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Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad Recipe

This pesto grilled chicken avocado salad recipe is a delightful blend of savory, creamy, and crunchy elements. It's a perfect dish for those who appreciate the freshness of a salad combined with the succulent flavors of grilled chicken. The basil pesto not only flavors the chicken but also doubles as a vibrant dressing, making this salad a hit for any meal.

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Photos of Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad Recipe

Most of the ingredients for this recipe are commonly found in any pantry or fridge. However, basil pesto might be one that you need to look out for at the supermarket. It's a sauce made from basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. If you can't find it, you can easily make it at home.

Ingredients for Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad

Olive oil: Used for both the marinade/dressing and grilling the chicken, it adds a rich and smooth flavor.

Basil pesto: It imparts a refreshing and aromatic flavor to the chicken and acts as a dressing for the salad.

Lemon juice: Adds a tangy flavor, balancing the richness of the olive oil and pesto.

Garlic: Enhances the taste of the chicken and the dressing.

Chicken thigh fillets: They are juicy and tender, perfect for grilling.

Romaine: A crispy, green lettuce that forms the base of the salad.

Cucumber: Adds a refreshing crunch to the salad.

Grape tomatoes: They are sweet, juicy, and perfect for salads.

Red onion: Gives the salad a sharp and tangy flavor.

Avocado: Creamy and rich, it enhances the texture and taste of the salad.

Feta: A tangy and slightly salty cheese that complements the other ingredients.

Fresh basil: Used for garnish, it enhances the overall flavor and presentation of the salad.

One reader, Jacques Brinson says:

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This pesto grilled chicken avocado salad recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are so vibrant and fresh. The combination of the pesto-marinated chicken and creamy avocado is simply divine. It's a perfect summer dish that's both healthy and satisfying. I highly recommend trying it out!

Jacques Brinson

Essential Techniques for Making Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad

Marinating the chicken: In a large shallow dish, pour half of the prepared dressing and add the chicken to marinate for 15 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Grilling the chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a grill pan or a grill plate over medium-high heat. Grill the marinated chicken on both sides until browned and completely cooked through.

Assembling the salad: Prepare all the salad ingredients and mix them in a large salad bowl. Once the chicken is ready, slice it and arrange it over the salad. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad before serving.

Garnishing the salad: Serve the salad with lemon wedges, extra basil pesto, and chopped basil or parsley for garnish.

How To Make Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad

This chicken avocado salad is unique in that its pesto dressing also works as a marinade. Salads will never be boring with this recipe.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

For Dressing:

  • cupolive oil
  • 2tbspbasil pestohomemade or store bought
  • 2tbsplemon juiceadjust to your tastes
  • 2tbspwateroptional, for a thinner consistency
  • 2tspgarlicminced
  • 1tspsalt
  • cracked pepperto taste
  • 4chicken thigh filletsor chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)

For Salad:

  • 4cupsRomaineor Cos lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 1largecucumberdiced
  • 1cupgrape tomatoesor cherry tomatoes, diced
  • ½red onionsliced
  • 1avocadosliced
  • ½cupfetacrumbled
  • lemon wedgesto serve
  • 2tbsppestoto serve
  • 2tbspfresh chopped basilor parsley, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a large jug.

  2. Pour out half of the dressing into a large, shallow dish.

  3. Refrigerate the remaining marinade to use as a dressing later.

  4. Add the chicken to the marinade in the bowl.

  5. Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours if time allows).

  6. While waiting for the chicken, prepare all of the salad ingredients and mix them in a large salad bowl.

  7. Once the chicken is ready, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a grill pan or a grill plate over medium-high heat.

  8. Grill chicken on both sides until browned and completely cooked through.

  9. Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes; slice and arrange over salad.

