Weeknight Cooking

Zuni-Inspired Grilled Chicken Salad

October  4, 2022
5 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Make aioli from scratch (I love the recipe in The Zuni Café Cookbook, and this one by Naomi Pomeroy), or use your favorite brand of mayo—the silkier and fattier, the better (though it’ll be great with whatever you have on hand).

P.S. This recipe doubles and triples like a champ. If you’re mixing garlic and mayo, keep it to two small cloves max of grated garlic—it’s just an accent here. —Julia Clancy

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for salad
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for salad
  • 1/4 cup aioli or 1/4 cup mayo + 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus more for salad
  • Your favorite greens and fresh herbs, for salad
  1. Pat chicken breasts dry; toss with 1/4 teaspoon salt and enough olive oil to give it a slick coat (about 1 tablespoon).
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high (or set a grill pan over medium-high heat on the stove). Oil the grill grates (or the pan). Grill chicken, turning once, until cooked through and darkly burnished with grill marks, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Rest 5 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is resting, add aioli (if using) or garlicky mayo to a large bowl; mix in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the zest and juice of the lemon.
  4. Cut chicken into slices about 3/4-inch thick; using the tines of two forks, pull each piece into two or three coarse hunks. Add chicken and any accumulated juices to aioli dressing. Toss to coat. Pile over greens tossed with lemon, olive oil, and salt.
  5. Alternate serving options: If not having in a salad, layer chicken between slices of toasted bread or a soft, seeded bun. Or enjoy as is, with or without chopped fresh herbs scattered on top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lorrie Hanawalt
    Lorrie Hanawalt
  • Stephanie Perry
    Stephanie Perry
  • pishposh
  • Paulskiogorki
Julia Clancy is a nationally published writer, editor and recipe developer with over a decade of experience as a chef, both privately and in restaurants. She writes about people and place through the lens of food and drink. She was recently the restaurant critic at Boston Magazine, and her current work has appeared in Food 52, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Thrillist and Craft Beer, among many others.

5 Reviews

pishposh March 12, 2021
Could not be easier nor more delicious!
Lorrie H. February 2, 2021
The flavors in this are so good! It was super easy too. Perfect with some crusty bread and a glass of wine.
Paulskiogorki July 20, 2020
This is a delicious and simple weeknight dinner. I used the mayo and it was terrific. Added some fresh herbs from the garden to the lettuce and plain rice on the side. Yum.
Sylvia June 9, 2020
Easy lemony summer salad. I added a handful of fresh herbs and a shaving of Parmesan. Tasty
Stephanie P. January 29, 2020
Excellent, quick, and very flavorful. Grilled a few slices of French bread, brushed with olive oil and tore into pieces for croutons to add to the greens. Delicious!