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The Secret to a Delicious 15 Minute Chicken Salad

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Do you believe in the power of a 15-minute meal that doesn’t sacrifice flavor or freshness? Get ready to have your dinner game elevated. Because today, we’re unlocking the secret to a mouth-watering pan-seared chicken salad with a hot honey vinaigrette that can be whipped up in just 15 minutes flat.

Top view of Stone Fruit Chicken Salad on a white platter

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No, it’s not a magic trick or a culinary illusion – it’s a simple yet delicious recipe that will have you savoring every bite of a delicious and nutritious green salad with perfectly seared chicken breast.

So, if you’re craving a quick, flavorful, and satisfying meal, stick around as we guide you through the secrets of choosing the perfect chicken breast, mastering the art of pan searing, creating the ultimate green salad, and adding a burst of flavor with juicy peaches and creamy avocados. Get ready to become a salad maestro in no time – in just 15 minutes, to be exact!

This salad is one of my favorite salads of the season! Along with the Harvest Salmon Salad another main dish I crave during the fall. But this chicken salad is a delightful and quick main dish dinner salad you’re going to love.

And the Hot Honey Vinaigrette? It’s super easy to make with warmed honey and delicious spices. I love this salad dressing enough that I sometimes triple the recipe so I can have some on hand for snacking or drizzling on fresh or roasted veggies — or even pasta!

Make this for a hearty lunch or light dinner on the patio. You’ll thank yourself for it!

Closeup side view of Stone Fruit Chicken Salad with fresh basil

Choosing the Perfect Chicken Breast

When it comes to preparing a delicious pan-seared chicken salad, the choice of chicken breast is critical. You want a chicken breast that is tender, juicy, and full of flavor, as it will be the star of your salad. So how do you ensure you are selecting the perfect chicken breast for your 15-minute masterpiece?

First and foremost, opt for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This will save you time in the kitchen and make the cooking process much easier. Look for small breasts (I’m using thin-cut chicken cutlets) that are plump and firm, with a smooth and unblemished skin. Avoid any chicken breasts that have bruises, discoloration, or an off-putting odor, as these are signs of poor quality.

Size matters too. Aim for chicken breasts that are similar in size and thickness, as this will ensure even cooking. If you have chicken breasts of varying sizes, consider pounding them to an even thickness using a meat mallet. This will not only promote even cooking but also tenderize the meat.

When it comes to the quality of the chicken, organic and free-range options are always a good choice. These chickens are typically raised in more humane conditions and have a higher quality of meat.

Lastly, take a moment to inspect the expiration date on the package. Freshness is key to a delicious chicken breast. Look for chicken breasts with the furthest expiration date to ensure optimum freshness.

By choosing the perfect chicken breast, you are setting yourself up for success in creating a mouth-watering pan-seared chicken salad. So, let’s dive into the next step – mastering the art of pan searing. It’s time to bring out the best flavors from your chicken breast and create a culinary masterpiece in just 15 minutes.

Mastering the Art of Pan Searing

By choosing the perfect chicken breast, you are setting yourself up for success in creating a mouth-watering pan-seared chicken salad. So, let’s dive into the next step – mastering the art of pan searing. It’s time to bring out the best flavors from your chicken breast and create a culinary masterpiece in just 15 minutes.

Pan searing is a cooking technique that involves quickly cooking meat at a high temperature to seal in the juices and create a delicious crust. Here are a few key steps to follow when pan-searing chicken breasts.

First, make sure your pan is nice and hot before adding the chicken breast. Heat your pan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes until it’s hot enough to make the chicken sizzle when it touches the surface. This initial burst of heat will help to develop a beautiful golden crust on your chicken breast.

Next, season your chicken breast generously with salt and pepper and your favorite seasoning. Scroll down to the “Ingredients” portion of this post for ideas on my favorites. This step will enhance the natural flavors of the meat and add a delicious savory element to your salad. Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper – it’s the foundation of great flavor.