  10. Drizzle salad with the remaining dressing.

  11. Serve with lemon wedges, extra basil pesto, and chopped basil or parsley, to garnish.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 815.39kcal
  • Fat: 67.19g
  • Saturated Fat: 15.90g
  • Trans Fat: 0.16g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 32.36g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 9.78g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.96g
  • Fiber: 6.46g
  • Sugar: 5.12g
  • Protein: 38.42g
  • Cholesterol: 207.16mg
  • Sodium: 1092.70mg
  • Calcium: 190.49mg
  • Potassium: 1049.73mg
  • Iron: 3.32mg
  • Vitamin A: 302.38µg
  • Vitamin C: 23.50mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Perfecting Your Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad

When grilling the chicken, it's important to let it rest for a few minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and moist chicken. Also, marinating the chicken not only adds flavor but also helps to tenderize the meat. For the best results, make sure to marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes, but if you have time, marinating for up to 2 hours will provide even more flavor.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad Recipe

Prep ahead: Marinate the chicken the night before to cut down on prep time. This allows the flavors to infuse, saving time on the day of cooking.

Multi-task: While the chicken is marinating, prepare the salad ingredients to maximize efficiency in the kitchen.

Invest in pre-made pesto: Using store-bought pesto can save time and effort, without compromising on flavor.

Grill in batches: If you're cooking for a larger group, grill the chicken in batches to ensure even cooking and save time.

Substitute Ingredients For Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad Recipe

  • olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a similar flavor profile to olive oil and can be a great alternative in salad dressings. It also has a high smoke point, making it suitable for grilling the chicken.

  • basil pesto - Substitute with sun-dried tomato pesto: Sun-dried tomato pesto will add a rich, tangy flavor to the dressing, complementing the grilled chicken and avocado in the salad.

  • lemon juice - Substitute with white wine vinegar: White wine vinegar provides a tangy acidity similar to lemon juice and can enhance the flavors in the dressing.

  • garlic - Substitute with shallots: Shallots offer a milder, sweeter flavor compared to garlic and can provide a subtle aromatic element to the dressing.

  • romaine - Substitute with spinach: Spinach can be a nutritious alternative to romaine, adding a different texture and flavor to the salad.

  • grape tomatoes - Substitute with cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes can be used as a substitute for grape tomatoes, offering a similar sweet and juicy flavor to the salad.

  • red onion - Substitute with green onions: Green onions can provide a milder flavor compared to red onions, adding a subtle onion taste to the salad without overpowering the other ingredients.

  • feta - Substitute with goat cheese: Goat cheese has a tangy and creamy texture similar to feta, making it a suitable replacement in the salad.

  • pesto - Substitute with chimichurri: Chimichurri sauce can add a vibrant herb and garlic flavor to the salad, complementing the grilled chicken and avocado.

  • fresh chopped basil - Substitute with parsley: Parsley can provide a fresh, herbaceous flavor to the salad, similar to basil, and can be used as a garnish.

How to Beautifully Present Your Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the grilled chicken slices on the salad in a visually appealing manner, ensuring each component is showcased beautifully.

  2. Incorporate vibrant colors: Integrate the rich green of the avocado, the deep red of the tomatoes, and the bright hues of the salad greens to create a visually stunning dish.

  3. Utilize negative space: Allow the salad to breathe on the plate, creating a sense of balance and elegance.

  4. Garnish with precision: Add a drizzle of basil pesto and sprinkle freshly chopped basil with meticulous attention to detail, enhancing the overall presentation.

  5. Balance textures: Ensure a harmonious blend of textures by layering the tender grilled chicken over the crisp salad, creating a delightful contrast.

  6. Consider the plate shape: Choose a plate that complements the dish, enhancing the visual appeal and overall dining experience.

  7. Highlight the ingredients: Showcase the freshness of the ingredients by arranging them thoughtfully, allowing each component to shine on its own.

  8. Emphasize the avocado: Display the creamy avocado slices in a manner that draws attention, adding a touch of sophistication to the dish.

  9. Create a focal point: Position the grilled chicken as the centerpiece, drawing the eye to the succulent, perfectly cooked protein.

  10. Add a touch of elegance: Incorporate a subtle drizzle of olive oil to add a luxurious sheen to the dish, elevating its overall presentation.

