With all the sweets I’ve been making lately I’m really starting to crave some green salads to balance it all out. Yes this salad may seam ideal for summer, but with it’s beautiful red and green colors it also is the perfect Christmas salad! If you love the caprese flavors you will absolutely love this salad! I could not stop eating it! I kept going back for more – and since I made it like and hour after and my husband and kids had already had lunch I had this giant bowl of salad to myself. Of course didn’t really finish it all but it was definitely one of my new favorite salads!
If you don’t have time to marinate chicken in the basil mixture listed you can just brush it with olive oil, season with garlic powder, S & P instead then double up on the amount of basil added to the salad. But if you do have time I highly recommend trying out this chicken! It’s one of my favorite chicken recipes especially for salad. It’s easy to make but it packs some delicious flavor!
If you can’t find mozzarella pearls you could also use mozzarella balls instead, then either dice into halves or quarters. Then if you want to make this salad a little lighter just add less dressing to your portion, cut back to 1 avocado and use a little less of the mozzarella pearls. I’m telling you though they are worth the extra splurge, plus most of the fats in this salad are healthy fats like that in the avocado and olive oil.
Try this soon, it’s sure to be a hit all around! I already can’t wait to make it again!
Caprese Chicken and Avocado Chopped Salad
Yield: About 4 servings as a main dish
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup slightly packed chopped fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
- 2 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 1 large head Romaine lettuce , chopped
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella pearls
- 10 oz cherry tomatoes
- 2 medium avocados , diced
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
For the chicken:
In a small mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, basil, garlic, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp of each). Using the back of a spoon, press basil against sides and bottom of bowl (to help extract flavor from basil). Place chicken in a resealable bag and pound thicker parts of chicken to even thickness with a meat mallet, then pour basil mixture over chicken and evenly distribute basil over chicken. Seal bag while pressing excess air out, rub marinade over chicken and transfer to refrigerator and marinate 2 - 6 hours.
Preheat a grill to 425 - 450 degrees over medium high heat (alternately you can also make this in a panini press, simply preheat to high heat for 5 minutes then spray with cooking spray, add chicken, close - don't smash chicken just rest top over chicken. Cook about 5 minutes or until 165 degrees in center. A grill pan set over stove top would also work). Brush grill grates lightly with olive oil then place chicken on grill. Grill until cooked through, rotating once halfway through cooking, about 4 - 5 minutes per side (chicken should register 165 degrees in center of chicken on an instant read thermometer). Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes then dice into cubes.
For the dressing:
Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients in a jar (or cover and seal jar and shake) until well combined.
For the salad:
While chicken is cooling, add lettuce to a large salad bowl. Top with mozzarella, tomatoes, avocados and basil. Add chicken. Toss lightly then drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over salad, or plate and drizzle desired amount of dressing over each serving. Serve immediately.