How does grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and basil, drizzled with homemade balsamic dressing, sound?
This isn’t the traditional Caprese salad, but it’s no less delicious and loaded with everything you could want in a deliciously filling lunch.
Best Caprese Salad With Lettuce
Originally, Caprese salad is composed of sliced whole milk Mozzarella, summer tomatoes (usually heirlooms), basil leaves, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil- the good stuff.
It’s simple, no-frills, and SO GOOD on a hot summer day. This salad has all of that and more! Add cooked chicken, black olives, avocado, crispy Romaine lettuce, and you’ve got yourself a super filling meal.
Today’s Chicken Caprese Salad is perfect for a light lunch, and it’s easy to meal prep and make it ahead. You can see how this recipe comes together quickly in the video below:
Like most of my meal prep recipes, this one comes together quickly with basic ingredients- I guess that’s why they’re apart of my meal plan. I do encourage using leftover grilled or baked chicken from a previous dinner and making the dressing ahead of time; that way, this comes together in a matter of minutes.
1. Chop some lettuce
Romaine, Iceberg, or if you want greens, arugula would make a killer base. Toss them into a bowl or your favorite meal prep container.
Top the lettuce with chicken, tomatoes, cheese, black olives, avocado, and chopped basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and toss to combine.
3. Grab a fork
You know what comes next- dig in!
If you do plan to pack this for lunch, don’t toss the salad with the dressing just yet! Instead, pack it into a sauce container and drizzle over the salad just before eating.
Make next: Caprese Sandwich
Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and More!
Now, since we are making a salad for the office and something you can feel good about serving to your kids’ lunchbox, there are a few changes.
Instead of thick slabs of Mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, we’re going with:
- Chopped Romaine
- Grilled chicken
- Cherry tomatoes
- Baby Mozzarella balls
- Fresh basil
- Black olives
If you’ve never seen or heard of baby Mozzarella balls, you can find it in the deli section of the grocery store. It’s literally pearls of fresh Mozzarella, and kids seem to LOVE them! I thought they’d be appropriate for this kid-friendly recipe, and I’m always down for cheese of any kind.
Okay, this is the part where I make an Italian grandmother mad…
A major component of Caprese Salad is the tomatoes. Most people (Italian grandmothers and Caprese Salad connoisseurs) swear by seasonal varieties such as heirlooms and Romas, but I find cherry tomatoes are a great swap.
So, unless you have a garden full of tomato plants, cherry tomatoes are easy to find and compared to the grocery store tomatoes, much tastier.
How to make the balsamic vinaigrette
This homemade balsamic vinaigrette is THE BEST way to enjoy this Chicken Caprese Salad. It’s tangy, slightly acidic, and brings out all the best flavors of the basil, tomatoes, and cheese.
To make this vinaigrette, you’ll need:
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Dijon mustard
- Black pepper
1. Grab a jar
Seriously, grab a jar with lid, if you don’t have one, a medium bowl will work fine.
2. Add the ingredients
Combine the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, salt, and black pepper.
3. Shake or whisk
Seal the jar with the lid and shake to combine. If using a bowl, whisk until the dressing is fully combined. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
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Healthy Salad Lunch Recipes
If you’re here, then you’re most likely on the lookout for some healthy and fresh lunch options you can pack to work or prep ahead. I got you fam! Below are some more delicious and crave-able salad and power bowl recipes that won’t sabotage your wallet or health goals.
- Farro Chicken Bowls
- Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Salmon Nicoise Salad
- Salsa Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Santa Fe Chicken Salad
- Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups
- More Lunch Salads