In the mood for something fresh, light, and full of flavor? This is what you’re looking for. This is not your typical lettuce-y chicken salad. This grilled summer chicken salad is unlike any other and I’m sure you’ll love it too.
It’s light, refreshing and perfect on hot summer days when you don’t want a heavy meal. I can’t wait for you to try this!
Want to learn more about eating the Mediterranean way? Check out Mediterranean Diet For Beginners (Get Started Today!).
Why You’ll Love This Salad
I’ve been making this chicken salad for at least the past 8 years. And I wish I would’ve come up with it sooner!
The fresh vegetables are crisp, the chicken is not processed, and the dressing is light, lemony, and easy to make. Seriously, what’s NOT to love about all that?
Sometimes you just want a cold chicken salad to make ahead and pull out throughout the week. That’s what this summer chicken salad is all about. It’s my make-ahead, light and healthy, feel-good, summer chicken salad.
Another thing I need to mention is that if you’re cooking the chicken specifically for this recipe, you certainly don’t need to wait until the chicken cools to eat it. However, it does taste better after allowing the chicken to chill in the fridge and mix with the dressing for about an hour.
An finally, this recipe can also be a great way to use up any leftover cooked chicken. I’m all for reducing food waste and finding delicious ways to incorporate leftovers.
You can eat this as a main entrée, side dish, light lunch, or brunch. It’s a guilt-free and healthy dish to pass at a summer barbecue or potluck as well. And of course, it’s a heart-healthy recipe that will add so many nutrients without adding excess added sugars or saturated fat.
If the sodium is higher than you’d like, simply omit the salt from the vinaigrette recipe.
Ingredients for Grilled Summer Chicken Salad
The ingredients are fairly simple. You’ll likely have a lot of these things already in your fridge or pantry. I usually have everything on hand with the exception of the artichoke hearts.
For the salad:
- Skinless chicken breast– I like the taste of chicken off the grill here. However, you can use boiled, roasted, poached, or even pan-fried chicken. Leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken is also perfect for this recipe!
- Carrots– I always have bagged baby carrots which come in handy for recipes like this.
- Celery– along with the carrots, this adds some crunch to this cold, summer chicken salad.
- Green onion (scallions)– I love the freshness that green onion adds to this recipe. Add as much or as little as you like.
- Canned artichoke hearts (in water)– I have only used canned artichokes in this recipe. A chicken salad with artichokes may not be the norm but they go beautifully with the other ingredients and are so simple to use since you add them straight from the can.
- Cherry or grape tomatoes– if you’re very particular about your tomatoes like I am, feel free to use whatever kind you like. Home-grown cherry tomatoes are my absolute fav!
- Kalamata olives– yum! these add a pop of salt and heart-healthy fats.
For the vinaigrette:
Pretty basic and oh-so-fresh! I add all ingredients to a small bowl or jar with a tight lid and mix/shake until everything is combined.
- Balsamic vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Dijon mustard
- Sugar substitute (I use Stevia here)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
How To Make Grilled Chicken Summer Salad
It’s as simple as cutting, mixing, and combining. The instructions are simple, despite having two parts: 1) the salad and 2) the vinaigrette.
- First, cook your chicken according to your preference (if you’re not using pre-cooked or leftover chicken). Dice the chicken once it’s cooked and add to a large bowl to cool. If you’re using already cooked chicken, skip this step.
- Then dice all your veggies and add them to the large bowl with the chicken.
- In a small bowl or container with tight-fitting lid, add all of the vinaigrette ingredients. Whisk or shake to combine.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the chicken and vegetable mixture and eat right away or refrigerate for about an hour to allow the flavors to blend.
Pro Tip: Using pre-cooked chicken and pre-cut vegetables will cut back on prep time. Also, feel free to use whole cherry tomatoes or olives if that’s what you prefer. I’m a little picky in that I prefer all the veggies to be cut in uniform pieces throughout this summer chicken salad recipe. Just remember to get olives WITHOUT pits so you don’t break a tooth.
I do not suggest freezing this salad, as it is best eaten fresh. Once you freeze the fresh ingredients, they will lose their crispness after defrosting and taste soggy.
Yes! It can difficult to find low sodium canned or marinated artichokes. For that reason, if you are following a low-sodium diet, rinse your artichokes thoroughly before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. Draining and rinsing canned vegetables can reduce the sodium amount by 9-23%.
For more healthy recipes, visit the recipe section. Or for some other recipes good enough to share at a summer get-together, try my:
- Best Kale Salad Ever
- Kale Salad With Tahini Dressing
- Healthy Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Pita Chips
- Vegan Egg Salad
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Grilled Chicken Summer Salad
- 2 cups chicken breast meat skinless, cooked and diced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 1 large celery stalk diced
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1 can small artichoke hearts in water drained and chopped into ½” pieces
- ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- 2 Tbsp. kalamata olives pitted, coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove finely minced
- ¼ tsp. sugar substitute (try stevia or monk fruit)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ½ tsp. salt
- Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and pour over salad ingredients. Toss to combine.
- Alternatively, you may shake all vinaigrette ingredients in an air-tight container to mix.
- You may eat this right away or chill for at least an hour and eat cold.
- Use any type of chicken for this recipe- baked, broiled, grilled, boiled. Rotisserie chicken would be super convenient and cut back on cooking time.
- The time allotted in this recipe is based off of using pre-cooked chicken. If using raw chicken, keep in mind the recipe will take longer to prepare.
- Try adding fresh mozzarella or feta cheese for a more “Mediterranean” taste.
- Used plain or marinated canned artichoke hearts.
- Vary the veggies used to come up with your own unique combination.
- This dressing is so delicious and totally makes this dish! It can be used on green salads as well.
Share with me: Have you tried this summer chicken salad with artichoke recipe? Leave me a comment below to let me know what you thought. I love hearing from you!
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Kiran Campbell is a registered dietitian and entrepreneur with 13 years of experience. She has a degree in psychology as well as dietetics. She is also a proud member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and its Cardiovascular Health and Well-being Dietetics Practice Group among others. Kiran proudly presents and promotes the most up-to-date, science-based nutrition information on all things heart-related. She aims to serve not only individuals with heart disease, but also those wanting to protect against it. Learn more about Kiran by visiting her About Page.