home cooked dinners by the season

Crispy Chicken Salad

Crispy Chicken Salad

Every so often I crave fried chicken. Not the thickly battered, slightly greasy bone-in pieces I associate with a not to be named fast food restaurant that showed up in a cardboard bucket at my childhood picnics. Instead a version using boneless, skinless chicken and a light panko breading briefly fried in flavorful olive oil. Prop the crispy chicken up on a smattering of salad greens, crunchy pea pods, pecans and sweet cherry tomatoes all drizzled with homemade ranch dressing and you’ve pretty much got my idea of a summer dinner beyond compare.

This salad hits on all cylinders – you love the taste of what you’re eating, feel good about the ingredients and still have the satisfaction of feeling like you did something a little naughty. Plan ahead and bread the chicken and whisk together the ranch dressing the night before you want to have this for dinner (I highly recommend taking the time to make this homemade ranch dressing. It’s a fairly short list of ingredients and well worth it for its clean, fresh flavor.) There’s nothing quite like the smug feeling of knowing the majority of your dinner preparation has been done and it’s just a matter of a brief cooking and assembling when you’re home and ready to eat.

Crispy Chicken Salad
Serves: 4 servings
  • crispy chicken:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound) pounded to ½ inch thickness or cut in half widthwise to about ½ inch thickness
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • homemade ranch dressing (makes 1 cup):
  • ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 3-4 Tablespoons milk, depending on how thick you like it
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives or green onions
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (1 teaspoon dried can be used)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½-1 teaspoon minced garlic, depending on how much garlic you like
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Dash cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce
  • salad:
  • 8 cups favorite salad greens
  • 2 cups snap peas
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1-1/3 cups toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup very thinly sliced red onion
  1. For the crispy chicken: sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Beat eggs until smooth and transfer to a shallow dish. Put flour and panko in separate shallow dishes. Dredge both sides of chicken with flour, shaking off excess. Dip both sides of chicken in egg, allowing excess to drip off; transfer to the panko, patting both sides so breading adheres. Chicken can be prepped to this point and refrigerated several hours.
  2. For the dressing: whisk all ingredients together until smooth.
  3. To cook the chicken, heat vegetable oil in a medium size skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add chicken and cook until halfway done, about 4 minutes, adjusting heat if chicken is browning too quickly or cooking too slowly. Turn chicken and cook until it is done, about 4 minutes longer. Remove to a paper towel. Allow cooling several minutes, then thinly slice.
  4. To serve salad: divide romaine, peas, cherry tomatoes, pecans and red onion between 4 plates (or all together on a platter or bowl). Arrange chicken over salad and drizzle dressing over all.


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11 thoughts on “Crispy Chicken Salad”

  • A great recipe for our hot summer monsoon weather…..prepping ahead is always good. Love it with cold flavored ice tea.

    • So nice to hear from you Jackie. I hope your monsoon weather hasn’t been to crazy. This IS a great salad to make ahead for a summer dinner.

  • Thank you. I’m really expecting greatness with this recipe Linda, it sounds so easy/good. I’ll keep you posted.

    • Mickey – it is so nice to hear from you. I hope all is well. I am not sure if I like the crispy chicken or the homemade ranch dressing better! I look forward to hearing what you think.

    • Thank you Judy! It’s a summer favorite for me. I especially love the ranch dressing. Any leftover dressing I like to use for a dipping sauce for fresh cut vegetables. Happy summer to you!

  • The dressing really makes the salad – it’s so good!
    The chicken katsu is a nice addition to add for dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed this and will make again soon!
    Thank you for another good recipe!

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