This fresh veggie chicken salad is simple and delicious. It's made with raw and blanched vegetables that are topped with a juicy marinated chicken breast. To finish, a lemon mustard vinaigrette is drizzled over top. You'll love this veggie chicken salad recipe.Jump to Recipe
- About The Veggie Chicken Salad
- Make The Veggie Chicken Salad Vegan
- The Ingredients To Make Veggie Chicken Salad
- Common Substitutes
- Use Seasonal Ingredients Any Time of The Year
- How The Veggie Chicken Salad Is Made
- How To Blanch Vegetables
- Meal Prep The Veggie Chicken Salad
- Storing The Veggie Chicken Salad
- More Healthy Recipes You Should Try
- Healthy Veggie Chicken Salad
About The Veggie Chicken Salad
Mix and match whatever vegetables you love and have on hand. Don't let this set of ingredients limit you. This recipe is meant to be a healthy, guilt free meal you can eat any time. Only a few substitutes need to be made for this recipe to be vegan. Did I mention it’s also gluten free too? Don’t let any special diets stop you from enjoying this beautiful salad.
Making the salad is easy. Most of the time is spent prepping the vegetables which takes about 20 minutes. The chicken can be grilled while you're doing this. It doesn't take much time at all after it's been marinated.
To make the veggie chicken salad you'll need a 2 bowls. One large bowl will be used to place your ingredients and the other will be used to fill with ice water for blanching. You will also need a pot to boil water, a container to marinate your chicken in, and a cutting board.
Make The Veggie Chicken Salad Vegan
This recipe is extremely versatile and can fit the needs of many. If you are vegan or vegetarian don't click away so fast. You can simply make this a vegan chicken salad or a vegetarian chicken salad by substituting the chicken for something else or you can omit it completely. Also omit the Italian dressing and feta cheese.
Some vegan chicken substitutes contain: chickpeas, tofu, cauliflower, tempeh, seitan, or even a vegetarian chicken which can be found in the freezer section of big stores. In this recipe, we use italian dressing to marinate the chicken. Italian dressing is typically not vegan since it's commonly made with cheese and egg. On the other hand, consider doubling the lemon mustard dressing recipe and use half to soak your chickpeas, tofu, or whatever you decide to substitute.
In this vegan chicken salad tofu is a great option because it absorbs the flavor of anything you marinate it in. Once done you can easily pan fry until golden and cooked. You'll love this easy vegan chicken salad.
The Ingredients To Make Veggie Chicken Salad
For The Salad
- Asparagus - use fresh and chop into 1 inch pieces
- Peas - choose frozen
- Radishes - sliced
- Almonds - sliced, this adds a nice crunch with each bite
- Savory and basil - use fresh
- Feta - omit if you're making this vegan
- Zest from a lemon - you do not want to miss this step, it makes this salad so bright
For The Chicken
- Chicken breasts - boneless and skinless
- Italian dressing - because it’s such an easy marinade and has so much flavor
For The Lemon Mustard Dressing
- Olive oil - use a high quality olive oil for the best flavor
- Lemon juice - use a real lemon and don’t take any shortcuts for the best results
- Whole grain mustard - mustard seeds are combined with vinegar, oil, salt, white wine and more. It’s so good!
- Maple syrup - the real stuff, not maple flavored syrup
- Chicken - If you want to make this vegan or vegetarian, read above on tips for doing so. If you want to take a shortcut and don't want to marinate overnight, consider using shredded chicken from a rotisserie instead.
- Italian Dressing - Don’t feel like you have to get Italian dressing for this recipe. Typically most people have this on hand because it adds flavor to pasta, makes salad taste so much better, and can be used to marinate meat! However, if you have a go to chicken marinade that you would rather use, do that instead. This is simply a quick alternative to creating your own marinade.
- Whole grain mustard - This is a type of mustard that leaves the mustards seeds whole. I think it brings a beautiful touch to the dish but it can be more expensive and sometimes hard to find. Instead of using this I recommend substituting dijon mustard. The flavor is very similar since they’re both made with white wine and it will taste just as good.
Use Seasonal Ingredients Any Time of The Year
Cooking with seasonal ingredients is something I love doing. When you use seasonal vegetables you get better quality, bigger, and more flavorful food. A lot of times it’s more nutritious to cook seasonally. So what does that mean for this veggie chicken salad? Well a lot of things. The main ingredients, peas, asparagus, radish, and spinach are mostly spring vegetables. Fortunately, we can find these ingredients all year round, but I would love to challenge you to substitute one or more ingredients from the season you’re currently making this if it’s not spring.
