Dive into the Mediterranean with Our Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken Salad!


Everyday Culinary Delights

Looking for a refreshing and flavorful salad that bursts with the essence of the Mediterranean? Then look no further than this Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken Salad! This recipe is not just a salad; it’s a delightful culinary journey that brings the vibrant taste of the Mediterranean straight to your dinner table.

Packed with a medley of fresh vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocados, this salad boasts a delightful contrast of textures and tastes. Succulent grilled chicken, marinated in a zesty lemon herb dressing, sits atop the bed of greens, completing this protein-packed and satisfying meal.

For another delightful and healthy salad option, why not try our flavorful Farro and Broccoli Salad?

A Taste of History: The Mediterranean Influence

The Mediterranean region, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, is known for its rich culinary traditions. This cuisine emphasizes fresh, seasonal ingredients, with olive oil playing a starring role. This salad captures the essence of Mediterranean cooking with its focus on simplicity, fresh flavors, and healthy ingredients.

Gather Your Supplies and Get Cooking!

This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights or a light weekend lunch. Before diving in, let’s gather the necessary tools and ingredients.

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Large jug or bowl
  • Whisk
  • Shallow dish
  • Grill pan
  • Knife
  • Serving spoon
  • Large salad bowl

Serves 4: Prep Time 10 minutes, Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients: A Breakdown for Success

This recipe uses a variety of fresh and flavorful ingredients. Here’s a breakdown of each with some helpful substitutions:


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil: Olive oil is a staple of Mediterranean cuisine and adds a rich, fruity flavor. You can substitute another high smoke point oil, like avocado oil, if needed.
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon): Fresh lemon juice adds a burst of tangy citrus flavor that balances the other ingredients. Bottled lemon juice can be used in a pinch, but fresh is always preferable.
  • 2 tablespoons water: The water helps to thin out the marinade and dressing slightly.
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar: Red wine vinegar adds a touch of acidity and depth of flavor to the dressing. White wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used as substitutes.
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley: Fresh parsley adds a vibrant green color and a pop of freshness to the salad. Chopped cilantro or chives can be used as alternatives.
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil: Dried basil provides a warm, herbaceous flavor. If you have fresh basil on hand, use 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil instead.
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic: Garlic adds a savory and aromatic depth to the dish. You can adjust the quantity based on your preference for garlic intensity.
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano: Dried oregano brings a touch of earthy flavor characteristic of Mediterranean cuisine.
  • 1 teaspoon salt: Salt enhances all the other flavors in the dish. Adjust the amount to your taste.
  • Cracked pepper, to taste: Freshly cracked black pepper adds a touch of heat to balance the other flavors.


  • 4 cups Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried: Romaine lettuce provides a sturdy base for the salad. You can substitute other leafy greens like spring mix or baby spinach.
  • 1 large cucumber, diced: Cucumber adds a refreshing crunch and coolness to the salad.
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced: Roma tomatoes add a touch of sweetness and acidity. Cherry tomatoes or chopped heirloom tomatoes can be used as well.
  • 1 red onion, sliced: Red onion adds a bit of bite and sharp flavor to the salad. If you prefer a milder onion flavor, use a sweet onion or green onion instead.
  • 1 avocado, sliced: Avocado adds a creamy texture and healthy fats to the salad. Make sure your avocado is ripe but still firm.
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives (or black olives), sliced (optional): Kalamata olives add a salty and briny flavor that complements the other ingredients. You can use any type of olive you prefer, or omit them altogether.
  • Lemon wedges, to serve: Lemon wedges add a fresh touch and allow diners to adjust the acidity level to their preference.

Step-by-Step Guide to a Delicious Salad

Follow these easy steps to create your perfect Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken Salad:

  1. Marinate the Chicken: In your large jug or bowl, whisk together all the marinade/dressing ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, water, red wine vinegar, parsley, basil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour half of the marinade into a shallow dish. Add the chicken breasts (chicken breasts or thighs) and ensure they are coated evenly. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or up to 2 hours for deeper flavor. Reserve the remaining marinade in the jug for later.
  2. Prep the Salad: While the chicken marinates, wash and dry your romaine lettuce leaves. Tear or chop them into bite-sized pieces and place them in your large salad bowl. Dice your cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion. Add them to the salad bowl along with the sliced avocado (to prevent browning, you can toss the avocado with a bit of lemon juice). If using, slice your Kalamata olives and add them to the salad bowl as well.
  3. Cook the Chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your grill pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully remove the chicken from the marinade (letting any excess drip back into the dish) and place it on the grill pan. Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through and golden brown. An internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) ensures safe consumption.
  4. Assemble and Enjoy!: Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender chicken. Arrange the sliced chicken over the prepared salad in the bowl. Drizzle the reserved marinade (that was not used for marinating) over the salad and chicken. Toss gently to coat everything evenly. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.

Tips for Salad Success:

  • Use high-quality ingredients: Fresh, seasonal ingredients will produce the most flavorful salad.
  • Don’t overcook the chicken: Overcooked chicken can become dry and tough. Aim for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption and juicy results.
  • Let the chicken rest: Allowing the chicken to rest after cooking lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful bite.
  • Adjust the dressing to your taste: The reserved marinade creates a light and flavorful dressing. If you prefer a heavier dressing, you can whisk in a tablespoon of olive oil or a drizzle of honey.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them:

  1. Skipping the Marinating Step: Marinating the chicken infuses it with flavor and helps to keep it moist during cooking. Don’t skip this important step!
  2. Overcrowding the Grill Pan: If you overcrowd the pan, the chicken won’t cook evenly. Grill the chicken in batches if necessary.
  3. Using Unripe Avocado: An unripe avocado will be hard and flavorless. Choose an avocado that yields slightly to gentle pressure but is not mushy.
  4. Chopping the Avocado Too Early: Avocado browns quickly once exposed to air. To prevent browning, toss the avocado pieces with a bit of lemon juice after chopping, or wait to chop them until right before assembling the salad.
  5. Dressing the Salad Too Early: Dressing the salad too early can wilt the lettuce. Wait to toss the salad with the dressing until just before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?

Absolutely! Both chicken breasts and thighs work well in this recipe. Chicken breasts tend to be leaner, while thighs offer a richer flavor. Adjust the cooking time slightly based on the thickness of your chicken pieces.

Q2: How long should I marinate the chicken?

Ideally, marinate the chicken for at least 15-30 minutes. However, you can marinate it for up to two hours for even deeper flavor penetration.

Q3: What are some optional additions to this salad?

This salad is endlessly customizable! Here are some ideas:

  • Crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese adds a salty tang.
  • Chopped bell peppers for a touch of sweetness and extra color.
  • Kalamata olives are included in the recipe, but you can explore other types of olives like green olives or Manzanilla olives.
  • If you’re looking for a heartier salad, add cooked quinoa or brown rice.

Q4: Can I use a different type of lettuce?

Yes, you can substitute the Romaine lettuce with other leafy greens like spring mix, baby kale, or arugula.

Q5: How can I store leftover salad?

Leftover chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, leftover assembled salad is best enjoyed fresh as the lettuce can wilt over time.

A Final Note: A Taste of the Mediterranean at Home

This Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken Salad is a delightful explosion of fresh flavors and textures, transporting you straight to the heart of the Mediterranean with every bite. It’s a perfect weeknight meal that’s both healthy and satisfying. So, fire up your grill, gather your fresh ingredients, and get ready to create a culinary adventure in your own kitchen!

Leave a Comment