Once your pan is hot and your chicken breast is seasoned, carefully place the chicken in the pan. Let the chicken sear for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until it develops a golden brown crust. This will ensure that the chicken is cooked through while remaining juicy and tender.

While your chicken is searing, resist the temptation to move it around too much. Let it cook undisturbed, allowing the heat to work its magic and create that beautiful caramelized exterior. Remember, patience is key when mastering the art of pan searing.

Once your chicken breast is cooked to perfection, remove it from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful chicken breast.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of pan searing, you’re ready to move on to the next step – creating the ultimate green salad that will perfectly complement your pan-seared chicken. Get ready to unleash your creativity and combine fresh greens, vibrant vegetables, and a tangy dressing to complete this mouth-watering dish.,

Creating the Ultimate Green Salad

Now that you’ve mastered the art of pan searing, you’re ready to move on to the next step – creating the ultimate green salad that will perfectly complement your pan-seared chicken.

A truly delicious green salad starts with the freshest ingredients. Choose a variety of leafy greens such as spinach, arugula, or mixed lettuce to provide a base of crisp and flavorful textures. Opt for organic options if available, as they often have a more intense and natural taste.

Next, add a pop of color and flavor by incorporating vibrant vegetables. Thinly sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs not only add visual appeal but also provide a refreshing crunch. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different vegetable combinations to find your perfect balance of flavors.

As you assemble your green salad, think about the overall composition and presentation. Consider arranging the ingredients in a visually appealing manner, with the chicken breast slices placed strategically on top. This will not only make the salad more visually appealing but also ensure that each bite includes a perfect combination of greens, vegetables, and chicken.

By taking the time to create the ultimate green salad, you’ll be able to perfectly complement your expertly pan-seared chicken. But we’re not done yet – next, we’ll explore how to add a burst of flavor with juicy peaches and creamy avocados, taking your salad to a whole new level of deliciousness.,

Adding a Burst of Flavor with Juicy Peaches or Stone Fruit and Creamy Avocados

When it comes to elevating your salad game, juicy peaches and creamy avocados are the secret ingredients you need. These two complementary fruits bring a delightful combination of sweetness and richness that takes your taste buds on a journey. Their vibrant colors also add visual appeal to your salad, making it even more tempting to dive in.

To maximize the flavors of peaches and avocados, it’s important to choose ripe ones. Look for peaches that yield slightly when gently squeezed, indicating that they are juicy and perfectly ripe. Avocados should have a slight give when pressed, but not be too soft. You want them to be creamy and luscious, not mushy.

Once you have your perfectly ripe fruits, it’s time to incorporate them into your salad. Start by slicing the peaches into wedges, removing the pit. The natural sweetness of the peaches will complement the savory chicken and fresh greens beautifully. As for the avocados, scoop out the flesh and slice it into thin, creamy slices. Avocados bring a smooth and buttery texture to the salad, adding a luscious quality that pairs perfectly with the crunch of the greens.

To keep the avocados from browning, drizzle them with a little lemon or lime juice. Not only does this add a tangy twist to the salad, but it also helps to preserve the vibrant green color of the avocados. The citrus juice also enhances the overall flavor profile of the salad, giving it a refreshing and bright touch.

With the addition of peaches and avocados, your pan-seared chicken salad transforms into a culinary masterpiece. The juicy sweetness of the peaches, the creamy texture of the avocados, and the savory flavors of the chicken work in harmony to create an explosion of taste in every bite. Stay tuned as we explore the finishing touches that will bring this delicious salad together.,

In just 15 minutes, you can transform your salad routine into a culinary delight with a pan-seared chicken salad that will have your taste buds dancing. By following the simple steps of choosing the perfect chicken breast, mastering the art of pan searing, creating the ultimate green salad, and adding a burst of flavor with juicy peaches and creamy avocados, you can effortlessly elevate your salad game.

