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Chicken Caprese Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette

Chicken Caprese Salad is an easy, 20 minute, no-cook meal that’s bursting with fresh summer flavors. It’s perfect for busy weeknights.

Chicken Caprese Salad plated over a bed of fresh greens

Traditional Caprese Salad: Side Dish or Entree?

I love traditional caprese salads. The combination of tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil are so good together. Then, add in that drizzle of balsamic glaze over the top of the salad and you have yourself a tasty treat!

Typically, when I make a caprese salad recipe at home or order one in a restaurant, it’s as a side dish or starter. That’s because a traditional caprese recipe doesn’t include a meat protein (such as chicken), so it tends to be on the relatively lighter side.

However, I thought it would be even more delicious to put together a main course version of a classic caprese salad. And, I have to say, this caprese-inspired recipe tastes absolutely amazing!

How to Make This an Entree Salad

To turn this into an entree salad, I simply added chicken to the traditional caprese recipe and served everything over a bed of mixed greens. You know I love easy recipes that are also incredibly tasty, and this recipe checks both of those boxes! Simple salad ingredients and little “cooking” time to put together.

For the chicken, I bought a rotisserie chicken for ease of use. I used a combination of meat from the chicken breasts and chicken thighs. I think the combo of juicy chicken breast meat with the fattier dark meat really compliment each other.

However, any cooked chicken that you have on hand will work well. If you happen to have leftover grilled chicken, that would be particularly delicious.

Now, the traditional caprese recipe will have a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of a slice of fresh tomato. But, to make this recipe easier to make (and eat), I cut all of the ingredients into bite-sized pieces and tossed it all together (including the chicken).

For example, I still wanted fresh tomatoes, but not sliced or diced. So, I went with grape tomatoes and cut them in half. I consider grape tomatoes to be very juicy, sweet tomatoes and that, along with their size, makes them perfect for this recipe.

For the mozzarella, you can use fresh mozzarella balls and cut into bite-sized pieces, but I like using fresh mozzarella pearls. They are perfect little bite-sized pieces of cheese and they take no effort at all!

These simple ingredients go over a bed of mixed greens and you are ready to finish with the balsamic vinaigrette.

Ingredients for the Chicken Caprese Salad in a mixing bowl

How to Make a Balsamic Vinaigrette

To dress the salad, I make a quick and easy balsamic vinaigrette. It just takes a few ingredients including Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, olive oil and a little salt and pepper.

You can either quickly whisk together these ingredients in a small bowl or put all of the ingredients in a covered glass jar and shake it up until it’s well-combined. At this point, dress the salad and finish off with some fresh basil.

(Note: I don’t like my salad to have too much dressing on it, so I only use about half of what I make. Any leftover dressing that you have can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks and used on any of your favorite salads.)

Make This Salad Vegetarian or Not?

I know some say that the cheese is enough of a protein and is filling enough. But, others see a dish like this as vegetarian so think it isn’t as filling.

The great thing is that you can make this salad with or without the chicken. It’s a great recipe either way and a perfect easy weeknight dinner, regardless. This may become a favorite salad in your house in no time!

Chicken Caprese Salad in a serving bowl garnished with fresh basil leaves and is next to a bowl with mixed greens

Tips and Tricks

  • This salad can be made ahead of time. Prepare each of the ingredients and store them separately in the refrigerator. Assemble the salad right before you’re ready to serve it.
  • I like to use fresh mozzarella pearls. If you can’t find them at your grocery store, use whatever fresh mozzarella cheese you can find, cutting it into small, bite size pieces.
  • Rotisserie chicken is my go-to for this recipe, but leftover grilled chicken is also a great choice.
  • I love to serve this salad with these easy Classic Popovers or this Simple Sourdough Focaccia Bread.

Ingredients Needed to Make Chicken Caprese Salad

Full instructions can be found below in the recipe card

  • Fresh garlic cloves – This is used in the vinaigrette, so I suggest either grating the cloves with a microplane grater, which is my preferred way, or mincing them into tiny pieces so that no one bites down on a big piece of raw garlic.
  • Dijon mustard – This acts as an emulsifier for the vinaigrette.
  • Balsamic vinegar – I like to use this for its bold flavor. But, if you don’t have any on hand, red wine vinegar is a good substitute.
  • Olive oil – Make sure you use a quality olive oil, like extra virgin. Since this is the base of the salad dressing you want something that tastes really good.
  • Dried Italian seasoning – Adds great flavor to the dressing.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Grape tomatoes – You could substitute cherry tomatoes or roma tomatoes.
  • Fresh mozzarella pearls – If you can’t find these, any fresh mozzarella will work as long as you cut it into bite-size pieces.
  • Cooked chicken – Rotisserie chicken works great.
  • Fresh basil – Adds freshness and brightness to the flavors in the salad.
  • Mixed greens – I using mixed greens because of the tender texture and the fresh flavor. However, you can also use a spring mix or even chopped romaine lettuce if that is what you have on hand.

How to Make Chicken Caprese Salad

  • In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, mustard, vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  • Once everything is well combined, slowly whisk in olive oil.
  • Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, chicken and basil in a large bowl.
  • Add a little dressing at a time and keep tossing, until salad is well coated ( you probably won’t use all of the dressing).
  • Serve salad over mixed greens.
  • Garnish with black pepper, if desired.

Plated Chicken Caprese Salads

Yield: 4

Chicken Caprese Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette

Chicken Caprese Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette

Chicken Caprese Salad is an easy, 20 minute, no-cook meal that's bursting with fresh summer flavors. It's perfect for busy weeknights.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 3/4 lb cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces (rotisserie chicken works great)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • mixed greens

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, mustard, vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  2. Once everything is well combined, slowly whisk in olive oil.
  3. Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, chicken and basil in a large bowl. 
  4. Add a little dressing at a time and keep tossing, until salad is well-coated ( you probably won't use all of the dressing).
  5. Serve salad over mixed greens.
  6. Garnish with black pepper, if desired.

Notes

  • To make the dressing even quicker, you can combine all of the dressing ingredients in a glass jar and shake until well-combined.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 616Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 761mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 33g

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