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Winter Chicken Salad

Winter Chicken Salad starts with marinated chicken, sweet clementines, crunchy cucumbers, roasted red peppers, creamy goat cheese, and salted pepita seeds. Drizzle the delicious orange dressing over this flavorful salad to enjoy a light and fresh salad (even in the dead of winter!).
Course Dinner, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword winter chicken salad
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 531kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $6.31

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1 pound (16 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs) (~2 breasts)
  • 2 limes (2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon lime zest)
  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic (~2-4 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: smoked paprika, dried oregano, and honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use 1 full teaspoon for more spice)
  • Fine sea salt and cracked pepper

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons clementine juice and 1 teaspoon zest (~2 clementines)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey

Salad

  • 4 cups mixed greens lettuce (packed)
  • 2 cups kale (lightly packed)(or just use more mixed greens) (See Note 1)
  • 1 cup clementines (~3 clementines), chopped
  • Heaping 1/2 cup Persian cucumber (~1 cucumber)(cut into half moons)
  • 1/3 cup pepitas (roasted and salted)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese crumbled

Instructions

  • MARINADE: Place all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or large zipper-top plastic bag: 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon grated garlic (I use a microplane to grate), 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste (I add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Whisk or knead together in the bag.
  • CHICKEN: Slice large chicken breasts in half horizontally. Cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap (to avoid splatter), and using a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan, pound breasts to even thickness (you don't want to flatten the meat, just even it in thickness). Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Put in the bowl or bag with the marinade and make sure the marinade is generously coating chicken. Seal (or cover the bowl tightly) and refrigerate for 20 minutes up to 6 hours.
  • GRILL: Preheat grill to medium-high (400-450 degrees F.) Add chicken to the cleaned and greased grill (I rub grill grates with a vegetable oil-drenched paper towel). Grill for 4-5 minutes per side, turning halfway in between or until chicken registers 160 degrees F. Remove to a plate and tent with foil to rest for 5-10 minutes and then chop into bite-sized pieces.
  • DRESSING: Add all the dressing ingredients to a Mason jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper) Place in the fridge while preparing the rest of the salad. Shake to recombine before dressing the salad.
  • SALAD ASSEMBLY: Combine the kale (See Note 1) and mixed greens in a large bowl or on a salad platter. Top with peeled and chopped clementines (I halve each segment), Persian cucumbers (cut into half moons), roasted and salted pepitas, coarsely chopped roasted red pepper strips, and goat cheese. Add the chopped chicken. Drizzle on dressing to desired preference. (You may not want to use it all; store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.) Toss gently to combine and serve immediately.
  • STORAGE: This salad doesn't sit well with the dressing, so only dress what will be enjoyed the same day. Store any leftover salad, chicken, and dressing separately.

Notes

Note 1: if you opt to use kale, here's how to prepare it: Remove the thick stems and then very thinly slice (ribbon) the kale. The smaller the shreds of kale, the better! Once it's all chopped, put it in a colander (or the base of a salad spinner) and give it a quick rinse. Rub and massage the kale for about a minute and then give it another quick rinse. Allow the kale to dry completely before using in the salad or spin in the salad spinner to dry it quickly.

Nutrition

Calories: 531kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 675mg | Potassium: 1325mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 5070IU | Vitamin C: 108mg | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 5mg