There is chicken salad, and there is this warm chicken salad with avocado and a homemade honey mustard dressing. A bed of your favorite lettuce and salad toppings is served with a deliciously marinated and seared chicken and fresh ripe avocado. This is a perfect light, but delicious salad choice for lunch.
Chicken Salad with Avocado
Lunches never have to be boring when you have recipes like this on the menu. Sometimes you just need the light and fresh salad flavors. Making some marinated chicken and a homemade dressing takes the basic salad and turn it into a delicious meal that is satisfying for lunch or dinner.
If you like salads as full meals and not sides, then you will also love this Vietnamese steak and noodle salad recipe. Another version that is cold but a good meal would be the sweet chicken salad recipe with pineapple or the ham salad recipe. Both are chilled and served on crackers or toast and delicious for a lunch.
Can I Use Chicken Thighs Instead of Breasts?
Yes! While chicken breasts are leaner and more commonly used, you can do this same recipe using chicken thighs. Chicken thighs tend to be richer in flavor and juicier.
They will also most likely only need 3 to 4 minutes per side, while you may need up to 6 minutes per side for a chicken breast. When cooking with any chicken, I recommend using a meat thermometer for safety. All chicken should reach 165°F internally before serving.
What Salad Toppings Should I Use?
This particular version includes lettuce, tomato, corn, red onion, and avocado. Topped with the same flavors of the marinade, it's a nicely cohesive meal. You can, however, customize your salad with your own favorite toppings. Below are some common additions that pair wonderfully with this marinated honey mustard chicken.
- Romaine, iceberg, mixed greens, or baby spinach as a base.
- Cherry, grape, Roma, or vine-ripened tomatoes.
- Roasted corn in place of the drained canned or frozen corn.
- Black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans.
- Red onions, green onions, or chives.
- Cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, or snap peas.
- Edamame or green peas.
- Croutons, tortilla strips, or crispy wontons.
- Cheddar, jack, pepper jack, feta, cotija, or mozzarella cheese.
- Pork bacon, turkey bacon, or chicken bacon.
How Do I Know an Avocado is Ripe?
When an avocado is ripe, it will have darker green skin and be soft but not mushy when squeezed. You want it to give just a little but not allow your fingers to press through the fruit.
If your avocado isn't ripe, you can place the avocado into a paper bag with an apple or banana for 2 to 3 days. Since they do not ripen on the tree, and only after being picked, it is important to watch for ripening and carefully choose the avocado at the store allowing yourself a few days to ripen if not ripe when purchased.
How Do You Cut an Avocado?
Injuries from cutting an avocado are some of the most common in ER's in the United States. So, when cutting an avocado, it's important to be very careful. One of the best investments you can make if cutting them regularly is a plastic avocado knife. These allow to score the peel then easily slice the fruit into pieces without the use of a sharp instrument.
If using a traditional knife, carefully score the middle of the avocado lengthwise, then twist apart. This will leave you with two halves, one of which has the seed. You can use a spoon to scoop the seed out of the middle, then slice or chop into desired sizes.
How Do You Keep Avocado From Going Brown?
If you are preparing this salad ahead of time, you will want to make sure your avocado doesn't turn brown before it is served. The best method of doing this is to brush or squeeze lemon or lime juice over the exposed edges. This will help keep it fresh and green for at least 24 hours.
While avocado does not go bad when it turns brown, it doesn't look as appetizing and thus won't be served most times. It is usually good for 3 to 4 days after slicing when ripe. Just make sure you coat with citrus juice and cover when refrigerating.
- Mustard seeds
- Dijon mustard
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Red onion
Handy Kitchen Tools
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Large skillet
- Cutting board
- Meat thermometer
- Avocado slicer
How to Make a Warm Chicken Salad with Avocado
In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, mustard seeds, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, and garlic. Whisk together to combine and divide the marinade in half into separate bowls.
In a large Ziploc bag, place the chicken breasts and ½ of the marinade mixture. Seal the bag, and shake around to coat the chicken completely.
Set aside the chicken to marinate for 15 to 20 minutes. You can refrigerate in the marinade for up to 24 hours prior to cooking.
In a large skillet or grill pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.
Place the chicken breasts into the skillet making sure not to crowd the pan.
Cook for 5 minutes per side until golden on the outside and the chicken has reached 165°F internally. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoon water to the remaining dressing mixture, and whisk to combine.
Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Place the lettuce, tomato, corn, red onion, bacon crumbles, and avocado into a bowl or on a plate, and top with the sliced chicken.
Season with salt and pepper if desired then top with dressing before serving.
More Salad Recipes
Salads are a favorite way to get more vegetables into your menu. Whether you add them to the side of a meal or you serve them as the entire meal, you know that when the salad is on the menu you are going to find something bright and fresh. Below are some more salad ideas to add to your menu. Make sure to bookmark, print, or pin these to use later!
- Light and Easy Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)
- The Best Ever Caprese Salad Recipe
- Sweet and Savory Broccoli Apple Salad
- Creamy Corn Salad Recipe with Cucumber and Peppers
- Fast and Fresh Greek Chickpea Salad
Ingredients for Marinade/Dressing
- ⅓ cup honey (85 ml
- 3 tbsps whole mustard seeds (18 gm)
- 2 tbsps Dijon mustard (30 ml)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (30 ml)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp salt (3 gm)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp water (30 ml)
Ingredients for Salad
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, washed and torn (600 gm)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (200 gm)
- 1 large avocado, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup whole kernel corn (92 gm)
- ¼ red onion, sliced into rings
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, mustard seeds, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, and garlic. Whisk together to combine and divide the marinade in half into separate bowls.
- In a large Ziploc bag, place the chicken breasts and ½ of the marinade mixture. Seal the bag, and shake around to coat the chicken completely.
- Set aside the chicken to marinate for 15 to 20 minutes. You can refrigerate in the marinade for up to 24 hours prior to cooking.
- In a large skillet or grill pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Place the chicken breasts into the skillet making sure not to crowd the pan.
- Cook for 4 minutes per side until golden on the outside and the chicken has reached 165°F internally. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoon water to the remaining dressing mixture, and whisk to combine.
- Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Place the lettuce, tomato, corn, red onion, and avocado into a bowl or on a plate, and top with the sliced chicken.
- Season with salt and pepper if desired then top with dressing before serving.
Top with any salad toppings you prefer.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 569Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 888mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 7gSugar: 27gProtein: 48g