This Easy Grilled Chicken Breast Salad with Pesto Ranch Dressing is a quick and easy grilled chicken salad recipe. It includes a simple grilled chicken marinade recipe that makes a delicious basic chicken salad recipe and a delicious pesto ranch dressing everyone will love.
This is a perfect grilled chicken breast recipe. It’s just what you need for those summer nights when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen. It’s easy enough for a weekday meal and fancy enough to entertain guests.
If grilled chicken breast salads are your jam, be sure to check out my BLT chicken salad recipe too.
Ingredients in this Easy Grilled Chicken Breast Salad Recipe:
- Chicken Marinade: There are a few things that make the best chicken marinades.
- Oil: I like to use Avocado Oil for this chicken marinade recipe. It has a high smoking point and it doesn’t add a lot of flavors.
- Lemon Juice- Good marinades call for some kind of acidic element- For this recipe, I like to use lemon juice. White vinegar would be another good option. The acidity in the marinade will help break down the muscle fibers and tenderize the chicken.
- Spices and/or seasonings.- I like to use the Good Seasonings Zesty Italian dressing packet in this chicken marinade. It adds a lot of flavor without a lot of calories and is really versatile.
- Avocados: You can use these sliced or in chunks. Be sure to cut up your avocados right before you serve them they are fresh and don't brown.
- Tomatoes: You can use your favorite tomato here. I used some halved cherry tomatoes but a large tomato, cut into chunks would work great too.
- Pepperjack Cheese: My family loves a little spice but you could certainly use some mozzarella cheese here too. For salads, I like to add fresh mozzarella or just slice a few cheese sticks up. That works great too.
- Lettuce: Romain lettuce, butter lettuce--use your favorite variety of lettuce!
- Pesto Ranch Dressing: This is hardly a recipe but still worth sharing. We love this dressing on everything and even just a dip for fresh veggies. To make the pesto ranch dressing, use a 3/1 ratio. (⅓ cup pesto sauce to ⅔ cup ranch dressing) Just mix it up and wa-lah, an incredible ranch dressing variation.
How do you keep chicken moist on the grill?
There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to get really tender, juicy, grilled chicken breasts.
- Tenderize your chicken. It will really make a big difference when grilling your chicken. It's really easy to do and only takes a couple of minutes. You can place the chicken between two sheets of parchment paper and whack it on the thickest part of the chicken breast with a rolling pin or mason jar You can also put it in a gallon ziplock bag and use the flat side of a meat tenderizer. Don't over-pound your meat. A few good whacks will do the trick. Just whack on the thickest part of the breast to help even it out. Your chicken breast will cook a lot more evenly if the meat is a uniform thickness.
- Marinate your chicken. The high PH from the vinegar or lemon juice helps break down the muscle fibers in the chicken and the oil will help keep it moist.
- Don't overcook your chicken. The best way to assure you're not overcooking your chicken is to use a digital meat thermometer. Grill the chicken only until it reaches 165 degrees.
What temperature is chicken breast done?
Chicken breast is done when the internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees F. It’s best to take the chicken off the grill when it reaches 162-163 degrees F.
The chicken will continue to cook after it’s take off the grill. You can take the chicken off the grill, then let sit under foil to cook to a safe internal temp.
How to Make the Best Chicken for Salad:
- Tenderize your meat.
- Marinate your Chicken Breast.
- Cook at a lower heat for longer to keep the chicken breast tender and juicy.
- Cook your chicken breasts on low/medium heat until golden brown 6-7 minutes. Use tongs to flip the breast over and grill for another 6-7 minutes or until golden brown.
- Use a digital meat thermometer. The chicken breast should register 165 degrees F.
- When the chicken is done, place it on a platter with foil over it for 5 minutes to redistribute the juices and to keep the chicken warm and juicy.
Easy Grilled Chicken Breast Salad with Pesto Ranch Dressing
Grilled Chicken Marinade
- 3-4 medium Chicken Breasts plan on 4-6 ounces of chicken per person
- 1 Large Lemon or 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoons Avocado Oil Olive Oil would work too
- 1 Pkg Good seasoning Italian Dressing Mix You can find this int eh salad dressing isle by the ranch packets
Ingredients for Chicken Salad
- 1 large Avocado Cut into ¾" chunks
- 1.5 cup Tomatoes Halved, Cherry Tomatoes or tomatoes cut into ½" chunks
- 1 cup Pepperjack Cheese cut into ½" chunks. Mozzerella chunks work great too
- 10-12 cups Lettuce washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Pesto Ranch Dressing
- 1 cup Mayo
- 1 cup Buttermilk
- 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix You can find this in the salad dressing isle of the grocery store
- ½ cup pesto prepared
How to Make a Simple Grilled Chicken Marinade
- Start by tenderizing your chicken. Put the chicken in a gallon Ziplock bag, use a rolling pin, mason jar, or the flat side of a meat tenderizer to pound the thickest part of the chicken breast. Pound until it about ¾" thick, similar to the rest of the chicken breast. (This should only take a few good whacks.)
- Add the Avocado Oil and juice the lemon into the Ziplock bag. Add the Good Seasonings Italian packet and seal the ziplock bag. Roll the bag around gently to mix all the ingredients together.
- Let the chicken sit in the fridge and marinate for 2-24 hours. (If you can let the chicken marinate for up to 24 hours, that's ideal. The marinate will give the chicken so much flavor and it makes the most tender and juicy grilled chicken.)
How to Grill Chicken
- After the chicken has marinated, turn the grill on med heat. Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook on medium heat to keep the chicken breast tender and juicy. (The temperature of the grill should be about 350 degrees.) Cook your chicken breasts until golden brown 6-7 minutes. Use tongs to flip the breast over and grill for another 6-7 minutes or until golden brown
- Use a digital thermometer to ensure the chicken breast is done. The chicken breast should register 165 degrees F. When the chicken is done, place it on a platter with foil over it for 5 minutes to redistribute the juices and to keep the chicken warm and juicy.
- * Slice the chicken into bite-sized strips.
Preparing Ingredients for the Grilled Chicken Salad
- Wash and slice cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the avocado into bite-sized pieces. Cube pepper jack cheese into bite-sized pieces and wash the lettuce. Cut the lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
- Assemble the salad by adding the Lettuce, tomatoes, cubed cheese, and avocado. Add the sliced grilled chicken and drizzle with the prepared Pesto Ranch Dressing. Enjoy!
Here are some of the best-grilled recipes…
- BBQ Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe
- Southwest Chicken Kabobs
- Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Recipe
- Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Recipe
- Garlic and Herb Grilled Chicken Drumsticks
- Rosemary Garlic Chicken Breast
- Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks
- Lemon Rosemary Chicken Kabobs
- 3 Citrus Grilled Chicken Marinade
- Cilantro Lime Chicken
- More Chicken Recipes
- More Salad Recipes
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This recipe is a must, Easy Grilled Chicken Breast Salad with Pesto Ranch Dressing is a quick and easy grilled chicken salad recipe. It has a simple grilled chicken marinade recipe that makes a delicious basic chicken salad recipe and a delicious pesto ranch dressing everyone will love. It's a wonderful grilled chicken recipe!