Hello and welcome to Djalali Cooks. No matter what time of year, but especially in the warmer months, we love chicken salad. I like to make a big batch and have it in the fridge for a few days for an easy, quick lunch or snacking. While Alex likes to make a sandwich, I prefer to spoon it on crackers. Every batch I make is always a little different depending on what’s in the fridge. One way I hadn’t yet made chicken salad is with balsamic. We have balsamic marinated roasted chicken and a balsamic dressing; along with crunchy veggies and fresh herbs. Let’s get right to it: Easy Balsamic Chicken Salad.
Using leftover chicken is a great idea for chicken salad, but it’s not a bad thing to bake off a pound or two of chicken breasts or thighs just for chicken salad. Which is what I did today. A few weeks ago we made Roasted Balsamic Chicken and Artichokes. I made up a batch of the marinade from that recipe and let 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinate overnight. I then baked the thighs at 400 degrees for about 20-23 minutes.
For the veggies, we are keeping it easy with 5 small ribs of celery (leafy parts included) and about half of a red onion, diced. Then we have pickled pepperoncinis, fresh tarragon and dill. Other great additions would be green bell pepper or diced carrot.
Dice the chicken thighs and add to a large mixing bowl with the celery, onion, and pepperoncinis.
For the dressing, we have a mayonnaise base, with balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Whisk that together and add 1/4 teaspoon each onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt and black pepper.
Whisk again and add a good shake of Italian seasoning. Mix in the Italian seasoning and set the dressing aside.
Chop the fresh herbs, we have tarragon and dill. You can use any combination of herbs you like: basil, oregano, thyme, parsley… We just want about 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs.
Pour the dressing on the chicken salad and give it a thorough mix to evenly coat everything in the dressing.
Then sprinkle on the fresh herbs and give it another good mix.
Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the flavors mingle and then serve however you like! As I mentioned at the top, I like to have it as light lunch or dinner with crackers – snack style. I added a few stray grape tomatoes to my serving.
Easy Balsamic Chicken Salad
This Easy Balsamic Chicken Salad is definitely easy! It’s tangy and refreshing. There are so many varieties of chicken salad out there, I am happy to add a new one to my go-to list. I love the creativity making chicken salad offers: different veggies add new flavor and texture combinations, fresh herbs enhance the flavors to give even more combinations. The dressing can be whatever you like – a vinaigrette or mayo-based – enhance that mayo with flavored vinegar or lemon to give it extra zing. Sky’s the limit with Chicken Salad!
I hope today’s post has given you some Easy Chicken Salad inspiration! Mix it up with what you like and let me know how it goes for you! Take care and be well, friends! xo Kelly
A Few Items for Making and Storing Your Chicken Salad
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Easy Balsamic Chicken Salad
A comfort food perfect for the warmer months, Easy Balsamic Chicken Salad is tangy and rich with plenty of crunch and fresh herby flavor.
- Balsamic Marinated Chicken
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp. Balsamic glaze, store-bought
- 1 tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 1 tsp. Honey
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 5 Large Garlic Cloves, pressed or minced
- 1 tbsp. Fresh Thyme
- 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
- 6-8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- 3/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- 3 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1-2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
- Balsamic Chicken Salad
- Baked and cooled Balsamic Chicken Thighs, diced
- 5 Ribs Celery, diced (including leafy parts)
- 1/2 Red Onion, diced
- 1/4 cup Sliced Pepperoncini Peppers
- 1 tbsp. Chopped Fresh Tarragon
- 1 tbsp. Chopped Fresh Dill
Place the chicken thighs in a gallon-size zipper lock bag.
In a large measuring cup combine olive oil, balsamic glaze, tomato paste, honey, lemon juice, minced or pressed garlic, fresh thyme, dried oregano and smoked paprika. Whisk these ingredients together to get an emulsified marinade. Then pour the marinade into the bag with the chicken. Carefully squeeze the air out of the bag and seal the bag. Let this sit on the counter to marinate for an hour, or put it in the fridge if you're planning a longer marinate.
Bake the chicken on a sheet tray in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until the internal temperature of the thighs reaches 170 degrees.
Creamy Balsamic Dressing
Whisk all dressing ingredients together, set aside.
Balsamic Chicken Salad
In a large bowl combine the onion, celery, chicken and pepperonicini peppers.
Pour dressing over salad and mix well to thoroughly coat salad ingredients in dressing.
Add chopped fresh herbs and mix until combined.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
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