12 Salads That Would Love to Be Topped With Chicken

June 10, 2019
Photo by Ty Mecham

Here’s a foolproof dinner template: Make a salad, add chicken. Often, this is all figured out for us—like, say, this chicken Caesar recipe, or this chicken and bread legend.

But who’s to stop you from taking any old salad recipe and adding chicken yourself? No one. Here are 12 of our favorite recipes that would happily welcome everyone’s favorite bird.

1. Grilled Bread Salad With Broccoli Rabe & Summer Squash

You had me at “bread salad,” EmilyC. What takes this recipe over top is the mayo marinade, which turns broccoli rabe and summer squash into gold. Give lean chicken breasts the same honor (just marinate them in a separate bowl or bag). Soulmate: grilled chicken breasts.

2. Buffalo Chickpea Salad With Vegan Ranch

Is it wrong to add chicken to a vegan salad? And if it is, do I want to be right? (No.) You already know that chicken loves Buffalo sauce (double the quantity so there’s plenty to go around). Turns out, chicken loves vegan ranch dressing, too. Soulmate: crispy chicken thighs.

3. The Genius Super-Salad

What do you get when you borrow a bunch of Genius tricks and combine them in one salad? A super-salad. And what do you get when you add chicken to this super-salad? A super-duper salad. Yes, super-duper. Soulmate: shredded leftover roast chicken.

4. Tomato Salad With Grilled Corn, Feta & Hazelnuts

This salad, developed by our test kitchen director Josh Cohen is as summery as it gets. And since the grill is already on, there’s no need to use the stove. Soulmate: grilled chicken thighs.

5. Toro Bravo’s Radicchio Salad With Manchego Vinaigrette

There are few things in this world that don’t want to be covered in Manchego vinaigrette—and, just like radicchio, chicken isn’t one of them. Soulmate: crispy chicken thighs.

6. Back-Pocket Canned Salad

Scrambling to get dinner on the table? This salad is as pantry-friendly as it gets, thanks to canned beans, artichokes, and hearts of palm. Soulmate: shredded leftover roast chicken.

7. Potato Salad With Arugula & Dijon Vinaigrette

This is a potato salad—emphasis on salad—that’s doubly spunky (hi arugula, hello Dijon vinaigrette). You can serve it warm or room temperature and same goes for the chicken on top. Soulmate: crispy chicken schnitzel.

8. Crunchy, Creamy Cucumber-Avocado Salad

This cucumber salad seems pure from a distance, but don’t you worry: There’s plenty of buttery avocado and salty feta cheese to leave you satisfied. Soulmate: pan-roasted chicken breasts.

9. Farm Lettuces Salad With Dill Vinaigrette

Made with a soft-boiled egg, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and plenty of fresh dill, this vinaigrette is equal parts creamy and herby—perfect for any chicken, really, but especially something with a crispy-fried coating. Soulmate: cornmeal-crusted chicken tenders.

10. Avocado Toast Salad

Avocado toast: fork and knife edition. Cucumbers, radishes, and a yogurt dressing keep this recipe extra-bright. Soulmate: grilled chicken thighs.

11. Quinoa & Mango Salad With Lemony Ginger Dressing

This salad says you can’t have too much of a good thing: quinoa, mango, black beans, avocado, and a fresh-ginger dressing? Be still, my heart. Soulmate: crispy chicken schnitzel.

12. Cuban Avocado, Watercress & Pineapple Salad

Genius for a reason: This salad is equal parts creamy, peppery, and sweet, all tied together with a lime-cumin vinaigrette. Soulmate: spicy braised chicken.

What salad recipe do you want to top with chicken? Share ideas in the comments!
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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.