Chopped Chicken Salad

Chopped Chicken Salad

Chopped Chicken Salad employs all kinds of shortcuts to have a nutritious and hearty salad on the dinner table in a hurry! Salad greens are mixed with chickpeas, kidney beans, beets, mozzarella pearls, a creamy avocado, and rotisserie chicken. Use your favorite store-bought dressing or the quick lemon-Dijon vinaigrette included in this recipe!

Chopped Chicken Salad

Chopped Chicken Salad

This Chopped Chicken Salad is part of our Back-To-School Lifesavers — a series of recipes that are intended to have little (or no) veggie chopping, minimal prep time, around 10 ingredients or less (not including pantry staples), and use kid-friendly ingredients. Click here to see all the recipes in the series!

Chopped Chicken Salad

You all knew this series couldn’t be made without a salad, right? 🙂 Big, hearty, and filling salads are one of my favorites, which is probably obvious when you check out how many salad recipes have been shared over the years.

The best thing about a chopped salad? I love getting all the flavors of the salad in one bite. Also, the dressing integrates even better and more evenly. The down-falls? All the chopping. I mean, it’s a chopped salad after all! So in Back-To-School Lifesaver form, we’re eliminating most of the need for chopping by using ingredients that are already small,  like chickpeas, mozzarella pearls, kidney beans, and rotisserie chicken that has already been pulled from the bones. 

Ingredient shot-- image of the ingredients that go in this salad

Ingredient shot-- image of the ingredients that go in this salad

Chopped Chicken Salad Ingredients

  • Spring mix blend: To keep things nice and easy, grab a prepared (washed and chopped) blend of lettuce in the produce section of the store. We love a blend of spring mix and baby spinach best. 
  • Kidney beans: We like dark red (as opposed to light) best in this chopped chicken salad.
  • Garbanzo beans: These are also called chickpeas (they’re the same thing).
  • Mini mozzarella pearls: You can use larger mozzarella balls instead, and just cut them into smaller pieces. Alternatively, block mozzarella will work too. I recommend cutting block mozzarella into small 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Beets: To save loads of time here (roasting beets are easy– but time-consuming) we choose already cooked beets from the produce section of the store. A lot of grocery stores offer flavored/seasoned beets, but we prefer plain for this salad so we don’t end up with competing flavors.
  • Avocado: A ripe avocado adds a nice creamy element to this salad. If you don’t want to chop an avocado, try this product! The only listed ingredient is Hass avocados which have been mashed down (it’s not guacamole, just mashed ripe avocados). Add a spoonful on top of individual salad servings.
  • Rotisserie chicken: Pre-cooked and seasoned chicken saves so much time on its own, but to save even more time on the chicken, purchase rotisserie chicken meat already pulled from the bones and shredded or diced — a lot of grocery stores sell this conveniently prepared chicken (we’ve seen this offered at Costco, Trader Joes, Kroger stores, & Wal-Mart).

QUICK TIP

A completely optional (and fun) addition to this chopped chicken salad is naan. It makes the meal feel a little more like dinner! We love grabbing smaller-sized naan that is made for the toaster. (Stonefire® makes this; it’s usually labeled as mini naan.) That way you can just pop it in the toaster to warm through and get a little crispy. Break it up and throw it in the salad or spoon bits of the salad into the naan and eat it that way — delicious!

Process shots-- making the dressing

Process shots-- making the dressing

Chopped Chicken Salad Dressing

To keep this salad as easy as possible, and the ingredient list to a minimum, feel free to use your favorite store-bought dressing (this is our go-to for this particular salad). If you don’t mind spending a couple of extra minutes on a quick dressing, we include a dressing recipe that is very simple, made with mostly pantry staples. It’s a wonderful addition to this salad! A few dressing tips:

  • This citrus juicer makes juicing the lemon(s) so quick and easy!
  • Make sure to use Dijon mustard, not yellow. There’s a big flavor difference. We love Grey Poupon® best.
  • Measure out honey quicker (and cleaner). Quickly spritz the measuring spoons with nonstick cooking spray and then add in the honey; watch it glide out of the measuring spoon into your dressing.
  • Use jarred garlic or a garlic press. Instead of mincing your own garlic, use jarred to save time. Or, a garlic press will get you fresh minced garlic in a fraction of the time that hand mincing takes.