Essential Tools for Making Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad

  • Oven: An essential appliance for baking, roasting, and broiling a wide variety of dishes.
  • Grill pan or grill plate: Used for grilling the chicken to perfection, imparting a delicious smoky flavor.
  • Whisk: Ideal for blending and emulsifying the ingredients of the dressing.
  • Large jug: Perfect for mixing and storing the dressing, allowing for easy pouring.
  • Large, shallow dish: Ideal for marinating the chicken, ensuring it's evenly coated with the flavors.
  • Salad bowl: Used for mixing and serving the salad ingredients, providing ample space for tossing.
  • Tongs: Essential for flipping and handling the chicken while grilling.
  • Knife: Used for slicing and chopping ingredients such as the avocado, cucumber, and onion.
  • Cutting board: Provides a safe and stable surface for chopping and preparing ingredients.
  • Grill or grill pan: Used for grilling the chicken to perfection, imparting a delicious smoky flavor.
  • Serving platter: Ideal for presenting the grilled chicken avocado salad in an appealing manner.

Storing and Freezing Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad: A Guide

  • To store the pesto grilled chicken avocado salad, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, it's best to store the grilled chicken, salad greens, and dressing separately to maintain their freshness and prevent the salad from becoming soggy.

  • If you have leftover grilled chicken, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can use it in salads, sandwiches, or wraps for a quick and tasty meal.

  • The basil pesto dressing can be stored in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Give it a good shake or stir before using it to redistribute the ingredients.

  • Unfortunately, this salad does not freeze well due to the delicate nature of the salad greens and the avocado. The texture and flavor of the salad will be compromised if frozen.

  • If you want to prepare the salad in advance, you can grill the chicken and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Prepare the dressing and store it separately. When ready to serve, simply assemble the salad with the prepared ingredients and toss with the dressing.

  • To keep the avocado fresh and prevent browning, squeeze some lemon juice over the cut surfaces and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can add the avocado just before serving the salad.

How To Reheat Leftover Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad

  • The best way to reheat leftover pesto grilled chicken avocado salad is to separate the components and reheat them individually. This will ensure that each ingredient maintains its optimal texture and flavor.

  • Start by removing the chicken from the salad and place it in a microwave-safe dish. Cover the dish with a damp paper towel to prevent the chicken from drying out. Microwave the chicken on high for 1-2 minutes, or until it's heated through.

  • If you prefer, you can also reheat the chicken in a skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil or water to the pan to keep the chicken moist. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is warmed through.

  • For the salad greens, it's best to keep them cold to maintain their crispness. If the greens have become slightly wilted, you can refresh them by placing them in a bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes for a couple of minutes. Drain the greens and pat them dry with a paper towel before reassembling the salad.

  • The avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion can be left at room temperature if you plan to consume the salad within an hour. If you need to store the salad for longer, keep these ingredients in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.

  • When you're ready to serve the reheated salad, slice the avocado and assemble the salad components in a bowl. Drizzle the reserved pesto dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine.

  • If the dressing has thickened in the refrigerator, you can thin it out by whisking in a small amount of warm water until it reaches the desired consistency.

  • Top the salad with the reheated chicken, crumbled feta cheese, and a sprinkle of fresh basil or parsley. Serve the salad with lemon wedges on the side for a bright, citrusy flavor.

Interesting Fact About Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad Recipe

Pesto grilled chicken avocado salad is a versatile dish that can be customized with various ingredients such as grilled vegetables, nuts, or different types of cheese to suit individual preferences.

Is Making Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad at Home Cost-Effective?

This pesto grilled chicken avocado salad recipe is moderately cost-effective for a household. The use of simple and readily available ingredients like chicken thigh fillets, avocado, and romaine lettuce keeps the cost reasonable. However, the inclusion of feta cheese and basil pesto may slightly elevate the overall cost. The dish offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures, earning a solid 8/10 rating. The approximate cost for a household of four people is around $25-$30, making it a reasonable option for a flavorful and satisfying meal.

Is This Grilled Chicken Salad Healthy or Unhealthy?

