Chicken · Salad

Chopped Chicken Caprese Salad

We’re closing in on the home stretch of the holidays and you know what that means: FEAST!

Candies, cakes, pies, carbs on carbs on carbs. I’m sketching out my holiday cooking now since I need to start way earlier for this blog. I’ve got lists of sugary sweet goodness. Gingerbread. Egg nog. Peppermint. You name it and I’ll make it.

Since we’re going carb-overload for Thanksgiving & Christmas, I need to stay focused on better eating right now. It’s hard when you’re mapping out all of the cookies and pies you’re planning on baking in a few weeks. This keto train will come to a full-tilt stop so I can indulge! You only live once, right?

Sticking with the keto diet this week and next, I decided I needed to circulate some more salads. I haven’t made a good salad in a hot minute. This one hit all the best notes: cheese, marinated chicken, balsamic dressing and fresh herbs. Caprese salad is always so refreshing, especially in the summertime, and it didn’t disappoint this late in the year, either.

Most caprese salad is just fresh sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and a balsamic drizzle. I’m not the biggest fresh tomato fan, so I decided to build the caprese into a more chicken-centric version. There’s still tomatoes in there that give you that sweetness, but more of everything else that’s good in a salad, too.

A grill pan is a must this time of year. Who wants to go out in the cold to grill up some chicken? Not me. I marinated this chicken in a little bit of balsamic vinegar, basil, lemon juice, and dijon mustard—and it was divine. The chicken was so tender and tasty! A quick sear on the grill pan and you have chicken that’s good enough to snack on by itself.

Make sure and get the mini mozzarella pearls to toss into this salad. They’re easier to handle than slicing up a log or ball of fresh mozzarella: all you did is toss them in and go. As for the basil, just give it a rough chop before adding it to the salad. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Sometimes the best foods aren’t the ones that are perfectly sliced and beautiful.

For the salad base, I used a mix of chopped romaine hearts and kale. You can use red leaf lettuce, spinach, or spring mix instead—but I like the crunch of the romaine hearts and the bitterness of the raw kale. They both pair beautifully with the acid in the dressing and chicken!

Chopped Chicken Caprese Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A classic Caprese salad mixed in with chopped salad greens, marinated chicken, tomatoes & avocado.

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 2 TBS. olive oil, plus more for greasing grill pan
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 TBS. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS. dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper

For the salad:

  • 3 cups chopped romaine hearts
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups mozzarella pearls
  • 1 bunch basil, chopped
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Directions

  1. Marinate the chicken: in a small bowl, whisk together oil, basil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt an pepper. Pour over chicken to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for 2-6 hours.
  2. Make the dressing: whisk together oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Grill the chicken: heat a greased grill pan over medium heat. Add chicken and sear for about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan, let cool, and chop into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Make the salad: toss together romaine & kale, mozzarella, basil, avocados and cherry tomatoes. Add chicken and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Marinate the chicken: in a small bowl, whisk together oil, basil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt an pepper. Pour over chicken to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for 2-6 hours.

Make the dressing: whisk together oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside. Grill the chicken: heat a greased grill pan over medium heat. Add chicken and sear for about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan, let cool, and chop into bite-sized pieces.

Make the salad: toss together romaine & kale, mozzarella, basil, avocados and cherry tomatoes.

Add chicken and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.

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2 thoughts on “Chopped Chicken Caprese Salad

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