QUICK TIP

The dressing can be made in advance (a few days or the morning of) which makes this salad come together that much quicker come dinner time! Just be sure to shake it up again before drizzling over the Chopped Chicken Salad. If it’s formed clumps, this is normal (olive oil solidifies at cold temperature), so let it stand at room temperature for a bit and then shake to re-combine.

Process shots-- add lettuce to a large bowl; add the toppings.

Process shots-- add lettuce to a large bowl; add the toppings.

Chopped Chicken Salad Tips

  • When shopping for lettuce, pick a box or bag with smaller pieces (baby spinach as opposed to regular-sized) which eliminates the need for chopping the lettuce. 
  • Thoroughly dry the beans; if they’re wet they’ll make the salad more watery and less enjoyable to eat.
  • Fully ripe avocados are game-changers for this salad. A ripe avocado can add an incredible creamy texture and a far superior flavor. You can tell an avocado is ripe by gently pressing it near the stem. If the avocado yields to that gentle pressure, it’s ripe and ready to be added to this salad.

The salad with all the toppings on the surface; the salad with all the ingredients mixed in.

The salad with all the toppings on the surface; the salad with all the ingredients mixed in.

Chopped Chicken Salad Storage

Unfortunately, once dressed, this salad doesn’t store well. The dressing makes the ingredients wet and soggy. I’d recommend only dressing what you will enjoy the same day. Store dressing and salad separately to enjoy later. 

Make ahead

The components for Chopped Chicken Salad can all be prepared ahead of time (except for the avocado) and then assembled when you’re ready to serve. Store the dressing in a covered jar in the fridge and shake for a minute before tossing with the salad. Chop the avocado right before adding it to the salad.

Chopped Chicken Salad

Chopped Chicken Salad

More Salad Recipes

Chopped Chicken Salad

Chopped Chicken Salad employs all kinds of shortcuts to have a nutritious and hearty salad on the dinner table in a hurry! Salad greens are mixed with chickpeas, kidney beans, beets, mozzarella pearls, a creamy avocado, and rotisserie chicken. Use your favorite store-bought dressing or the quick lemon-Dijon vinaigrette included in this recipe!

Chopped Chicken Salad

Chopped Chicken Salad employs all kinds of shortcuts to have a nutritious and hearty salad on the dinner table in a hurry! Salad greens are mixed with chickpeas, kidney beans, beets, mozzarella pearls, a creamy avocado, and rotisserie chicken. Use your favorite store-bought dressing or the quick lemon-Dijon vinaigrette included in this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 8 cups (5 oz; 145g) spring mix lettuce blend or baby spinach
  • 1 can (15.5 oz; 439g) kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can (15.5 oz; 439g) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (95g) mini mozzarella pearls
  • 1 cup (160g) diced beets Note 1
  • 1 large avocado (or 2 small)
  • 2 cups (250g) leftover grilled chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken
  • Good store-bought balsamic dressing OR lemon Dijon vinaigrette (See Note 2)
  • Optional: miniature naan

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Beets: We choose already cooked beets from the produce section of the store. They’re soft and so easy to chop!
Note 2: Lemon-Dijon dressing: Here’s our favorite homemade dressing for this salad: Combine everything in a jar and shake to combine:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons each: honey and Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon already minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Note 3: Naan chips: Cut naan into wedges and add to a large plastic zipper-top bag. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of oil and salt and pepper to taste (I add 1/2 teaspoon of each). Shake to combine and coat the wedges. Add to the air fryer basket and cook them at 320 degrees F for 5-7 minutes, tossing the basket every 2 minutes or to desired crispiness. We don’t want hard chips (we still want them to be pliable to hold salad), but a bit crisp and warmed through, so cook to your crispness preference and keep in mind they continue to crisp up as they cool.
Nutrition information does not include the dressing or naan bread.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 727kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 137mg | Sodium: 664mg | Potassium: 1257mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 724IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 251mg | Iron: 7mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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