The pesto grilled chicken avocado salad recipe is a healthy and nutritious meal option. Here's why:

  • The salad base consists of romaine lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes, which are all low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Grilled chicken provides lean protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body
  • Avocado is a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease
  • The homemade dressing uses olive oil, which is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants
  • Feta cheese adds a tangy flavor and provides calcium for strong bones

However, there are a few areas where the recipe could be improved to make it even healthier:

  • Reduce the amount of salt in the dressing to lower sodium intake
  • Use a whole grain or gluten-free alternative to the romaine lettuce, such as quinoa or brown rice, to increase the fiber content
  • Add more colorful vegetables to the salad, such as bell peppers or carrots, to boost the nutrient profile
  • Swap the feta cheese for a lower-fat alternative, such as goat cheese or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast
  • Use skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs to reduce the fat content further

Editor's Opinion on This Delightful Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad

This recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The basil pesto dressing adds a burst of freshness to the grilled chicken and avocado salad, while the feta cheese provides a creamy and tangy element. The crisp romaine, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy cucumber create a refreshing base for the dish. The use of lemon juice and fresh basil adds a zesty and aromatic touch, enhancing the overall appeal. This recipe is a perfect balance of savory, tangy, and herbaceous notes, making it a satisfying and well-rounded dish.

Enhance Your Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for pairing with the pesto grilled chicken avocado salad.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest: Tender asparagus spears grilled to perfection and topped with a zesty lemon zest, a refreshing side dish to accompany the pesto grilled chicken avocado salad.
Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing: A colorful and refreshing fruit salad with a sweet and tangy honey lime dressing, a delightful contrast to the savory flavors of the pesto grilled chicken avocado salad.

Delicious Alternatives to Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate the vegetables in a zesty herb dressing before grilling them to perfection on skewers.
Mango Salsa Chicken: Top grilled chicken with a refreshing and tangy mango salsa for a burst of tropical flavor.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: Simmer ripe tomatoes and fresh basil in a creamy broth for a comforting and flavorful soup.
Berry Cobbler: Bake a medley of fresh berries with a sweet biscuit topping for a delightful and comforting dessert.

Appetizers and Desserts That Complement Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Savory mushrooms stuffed with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs, baked to perfection.
Bruschetta: Crisp slices of toasted baguette topped with a vibrant mixture of ripe tomatoes, garlic, basil, and balsamic glaze.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will satisfy any chocolate lover's cravings.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with tender baked apples and a crispy oat topping. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful contrast of temperatures and textures.

Why trust this Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad Recipe:

This recipe offers a tantalizing combination of flavors and textures, making it a delightful choice for any meal. The basil pesto dressing infuses the dish with aromatic herbaceous notes, while the succulent grilled chicken adds a satisfying protein element. The creamy avocado and tangy feta cheese provide a luscious contrast, enhancing the overall palate experience. With the freshness of romaine lettuce and the burst of sweetness from grape tomatoes, this salad is a harmonious blend of wholesome ingredients. The meticulous attention to detail in the preparation and presentation ensures a delightful dining experience, earning the trust of discerning food enthusiasts.

Share your thoughts on this Pesto Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know how it turned out for you!
FAQ:
Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thigh fillets?
Yes, you can definitely use chicken breast instead of thigh fillets. Just be mindful of the cooking time, as chicken breast tends to cook faster than thigh fillets.
Can I make the dressing in advance?
Absolutely! You can make the dressing in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just give it a good shake or stir before using it.
Can I use a different type of cheese in the salad?
Of course! Feel free to use your favorite cheese in the salad. Goat cheese, mozzarella, or even shredded Parmesan would work well with the flavors of the salad.
How long can I marinate the chicken for?
You can marinate the chicken for at least 15 to 30 minutes, but if you have the time, marinating it for up to 2 hours will allow the flavors to infuse even more.
Can I grill the chicken outdoors instead of using a grill pan?
Absolutely! Grilling the chicken outdoors will give it a delicious smoky flavor. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time based on your grill's heat and the thickness of the chicken breasts.

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