Grilled Chicken BLT Salad is an easy summer salad recipe filled with grilled marinated chicken, bacon, tomatoes, cheese and butter lettuce. Topped with a creamy pesto ranch dressing that’s easy and flavorful, this salad is a huge hit!
Chicken BLT Salad with avocados and a creamy Pesto Ranch Dressing is one of my favorite summer recipes. It can be made with just a few minutes of prep for the marinade and then grilled and put together in under 30 minutes. Bonus, it doesn’t heat up your kitchen!
This grilled chicken BLT salad is also a great family dinner recipe. It’s easily customizable. If you have picky eaters at your house, it’s still going to taste amazing if it’s missing a couple of salad toppings.
Also, If you're a grilled chicken fan, be sure to check out this California Grilled Chicken Salad, BBQ Chicken Salad, Classic Grilled Chicken Salad, or add some chicken or a low carb tortilla to this easy Wedge Salad Wrap for an easy dinner idea.
How To Keep Chicken Moist on Grill
There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to get really tender, juicy, grilled chicken breasts:
- Tenderize the chicken breast.
- Marinate the meat.
- Don’t overcook the chicken! When it reaches 165º F, it’s done.
How To Tenderize Chicken?
Tenderizing your chicken makes a big difference. It’s really easy to do and only takes a couple of minutes.
- 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.
- Another way is to put it in a gallon Ziplock bag and use the flat side of a meat tenderizer.
- Only hit the thickest part of the meat to help even it out. The chicken will cook a lot more evenly if the meat is the same thickness all the way through.
- Make sure you don’t over-pound your meat. A few good whacks will do the trick.
Best Chicken Marinade
- To marinate chicken, you need to need a rub. The rub I use to make Grilled Chicken BLT Salad is just oil, lemon juice, and a couple seasonings.
- I use avocado oil because it has a high smoking point and doesn’t add a lot of flavors.
- Good marinades call for some kind of acidic element, like lemon juice. White vinegar also works well. The acidity helps breaks down the muscle fibers and tenderizes the chicken as it cooks.
- The seasoning and spices (I like to use Italian seasoning) just add that good flavor without adding the calories.
- The easiest way to apply the rub to the chicken is to just combine everything and the chicken in a gallon Ziplock bag, and roll it around.
- Let the chicken sit in the fridge and marinate for 2-24 hours. 24 hours is ideal, but 4 hours works too. The marinate will give the chicken so much flavor and it makes the most tender and juicy grilled chicken!
Ingredients for Pesto Ranch
- 1 cup mayo
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup Pesto, prepared.
- 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
How to Make Creamy Pesto Ranch
- Combine the mayo, buttermilk, ranch dressing packet, the pesto.
- Pulse the blender to mix all the ingredients.
Ingredients in Chicken BLT Salad Recipe:
- Chicken Marinade: Oil, lemon juice, seasoning
- 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.
- Bacon: Cut into 1/2? chunks and cook until golden brown. Pre-cooked bacon bits work great for this recipe too. Just put them on a paper plate and microwave for 1 minute.
- String Cheese: Or 1.5 oz of your favorite kind of cheese.
- 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. (1/3 cup pesto to 2/3 cup ranch dressing) Just mix it up and wa-lah! An incredible ranch dressing variation!
How to Grill Juicy Chicken
- Tenderize your chicken breast in a Ziplock bag.
- Mix the marinade (oil, lemon juice, seasonings) to the Ziploc bag. Roll it around to mix and Refrigerate for 4-24 hours.
- When you're ready to grill, put them on the grill on medium-high heat (350ºF). Wait 6-7 minutes and flip them. Keep cooking them until they reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Take the chicken off the grill and put on a plate or platter, cover with aluminum foil for about 5 minutes.
- Slice it either into strips or bite-size pieces.
- Make your salad and place chicken on top. Drizzle with Pesto Ranch Dressing
Grilled Chicken BLT Salad Recipe
Easy Chicken Marinade
- 3-4 large Chicken Breasts
Plan on 4-6 oz of chicken breasts per person
- 1 large Lemon Juice or 2 T Vinegar
- 3 Tablespoon Avocado Oil or your favorite cooking oil.
- 1 package Good Seasonings Italian Dressing Spice Mix You can find this in the salad dressing aisle by the ranch packets
Ingredients for Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Salad
- 1/2 pound Bacon for Homemade Bacon Bits
- 8 regular String Cheese Sticks or cubed Cheese- Use your favorite kind
- 1.5 cups Cherry Tomatoes halved or just a large tomato cut into 1/2" chunks work great.
- 1 large Avocado cut into 1/2" chunks
- 10-12 cups Chopped Lettuce Butter Lettuce, Romaine, or your favorite lettuce
Creamy Pesto Ranch Dressing
- 1 cup Mayo
- 1 cup Buttermilk
- 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
- 1/2 cup Prepared Pesto (You can usually find this in the deli or specialty cheese section at the supermarket)
How to Tenderize Chicken
- Tenderize your chicken by putting the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap. 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 3/4" thick, similar to the rest of the chicken breast. (This should only take a few good whacks.)
The Best Chicken Marinade
- Add the cooking oil, lemon juice and Good Seasonings Italian packet into a gallon-sized Ziplock bag. Roll the bag around gently to mix all the ingredients together.
- Let the chicken marinate in the fridge 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.)
Grilling the Chicken
- Preheat the grill and then place the chicken on medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side. Use a digital thermometer to ensure the chicken breast is done. When the chicken is done, the internal temp of the chicken should be 165 degrees. Place the chicken on a platter with foil over it for 5 minutes to redistribute the juices and to keep the chicken warm and juicy. After 5 minutes, slice the chicken into bite-sized strips.
Preparing the Salad
- Wash and cut the lettuce and slice cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the avocado into bite-sized pieces. Cube cheese sticks into bite-sized pieces and wash the lettuce. Cut the lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
How to Make Homemade Bacon Bits
- To prepare the bacon, cut the bacon strips in to 1/2" pieces. Sauté in a pan until all the bacon bits are golden brown and just a little crispy. If you are using pre-cooked bacon bits (the ones from Costco are the best) Just put a paper towel on a paper plate and add the bacon bits. Microwave for 1-2 minutes or until the bacon bits are barely crispy.
How to Make Homemade Creamy Pesto Dressing
- In a blender, combine the mayo, buttermilk, 1 packet of Ranch Dressing Mix, and the prepared pesto. Blend on low until all the ingredients are creamy and well combined.
Making the Salad
- Wash and peel all vegetables as needed. Assemble the salad by adding the lettuce, tomatoes, string cheese, homemade bacon bits, and avocado. Add the sliced grilled chicken and drizzle with the prepared Creamy Pesto Ranch Dressing. Enjoy!
If you love Grilled Chicken recipes, here are a few more you'll love....
- 3 Citrus Chicken Marinade
- Garlic and Herb Drumsticks
- Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Teriyaki
- Rosemary Garlic Chicken Breasts Marinade
- California Grilled Chicken Salad.
- Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
- Grilled Caprese Chicken Breast
- Mediterranean Grilled Drumsticks
- Grilled California Chicken
- Garlic and Herb Grilled Chicken Drumstick
- Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks
- Lemon Rosemary Chicken Kabobs
- Southwest Chicken Kabob
- Grilled Apricot Chicken
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Grilled Chicken BLT Salad is an easy summer salad recipe filled with grilled marinated chicken, bacon, tomatoes, cheese, and butter lettuce. Topped with a creamy pesto ranch dressing!