February 11, 2020
Everything you crave from a crunchy and filling salad topped with juicy grilled chicken breasts seasoned to perfection.
Best Chicken Caprese Salad With Lettuce
What makes this the best Chicken Caprese salad is the juicy and perfectly seasoned, chicken grilled over fresh vegetables tossed in a deliciously simple vinaigrette.
While traditional Caprese salad is just tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, we’re upping the ante and turning it into a meal by building a green base, topping it with chicken, and if that wasn’t enough, ripe avocado slices.
This no-frills salad is made with simple ingredients available year round you can make it as a full meal rather quickly or assemble some of its parts ahead. More on how to pack it ahead below.
Note: I made the recipe in the video with leftover poached chicken. You can use shredded chicken you have on hand for this recipe, or use the instructions for making blackened chicken below to top your Caprese salad.
Chicken Caprese Salad Ingredients
This chicken Caprese salad is made with simple and fresh ingredients you already add to your shopping list on the regular.
Here’s what you need to prep this delicious salad:
- Romaine lettuce: a fresh and crispy base for this salad.
- Chicken: for this recipe, you’ll cook the chicken pieces in a pan, but you can also use leftover baked chicken breasts from dinner or cooked chicken from a rotisserie.
- Blackened seasoning: used in this recipe to turn your grilled chicken breasts into epic seasoned chicken.
- Tomatoes: grape, cherry, fresh heirloom, or Roma tomatoes as long as they’re juicy and in season where you are!
- Mozzarella balls: also known as bocconcini, mini-mozzarella balls, diced or cubed will also work.
- Fresh basil: what’s a Caprese salad without basil? I recommend fresh leaves since it adds more flavor than dried basil.
- Avocado: add it at the very last minute, especially if you’re making this ahead of time. You can also use homemade guacamole instead.
- Vinaigrette: I included a white wine vinaigrette as the epic dressing to drizzle over the salad. Use the recipe below or your favorite brand.
You’ll find the ingredient measurements right below in the recipe card.
How to Make Chicken Caprese Salad
This salad is very filling and can be a stand-alone meal, which I often make for dinner served with some rustic bread. Some of these steps can be made ahead so when dinnertime hits, all you have to do is assemble.
This Chicken Caprese Salad is a 3-part recipe:
- Make the vinaigrette:
If you’re making the white wine vinaigrette in the recipe or my Balsamic vinaigrette, make the dressing and refrigerate it for up to a week.
- Cook the chicken
Season the chicken breasts and cook them. Remove them from the pan onto a plate. Wait to slice them until you’re ready to plate the salad.
- Assemble the salad
Build the salad base in one large salad bowl or four individual plates. Top with the other salad ingredients and at the end, slice the chicken and place it on top.
- Drizzle the dressing
Before serving, drizzle ½ cup of the vinaigrette over the large salad bowl or about 2 tablespoons per serving. Toss to combine and enjoy.
Best Tomatoes for Chicken Caprese Salad
A major component of a Caprese Salad is the tomatoes, and while the traditional Caprese salad uses heirlooms, steak tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes, grape and cherry tomatoes can also be used since they are sweet and available year-round.
What Dressing to Use
A salad that has a lot of toppings and textures like this Chicken Caprese Salad recipe pairs great with vinaigrettes like citrus vinaigrettes, a maple dijon vinaigrette, red wine vinaigrette, Champagne vinaigrette, or a Balsamic vinaigrette. Their acidic base balances out the sweetness from the other ingredients, like tomatoes, cheese, and avocado.
How to keep grilled chicken salad leftovers
Leftovers make a terrific healthy office lunch the next day. The key to keeping grilled chicken salad leftovers fresh is not to toss the lettuce with the salad dressing; only drizzle what you need onto each plate. This way, you can save leftovers in a meal prep container, the vinaigrette in a small dressing container, which you’ll drizzle over the salad just before eating.
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All my best lunches from over a decade of creating meal plans. Add some variety to your office lunches with these epic recipes, plus receive my Pack Meals Like a Pro ebook, free with purchase!
Healthy Salad Lunch Recipes
Salads make terrific healthy lunch meals since you can prep them ahead and enjoy them for a couple of days as long as you keep the dressing separate, of course!
Chicken Caprese Salad with Avocado
White wine or champagne vinaigrette:
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- ¼ cup champagne or white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the Salad:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 ½ teaspoons blackened seasoning
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 1 large head of romaine, washed and chopped
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¾ cup bocconcini mini mozzarella, halved
- ¼ cup basil shreds
Make the salad dressing:
- Place all the vinaigrette ingredients, except the olive oil inside a blender. Blend until smooth.
- With the blender running, slowly pour the olive oil into blender jar, until it’s emulsified -once it looks creamy. Alternatively, you can finely chop the garlic clove and simply combine all the ingredients inside a mason jar and shake venously.
- Transfer the salad dressing into a salad dressing container or pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to a week.
Cook the chicken:
- On a flat surface, pat dry the chicken breasts. Distribute the seasoning on both sides of the chicken breasts.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, melt the butter. Place the chicken breasts on the pan and cook the first side for 7 minutes. Flip the chicken breasts over and cook for another 7 minutes on the other side, until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Cooking time on the second side will vary by the thickness of the thicken breast. Once cooked, transfer the chicken from the pan onto a board and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. This helps retain the chicken juices.
Assemble the salad:
- In a large salad bowl, make a base with the chopped Romaine. Top it with cherry tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls, sliced avocados, and sliced chicken breasts.
- Drizzle ½ cup salad dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Add more salad dressing if desired.
Meal prep this salad:
- Layer all the salad ingredients inside 4 meal prep containers except for the sliced avocado. Pack about 2 tablespoons of salad dressing inside four small, lidded containers. The morning of, slice ¼ of an avocado and in top of the salad. Drizzle salad dressing right before enjoying it for lunch.