Below I’ve listed some vegetables by season that would go great in this veggie chicken salad. These are just a few ideas on how you can make this veggie chicken salad versatile and mix things up a bit based on what you have in your fridge and what’s available at your local market.
- Summer squash
- Bell peppers
- Brussel sprouts
It’s important to keep in mind that few of the vegetables above are not good raw. You may want to blanch or roast them before adding them to the chicken vegetable salad for the best results. Research the boiling times for each vegetable before adding them to the salad so you make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. It would be unpleasant to bite into a rock hard beet.
How The Veggie Chicken Salad Is Made
Step 1: Making the veggie chicken salad is easy. If you plan on marinating your chicken, do so the night before for the best results. This will ensure that your chicken absorbs all of the flavor. This is necessary since it will in fact be the star of your salad. Use your own marinade or add italian dressing to a bag or container with the chicken breasts and let sit in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it.
Step 2: Prep your salad. Start by blanching your green peas and asparagus. This is optional but may provide a softer texture as opposed to the raw version. Blanch the green peas for 1 minute and the asparagus for 2. Once done, start layering your salad. Place the spinach at the bottom of the salad bowl, top with green peas, asparagus, radishes, almonds, fresh herbs, feta, and lemon zest.
Step 3: Cook the chicken. If grilling, heat your grill over medium to medium high heat. Clean the grates and spray with cooking oil. Add the chicken and grill over medium to medium high heat for around 5-7 minutes on each side. Flip and cook on the other side for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat, set aside and let cool. Once cooled slice and place over the salad.
If pan frying, heat a skillet over medium heat with a touch of olive oil. Add the chicken once it has heated and cook for around 5-7 minutes on each side or until it’s cooked all the way though. Once it’s done cooking remove from heat, set aside and let cool. Once cooled, slice and place on top of the salad.
Step 4: Make the dressing. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, whole grain mustard, and maple syrup. Mix until it’s fully combined. Drizzle over the chicken and the vegetables and serve the veggie chicken salad immediately.
How To Blanch Vegetables
Blanching is simple. It means to cook by placing the vegetables in boiling water, then removing the vegetables after a set time and placing them in ice water to stop the cooking process.
There are many benefits to blanching which includes the following:
- It cleans vegetables
- Enhances and brightens color
- Helps slow vitamin loss
To blanch, start by boiling water with salt. Adding salt enhances the flavor of the vegetables and brings water to a boil quicker. While the water is reaching a boil, prepare a medium or a large bowl with ice water. Set aside.
Place each vegetable into the boiling water separately since they commonly have different cook times. Cook the green peas for 1 minute and the asparagus for 2 minutes. Once done remove and immediately place in the ice bath.
Meal Prep The Veggie Chicken Salad
This salad is so easy to meal prep and take for a school or work lunch. It’s convenient because there’s no need to microwave or reheat the salad. If you decide to meal prep, keep in a sealed container and split into 3-4 portions.
I recommend keeping the dressing in a separate container until you’re ready to eat the salad. Pouring it on may cause the spinach and vegetables to wilt. Give the dressing a good shake or stir before pouring over the veggie chicken salad.
Storing The Veggie Chicken Salad
To store the veggie chicken salad place in a sealed container and put in the fridge for up to a week. Before storing, let the chicken cool completely before sealing in an air tight container with the vegetables.
More Healthy Recipes You Should Try
Healthy Veggie Chicken Salad
- 8 oz fresh asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 6 oz fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
- 1/4 cup roasted unsalted almonds
- 1 tablespoon chopped savory
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- Feta cheese to garnish
- Zest from one lemon
For The Chicken
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup italian dressing
For The Dressing
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- In a sealed container combine the chicken and italian dressing and marinate for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
To Build The Salad
- Optional: Blanch the asparagus for 2 minutes and the green peas for 1 minute before adding to the salad. To build the salad layer spinach, asparagus, peas, sliced radish, almonds, savory, basil, feta and lemon zest.
To Cook The Chicken
- After your chicken has marinated, heat your grill over medium to medium high heat. Clean the grates and spray them with cooking spray to prevent your chicken from sticking. Place the chicken on the grill and cook over medium to medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Flip and repeat until your chicken is cooked through. Once done, let cool and slice into strips. Layer on top of your salad.
- If cooking your chicken on the stove, heat a skillet over medium heat. Once heated add the chicken and cook each side for 5-7 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for 5-7 minutes or until your chicken is cooked through. Once cooked, set aside and let cool. Slice into strips and layer on top of your salad.
For The Dressing
- In a small bowl, add the olive oil, lemon juice, whole grain mustard, and maple syrup. Whisk until well combined. Pour over the salad and chicken and serve immediately.