This recipe not only delivers on taste, but it also provides a nutritious and satisfying meal option. With the right combination of protein, fresh greens, and vibrant fruits, you’ll feel nourished and energized. Who said healthy eating had to be bland?

Stone Fruit Chicken Salad Ingredients

This Stone Fruit Chicken Salad is a versatile main dish salad that can easily be adapted to what you have on hand, or what is fresh in your market. Use these ingredients as a guide or inspiration for making your own.

The exact measurements of what I used is in the recipe card at the bottom of this post:

  • Chicken: I use thin cut chicken breasts (or cutlets), but you could also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer. Mine were extra thin and cooked on both sides in about 5 minutes. If you prefer a vegetarian dish, you can eliminate the chicken.
  • Chicken Seasoning: Italian seasoning, Herbs de Provence, or even your favorite chicken rub. I used Italian seasoning.
  • Salad greens: Butter lettuce, baby romaine, and arugula are delicious in this salad. I used a combination of all three plus some spring mix leaves I had growing in my garden.
  • Stone fruit: This salad is perfect with any in-season stone fruit. I’ve used nectarines for flavor and color but peaches and plums are delicious too!
  • Avocados: sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes: Any tomato variety works in this salad. I like how easy it is to half a cherry tomato which is why I used them here.
  • Cucumbers: I prefer Persian cucumbers, but when I can’t find that in the market I use an English or European cucumber.
  • Fresh herbs: I used snipped chives and basil from my garden.

Hot Honey Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • Lemon, juiced
  • Apple cider vinegar: sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar works too
  • Olive oil
  • Shallot
  • Garlic
  • Warmed honey
  • Parmesan cheese

Pan Seared Chicken Salad

Give this pan-seared chicken salad a try the next time you’re craving a quick and easy dinner that’s healthy and utterly delicious and can be prepared in just a fraction of the time.

Remember, great cooking doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated. With a few simple techniques and quality ingredients, you can create a masterpiece in your own kitchen. So dust off that skillet, grab your favorite greens, and embark on a flavor-filled journey that will leave you craving for more.

As the renowned chef Julia Child once said, “Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” So, embrace the joy of cooking, and let this 15-minute pan-seared chicken salad become your go-to recipe for culinary satisfaction. Your taste buds will thank you!

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Top view of Stone Fruit Chicken Salad on a Round Wood Cutting Board with Nectarines
Side view of Stone Fruit Chicken Salad on a round wood cutting board

15 Minute Chicken Salad

Stone Fruit Chicken Salad is an incredibly pretty summer salad that's tossed in a Hot Honey Vinaigrette you're going to love! A delicious, quick and easy main dish salad with pan seared chicken, peak season stone fruit, and fresh herbs.
5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Stephanie Wilson

Ingredients 

  • Olive oil
  • 4 thin cut boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning Herbs de Provence (or your favorite Chicken rub)
  • 3-4 heads butter lettuce or baby romaine
  • 1 bunch fresh chives snipped
  • 2 avocados sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 4 Persian cucumbers sliced (or English cucumbers)
  • 3 ripe nectarines peaches, plums, or other stone fruit

Hot Honey Vinaigrette

  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey warmed
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Coat chicken breasts with a bit of olive oil and season both sides with salt, pepper, and seasoning of choice (Italian seasoning, Herbs de Provence, or favorite Chicken rub).
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Cook the chicken breasts for about 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the breasts. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  • Toss the lettuce, avocado, stone fruit, cucumbers, and snipped chives with the vinaigrette. Serve on a large platter.
  • Thinly slice the chicken breasts and lay them on top of the salad (or serve individually on top of salad servings). Add additional Parmesan cheese if needed.
  • For the Vinaigrette
  • Whisk all ingredients together until emulsified.

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 1073mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 2673IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Salads
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken salad, stone fruit chicken salad, stone fruit salad, summer salad

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