Feb 11, 2020
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
This Chicken Caprese Salad recipe is loaded with everything you crave for a healthy and filling meal.
It’s easy to assemble and prep ahead for a few days, and all it requires are some of your favorite salad staple ingredients.
Best Chicken 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:
Chicken Caprese Salad Ingredients
This chicken Caprese salad is made with simple and fresh ingredients you already add to your shopping list on a regular.
Here’s what you need to prep this delicious salad:
- Romaine lettuce: a fresh and crispy base for this salad.
- Cooked chicken: whether you cook chicken pieces in a pan, use leftover baked chicken breasts from dinner, or buy a rotisserie chicken at the store, it all works!
- Grape tomatoes: or cherry tomatoes, both are super juicy! You can also use Roma or other tomatoes and cut them into smaller pieces.
- Mozzarella balls: mozzarella cubes or any other cheese also work!
- Fresh basil: what’s a Caprese salad without basil? I recommend fresh leaves since it adds more flavor than dried basil.
- Black olives: a great salad addition for more nutrition and flavor! Make sure to use pitted olives.
- Avocado: add it at the very last minute, especially if you’re making this ahead of time. You can also use homemade guacamole instead.
- Balsamic vinaigrette: an epic dressing to drizzle over the salad. Make your own (linked in the recipe card) or purchase your favorite brand.
You’ll find the ingredient measurements right below in the recipe card.
How to Make Chicken Caprese Salad
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.
- 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.
- 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
Best Tomatoes for Chicken Caprese Salad
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.
What Dressing to Use
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.
I love packing hearty salads like this for my work lunches! If you find yourself spending too much on lunches out or you simply want to break yourself out of a lunch rut, then grab a copy of my 101 Packed Lunches book, below. You’ll never have to eat a boring lunch ever again.
101 Packed Lunches eBook
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
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
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.
Curious how you stop the avocado going brown if you make ahead?
Whenever I prep this salad ahead, I don’t add the avocado until just before serving.
YUM this chicken caprese salad is nothing short of amazing.
This chicken caprese salad version was a winner! I meal prepped it for the week and put the dressing in containers like you suggested. Thanks!
I’m glad this was a success for you Jenna!