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Grilled Chicken Salad with Candied Pecans and Balsamic Dressing

Candied Pecans for crunch, perfectly grilled chicken with a savory honey balsamic dressing makes this a grilled chicken salad with amazing flavor.
Course dinner, Salad
Cuisine American, bbq
Keyword grilled chicken salad, grilled chicken salad recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Salad Prep 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people
Cost $20.00

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Candied Pecans

  • 2/3 cup raw pecans
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar light is ok too if you have it

Salad

  • 4 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup poultry dry rub
  • 6 cups mixed greens (or romaine)
  • 4 slices crispy bacon, diced (We use Snake River Farms)
  • 1 avocado, sliced thinly
  • 2/3 cup candied pecans
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dressing, to toss

Instructions

Dressing

  • Add all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Whisk vigorously to incorporate the flavors using a large whisk. The oil will emulsify and give that nice texture. This can be made a day in advance, simply store it in a mason jar and keep in the refrigerator.

Candied Pecans

  • In a large cast iron pan over low-medium heat, add butter and brown sugar until slightly bubbling. Add the pecans and stir consistently until the pecans slightly toast and the butter and brown sugar incorporate with the pecans. This should take about 6 minutes after putting the pecans in the pan. They are done when the are fragrant and you can smell the toasting. This can be done in advance.

Grilled Chicken

  • Prepare grill for two zone cooking or direct/indirect heat. Coat the chicken with olive oil and generously season with the dry rub.
  • Over direct heat, grill the chicken for 6 - 8 minutes per side or until there is a nice crust on the outside. Then move to indirect heat. Cover the grill and then continue to cook on indirect until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Plan on one breast per plate. This is a great time to toss and dress the salad.

Making the Salad

  • Cook the bacon on a sheet pan in an oven at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes until crispy. Make the bacon prior to grilling the chicken so it's ready.
  • Combine all salad ingredients into a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss the salad. Plate and add slices of the chicken to each plate and serve.

Notes

Prep in advance to break this recipe down for ease.
  • Make the dressing the first, even the day prior. You can shake it up before dressing the salad.
  • Candy the pecans before grilling the chicken.
  • Prep the bacon as well, in advance of grilling the chicken.
  • As the grill warms up for the chicken, prep the salad ingredients.
  • Then grill the chicken.
This allows all the needed ingredients to be ready to go and you can simply plate the salad and eat right away.