Apple, White Cheddar, & Grilled Chicken Salad — All the flavors just POP in this fast, easy, and healthy salad!! The Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette doubles as marinade + salad dressing to save time!!
Easy Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe
There’s nothing like grilled chicken to add flavor to a salad. The marinade for the chicken and the vinaigrette for this grilled chicken salad are one and the same. I love time savers like this.
It’s light, tangy-yet-sweet from the apple cider vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard gives it a little bite. The best part is you just shake it together in a jar and any extra will keep for a week in the fridge.
There are so many wonderful textures and flavors in every bite of this loaded up salad. It’s filling, satisfying, and healthy. My family raved about it. It’s a spinoff of this Apple, White Cheddar, and Spinach Salad with Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette, which is a reader favorite and the addition of chicken is a great new twist.
There are juicy apples, salty white cheddar cheese, chewy orange-flavored dried cranberries, and almonds for extra crunch.
What’s in Grilled Chicken Salad?
To make this cranberry almond chicken salad, you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Chicken breasts
- White cheddar cheese
- Dried cranberries
How to Make Grilled Chicken Salad
Add the vinaigrette ingredients to a jar and shake to combine. Set aside half the dressing to use over the salad.
Add the other half of the dressing to a zip-top bag, then add the chicken breasts. Seal the bag, toss to coat chicken evenly, and set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
Then, it’s just a matter of grilling the chicken and assembling the grilled chicken and apple cranberry salad!
Do I Have to Grill the Chicken?
Nope! If you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can use a grill pan and achieve the same results.
Can I Prep the Dressing in Advance?
Absolutely! You can make the vinaigrette / marinade in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Tips for Making Grilled Chicken Salad
I used romaine and kale, but you can use spinach or your favorite greens.
Note that all grills, grill pans, and thickness of chicken vary so the cooking time will vary as well. You need to cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Lastly, you MUST discard the marinade after the chicken has rested in it. It’s not safe to drizzle over the salad since raw chicken touched it.
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Honey Apple Cider Marinade and Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup mustard (I like either dijon or honey mustard)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Chicken and Salad
- about 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (I use thinly sliced breasts)
- about 6 cups lettuce (I used romaine and kale; fresh spinach or your favorite greens may be substituted)
- 1 large apple, cored and sliced very thin (try Envy, Gala, Fuji, or similar)
- 1 cup aged white cheddar, crumbled or grated (I used Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar)
- 1/2 cup dried orange-flavored cranberries (I use Trader Joe’s; plain dried cranberries may be substituted)
- 1/2 cup nuts (sliced almonds, candied pecans, spiced walnuts, cashews, etc.)
Marinade and Vinaigrette:
- In a medium glass jar or container with a lid, add all ingredients, put the lid on and shake vigorously until combined; taste and tweak as necessary to taste.
- Set half aside to be used later as a vinaigrette over the salad.
Chicken and Salad:
- Add chicken to a large ziptop plastic bag, add the remaining half of the marinade, seal bag, toss to coat chicken evenly; set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes; I marinated overnight and recommend it if you have time because the chicken turns out so tender and juicy. If marinating longer than 20 to 30 minutes, place bag in the fridge.
- Preheat grill to high heat (or if using a grill pan, heat it over high heat on the stove). Add chicken to grill, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes per side, or as necessary until chicken reaches an internal temp of 165F. All grills, grillpans, and thickness of chicken vary so cooking time will vary. Allow chicken to rest off the heat on a platter while you prep the salad.
- To a large bowl or platter or individual bowls, add the lettuce, apple, cheddar, cranberries, and almonds; set aside.
- Slice the chicken, add to the salad, drizzle reserved vinaigrette over salad as desired, toss to combine, and serve immediately. If you don’t use all the vinaigrette, extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1015Total Fat: 57gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 39gCholesterol: 174mgSodium: 1437mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 7gSugar: 56gProtein: 60g
More Summer Salad Ideas:
Loaded Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing – Fast, easy, fresh and healthy! All your favorite taco flavors in one big kickin’ salad that everyone will love!
Crunchy Peanut Chicken Salad – Crispy fried chicken with crunchy cabbage, carrots, peanuts, cilantro and the EASIEST and BEST homemade peanut sauce that coats every bite!! A salad that you’ll CRAVE over and over!!
Sunflower Chicken Salad – LOADED with juicy chicken, veggies galore, sunflower seeds, and a sunflower seed butter dressing!! EASY, healthy, ready in 15 minutes! A HEARTY and satisfying salad!!
Chicken Chopped Salad – An EASY chopped salad with so much FLAVOR and CRUNCH topped with PERFECT juicy oven-baked chicken that’s ready in 15 minutes!! Homemade honey apple cider vinaigrette adds the finishing touch!!
Thai Peanut Chicken Salad — The salad is easy, ready in 20 minutes, healthy, and packed with so many different flavors and textures. Just looking at it makes me smile because it feels like I’m eating the rainbow.
Pesto Chicken Caprese Salad — Homemade pesto coats every bite of JUICY chicken, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella in this fun twist on caprese salad!! EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and loaded with rich basil flavor!!
Grilled Corn Salad with Chicken — An EASY salad that’s ready in 15 minutes and you won’t be able to stop eating it!! Tender chicken, juicy corn, crisp bell peppers and tomatoes, creamy avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice for the WIN!!