Grilled Chicken Salad

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A simple summer lunch. Grill extra chicken and vegetables and have these salads all week long!

Grilled Chicken Salad

There is much to love about a grilled simple chicken salad. This salad is a meal all of its own, with a good helping of grilled chicken, juicy grilled corn, creamy avocado, and a smoky and slightly spicy dressing flavored with grilled jalapeños. The dressing is very simple and you will use half of it to marinate the chicken before grilling it, then the rest to dress the salad.

Even though this salad can be a whole meal, you might want to serve it with some Grilled Pizzas or summery Corn and Zucchini Fritters. And for dessert, try throwing some pineapple on the grill and serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You might also want to switch it up with Grilled Shrimp Salad, a seafood alternative to this dish.

Colorful Grilled Chicken Salad in a white bowl.

Grilled Chicken Salad: A simple summer lunch. Grill extra chicken and vegetables and have these salads all week long!

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Grilled Chicken Salad Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • Extra virgin olive oil – Since half of this marinade is used to dress the salad, don’t skimp on good olive oil.
  • Lime juice – You can feel free to swap in lemon juice for the lime.
  • Onion – Another member of the onion family, like shallots or scallions, would also be great.
  • Garlic – Mince it finely for the most garlic flavor.
  • Fresh oregano or thyme – Whichever delightful herby flavor you prefer.

For the salad:

  • Chicken breasts – Boneless, skinless breasts are my preferred cut of chicken for grilling.
  • Corn – The corn gets grilled on the cob, then sliced off so the kernels can flavor every bite of salad. Try and get some nice browning on the kernels, which adds sweetness and eye appeal to this salad.
  • Jalapeños – They add wonderful smoky heat, but with the seeds removed they won’t blow the roof off spicy-wise. Leave the seeds in for more heat.
  • Bibb lettuce – Tear the soft lettuce, rather than cutting it, to avoid damaging the leaves.Other lettuces can be subbed in, alone or in combination.
  • Tomatoes – You can use halved cherry tomatoes in place of the larger chunks of tomatoes if you wish.
  • Red onion – Halved and very thinly sliced.
  • Avocados – Adds buttery flavor and smooth texture. You can dice or slice it.
  • Feta cheese – Adds a salty kick. Also try goat cheese.
Small bowl and a large bowl of Grilled Chicken Salad.

Grilling Chicken for Grilled Chicken Salad

I like grilled chicken breasts in salads, but you could use thighs. You can grill your chicken on a grill, whether gas, charcoal, or pellet. You can also use a grill pan, or if you have an indoor grill or panini machine, that works perfectly, too. And there is no reason you can’t make this salad with chicken cooked in a regular pan – you won’t have the pretty grill marks, but the chicken will still be moist, flavorful, and delicious.

Also see 10 Things to Do To Get Your Grill Ready for Summer!

How to Make Grilled Chicken Salad

  1. Make the marinade: Combine all the marinade ingredients and mix well. Set aside half of the marinade — this will be the dressing for your salad later. Use the remaining half to coat your chicken and peppers, then refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors soak in.
  2. Grill: Preheat the grill to high or hot. Remove the chicken and peppers from the marinade and grill. Grill the corn alongside the chicken. Each ingredient will take a different amount of time on the grill, but cook them all until beginning to char. Let the jalapenos blister up and char as you turn them on the hot grill.
  3. Finish the dressing: Peel, seed, and chop the jalapenos then add to the reserved dressing.
  4. Assemble: Slice the grilled chicken breasts. Toss the lettuce with some of the dressing, then place it in your serving bowl, arranging the chicken attractively alongside all the other salad ingredients. Pour any remaining dressing over the finished salad, and serve!
Two small bowls and one large bowl of Grilled Chicken Salad.

Variations

Make Ahead Grilled Chicken Salad

This salad is a great option for cooking ahead of time. Whenever you have the grill fired up, no matter what you’re making, just throw on some chicken, corn, and jalapeños. You can keep the grilled chicken and vegetables in your fridge for up to a couple days. When the time comes, just throw everything together with the lettuce, and add the dressing at the last minute. If you grill ahead of time, this meal could come together in just 10 minutes!

Two small bowls of Grilled Chicken Salad.

What to Serve With Grilled Chicken Salad

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5 from 1 vote

Grilled Chicken Salad

A simple summer lunch. Grill extra chicken and vegetables and have these salads all week long!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 6 People
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Equipment

Ingredients 

For the Marinade:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 medium onion (minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

For the Salad:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 ears corn (shucked)
  • 3 jalapeño peppers (optional)
  • 2 large heads bibb lettuce (torn into bite-sized pieces)
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes (cored and cut into chunks)
  • 1 red onion (halved and very thinly sliced)
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup diced or sliced feta cheese
  • Herbs sprigs (to garnish; thyme or oregano)

Instructions 

  • Make the marinade: In a container large enough to hold the chicken breasts, combine the olive oil, lime juice, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour half of the marinade into a cup or small container and refrigerate, covered, while you finish the salad. Add the chicken and the jalapeño peppers, turn to coat the chicken and peppers well, and refrigerate, covered, for about 3 hours.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high. Remove the chicken and the peppers from the marinade. Add the corn to the grill along with the chicken and peppers, and grill for about 6 to 12 minutes in total (the peppers will take about 6, the corn 8 to 10 minutes, and the chicken 10 to 12 minutes), turning the corn, chicken, and peppers frequently as they develop grill marks. Remove from the grill when until the chicken is cooked through, the corn has nice brown char marks in spots, and the peppers are softened and have char marks all over the outside. Remove the chicken, corn and peppers to a plate and allow to cool to just warm or room temperature.
  • Peel the jalapeño peppers (if using), discard the core, seeds, and inner ribs, mince the peppers, then add them to the reserved dressing. Stir or shake to combine. Slice the kernels from the corn cobs.
  • Assemble the salad: Slice the chicken breasts crosswise. In a large bowl toss the lettuce with half of the reserved dressing, then place it on a large shallow serving bowl or platter. Peel and thinly slice the avocados. Arrange the chicken, avocados, tomatoes, corn, onions, and feta attractively over the salad. Or, you can divide the ingredients between 6 plates, if you’re going restaurant-style. Drizzle over as much of the rest of the dressing as you like.

Notes

The jalapeños are optional, but if you have the grill going they will cook at the same time as the corn and chicken. They will blister up and char as you turn them. Then, once they are cool, they can be peeled seeded and diced and minced, then added to the reserved dressing. They add wonderful smoky heat, but with the seeds, removed they won’t blow the roof off spicy-wise. If you love hot pepper heat, leave a bit of the seeds in!

Nutrition

Calories: 459kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 21g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 184mg, Potassium: 1073mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 2033IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 2mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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