Grilled Chicken Salad – Iowa Girl Eats

Grilled Chicken Salad is fresh, healthy, and packed with smokey grilled flavor! Sizzle up this satisfying, summery salad recipe tonight.

Two exciting pieces of news to share!

  • My Dad wrote a children’s book! Do I Eat Donuts, Papa? tells the story of him and his grandson (my nephew, Finn) talking through his food allergies. Reassuring him that, although there are foods that can make him sick, like peanuts, eggs, and dairy, there are still foods and treats he can safely enjoy. It is SO so cute, and we are very proud. The illustrator did a fabulous job making the characters look exactly like Finn and my Dad, and there are several special, personal touches inside the pages. If you or your family have children living with food allergies, he’d be so grateful for your order and honest review. Too cool!
  • IGE got a facelift! This week we launched a new homepage design that I’m so thrilled with. The homepage content will change with the seasons and holidays so you’ll always have fresh new recipes and ideas to try, which I’m very excited about. My favorite part is the “Seasonal Favorites” section where you can tick through my favorite seasonal recipes. Would love if you checked it out!

In less exciting though delicious news, I made you a Grilled Chicken Salad that’s so good I want to cry. This dish is summer on a platter! It has been blazing hot + humid here (my favorite 👅) and smokey grilled chicken over cold, crisp salad is exactly what I want to eat when the weather heats up. It’s fresh, gorgeous, and highlights some of summer’s best ingredients. Plus it’s dressed in my spoon drink-worthy, 4 ingredient (plus S&P!) Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette. Grab your utensils!

Overhead photo of a grilled chicken salad

Pesto slathered chicken is grilled then sliced and placed over mixed greens with charred sweet corn, grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, and diced avocado. Drizzled with that simple, aforementioned Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette – it is HEAVENLY. Ben’s not a huge salad guy but he took one look at this platter and slurped back some drool. Sorry.

I grilled the chicken on a charcoal grill and gosh, there’s just nothing like the smokey flavor a charcoal grill lends an ingredient. That said, you can use either your charcoal or gas grill to make this awesome, entree salad.

Tips for Grilling Chicken Breasts:

  1. Just like sauteing chicken in a skillet on the stovetop, be sure to pound chicken breasts to an even thickness before grilling to ensure even cooking. I place chicken breasts on a cutting board then cover with saran wrap and use a meat mallet to pound them to an even thickness. Takes like, 5 seconds.
  2. Chicken has a tendency to stick to grill grates so spray both sides of the chicken breasts with nonstick spray before placing on the grill. Don’t spray one side, place it on the grill, then spray the top, as the nonstick spray can cause flare ups. Keep your fingers, people!
  3.  I heat my grill to at least 400 degrees before adding the chicken. Flip when you can see the chicken turning opaque up the sides (check out the photo below to see what I mean.)
  4. Like any other meat, let the chicken breasts rest off the heat for at least 5 minutes before slicing to ensure all the juices don’t run out.

PS: any interest in a “How To Cook on a Charcoal Grill” post??

Close up of ingredients in a fresh salad

How to Make This Recipe:

Start by preheating your grill to 400 degrees. For a gas grill that’s medium-high for 8-10 minutes.

Grilled Chicken Salad - Iowa Girl Eats

While the grill is heating up, place 2 chicken breasts that have been pounded to an even thickness inside a large Ziplock bag with 1/4 cup prepared pesto. Here’s my faaaavorite small batch pesto recipe, otherwise look for a locally made fresh pesto vs the jarred stuff.

When the grill is hot, spray both sides of the chicken breasts with nonstick spray then place on the hot grates and grill until you can see the chicken turning opaque up the sides. For me, this is the best indicator of when the chicken is ready to be turned.

Grilled Chicken Salad - Iowa Girl Eats

Flip then cook until the chicken is…

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