Chicken Chopped Salad
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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!!
Best Chicken Chopped Salad Recipe
When you’re in need of a great tasting salad with juicy chicken, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, bell peppers, and creamy avocado over a bed of mixed greens, this recipe is just what you need.
The oven-baked chicken is so tender, juicy, and ready in 15 minutes. I love grilled chicken and you can make the chicken on the grill, but for those of you without one, or who don’t want to grill, it’s perfect in the oven.
While the chicken bakes, chop your veggies, and if you want to incorporate my one-minute-shake-together honey apple cider vinaigrette, go for it.
It’s light but packs a ton of sweet-and-sour flavor. Otherwise your favorite store bought dressing is just fine.
Ingredients in Chicken Chopped Salad
It should go without saying, but salad recipes are inherently super flexible and you should incorporate what you have on hand and enjoy.
For the Chicken:
- Chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Brown sugar
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper, optional but recommended
For The Salad:
- Mixed greens
- Yellow bell peppers
For the Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Mustard (either dijon or honey mustard)
- Salt and pepper
Making Oven-Baked Chicken
This easy oven-baked chicken is adapted from my Perfect 20-Minute Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts recipe. I made 1 1/2 pounds of chicken in this recipe versus 3 pounds in the other recipe so the dry rub ingredients are roughly halved.
Simply add the chicken breasts to a foil-lined baking sheet for easier and pound them to a uniform thickness.
The reason for pounding is that chicken breasts are thicker in the middle and thinner on the edges and if you don’t pound them, the edges will become dry and can burn before the center is cooked through.
Additionally, the pounding helps to tenderize the protein.
Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, seasonly generously with salt and pepper, and then add a dry rub which is the mixture of brown sugar, chili power, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and optional cayenne, to both sides.
Bake it and then let it rest before slicing into it. Resting it is essential so the juices stay in the chicken and that they don’t run off onto your baking sheet.
Versatile Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette
This vinaigrette is one of my favorites, adapted from this Apple White Cheddar Spinach Salad which is a fall favorite.
This is optional, you can always use whatever vinaigrette or salad dressing you have on hand. But if you want to be extra about things, here you go. And it’s not even really extra because you shake this up in one singular minute.
Simple combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar or container with a lid (a canning jar works great here) and shake it up until combined.
Because vinaigrettes and salad dressings are so personal based on personal taste preferences, don’t be afraid to add more or less oil, vinegar, honey, salt, etc. than I did.
Taste it and if it tastes at all flat, you likely need more salt. And from there, it will come down to if you want it sweeter, add more honey or a pinch of sugar. If you want it more acidic with more bite, add more vinegar.
It’s such a versatile vinaigrette for a wide variety of salads and you can use is as a chicken marinade.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 2 large breasts)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1 to 1.5 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- 10 ounces fresh lettuce (I used a bagged greens mixture with cabbage and shredded carrots)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (I used halved cherry tomatoes; use Roma, regular, or your favorite tomatoes)
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium bell pepper, seeded and diced or sliced into bite-sized pieces (I used yellow; any color is fine)
- 1 medium ripe avocado, diced or sliced into bite-sized pieces
- croutons, optional and to taste
Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette (optional or use store bought)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons mustard (I prefer dijon but honey mustard will work)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Chicken - Preheat oven to 425F (use convection if you have it) and line a baking sheet with foil (optional but highly recommended, see Notes below)) for easier cleanup.
- Place the chicken on the baking sheet, and pound to an even thickness. I use an empty wine bottle, but a meat pounder or tenderizing tool, a rolling pin, or a heavy frying pan all work. The chicken doesn't need to be pounded 'thin', but it needs to be of pounded to a uniform thickness so it all cooks through at the same time.
- Evenly drizzle the chicken with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper; set aside.
- To a small bowl, add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and evenly spoon the dry rub over the chicken on both sides. I add a bit more to the side that's facing up than the side that's on the bottom in contact with the baking sheet.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (165F) and done. Allow chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into it (cover with foil if desired to keep it warmer). Resting the chicken really helps lock in the juices and moisture so don't skip this step. Extra chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- Salad - While chicken bakes, to a large platter or bowl, add the lettuce, and chop the vegetables and add them to the bowl, and optionally add the croutons.
- When chicken is done resting, slice it and add it to the bowl. Make sure to get any run off juices from the sheet pan into the salad bowl because there is a ton of flavor in the juices.
- Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette - To a small jar or container with a lid (a canning jar works great), add all ingredients, put the lid on and shake vigorously until combined; taste vinaigrette and tweak as necessary to taste. If it is at all flat, it likely needs more salt. Alternatively, use your favorite store bought vinaigrette or dressing.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad as desired (you may not need all of it), toss to combine, and serve immediately. If you don’t use all the vinaigrette, extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 746Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 942mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 9gSugar: 31gProtein: 57g
The nutrition information is skewing high because it's taking into account all the dry rub for the chicken and olive oil (some is lost to the sheet pan) as well as all the vinaigrette (you likely won't use all of it).
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