaurant pages and looking at what they put in their food to see new ideas. For instance the restaurant Red Robin states on their website:

"Ancho-grilled chicken breast, avocado slices and fresh-fried jalapeƱo coins dance on top of crisp greens tossed in salsa-ranch dressing. Finished with diced red and green bell peppers and onions, black beans, roasted corn, Cheddar cheese and crunchy tortilla strips."

Sounds good to me, and since it is a salad it is pretty easy to throw together without measuring - especially because everyone likes something more than others and you can easily improvise!

Explore on your own!

The imagination is your only limitation! However, if your imagination is a limitation for you, you should consider going to restaurant websites and reading descriptions of their specialty salads. Because salads are so simple and the only real cooking is the chicken (or other meat), even beginner cooks are able to whip up something that can impress! Have fun exploring the healthy and delicious grilled chicken salad!


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    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      You are right. Chicken is very versatile. There is something amazing about chicken, greens, and salad dressing. One of my favorites to add in is quinoa. I don't know what it is about adding quinoa with chicken, but you can throw it into any salad made for me. I enjoyed reading your recipe and ideas for salad ingredients. Thanks.