By Ashley Roe, Contributing Writer
Summer means longer days and fun in the sun. So slaving over a hot stove to cook dinner when it’s already warm outside doesn’t sound too appealing. There are a number of ways to have easy meals that don’t require a hot stove like using a crock-pot, grilling or meals that don’t require any cooking.
One of my favorite meals to make on days that I don’t want to do a lot of cooking or when it’s too warm outside is salad made with grilled chicken breast. I love how easy it is to throw a good meal together with just a few ingredients that I often have on hand anyway. It’s also a great way to use up leftover chicken or to make extra for this purpose.
How to Prepare the Chicken
I think the best way to make chicken for salad is to grill it but you could also broil it in the oven or use an electric grill. To prepare, just spread a little olive oil on each side of the chicken breast pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then cook using whichever method you choose.
You can use other seasonings as well, just be sure to think about how it will go on the type of salad you decide to make. For example, spicy chicken wouldn’t go so well with more delicate flavors like a strawberry spinach salad but would be great for making a chicken taco salad.
If you’re not sure what you will do with all the chicken you cook or don’t want to think about adding other flavors, just stick with salt and pepper.
Five Simple Summer Salads
Now that you have your chicken ready, it’s time to throw a salad together. Here’s some ideas based on the kinds of salad I like to make. These aren’t true recipes, just ideas for you to try. Feel free to add as much or as little of each ingredient as you like or change it up to make your own!
Strawberry Spinach Salad
I first remember having strawberry spinach salad made by my mom but I never tried it with chicken until ordering it at a restaurant. Now it’s one of my favorite salads to make. I’ve also made a similar salad with other fruits like orange segments, pineapple, cherries and/or blueberries.
Ingredients: spinach, crisp cooked bacon – crumbled, feta cheese, sliced strawberries, toasted almond slices, chicken, poppyseed dressing.
I actually started making this salad based off of a recipe on the back of a bag of croutons. I don’t think it originally had chicken but it is a good addition to the other ingredients in the salad.
Ingredients: romaine lettuce, crisp cooked bacon – crumbled, fresh sliced cherry or grape tomatoes (can also use larger tomatoes, just seed and dice into small chunks), shredded cheddar cheese, ranch dressing
Cobb salad is a classic! It’s also another one of my favorites that I often order when eating out and want a salad.
Ingredients: romaine lettuce, crisp cooked bacon – crumbled, diced avocado, sliced hard boiled egg, fresh sliced cherry or grape tomatoes (can also use larger tomatoes, just seed and dice into small chunks) chicken, dressing (creamy herb, ranch or blue cheese), blue cheese crumbles
Sundried Tomato Salad
This salad I threw together after picking up a bottle of sundried tomato dressing on a trip to Earth Fare one day. It sounded good and so I picked up a few things that I thought would go with it. It turned out great and so it’s another salad on the list.
Ingredients: kale and spinach blend, fresh sliced cherry or grape tomatoes (can also use larger tomatoes, just seed and dice into small chunks), feta cheese, sundried tomato dressing, avocado, chicken
Grilled Chicken Cesar Salad
I have my husband to thank for this one! I never would have thought I liked Cesar salad but after trying his homemade dressing, I have grown to love it. It tastes great as a plain Cesar salad but adding grilled chicken to make it a meal is even more delicious!
Ingredients: romaine lettuce, freshly grated parmesan cheese, croutons, freshly ground black pepper, chicken, Cesar dressing
More Salad Inspiration
Looking for more salad inspiration? Check out these links for more ideas:
- 10 Real Food Salad Dressings
- Probiotic Ranch Dressing
- Greek Salad Dressing
- Creamy Poppyseed Dressing
- Blue Cheese Dressing
- Simple Mustard Vinaigrette
- Red Raspberry Salad Dressing
- Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing
- Barbecue Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad
- Mexican Chopped Salad
- Avocado Caprese Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Buffalo Chicken and Bacon Ranch Salad
- Blueberry Chicken Chopped Salad
- Grilled Pineapple, Avocado and Chicken Salad
- Southwestern Salad
- Chicken Taco Salad
- Apple Walnut Kale Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette
- Chopped Power Salad with Creamy Parsley Dressing
- Color Burst Salad with Asian-Style Vinaigrette
- Grilled Citrus Chicken Salad
- Ultimate Chef Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
- Strawberry, Cucumber, and Melon Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
- Chopped Taco Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing
- Romaine Salad with Chicken, Cheddar, Apples, Spiced Pecans and Cranberry Vinaigrette
- Spinach Strawberry Salad with Homemade Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing