Strawberry season is here, and this strawberry chicken salad with avocado and creamy balsamic dressing is one of the most delicious ways to take advantage of spring’s best produce! Sweet strawberries, creamy avocado, and smoky grilled chicken are a match made in foodie heaven. Best of all, this healthy, vibrant dinner salad is ready in just 30 minutes!
It’s salad season. HUZZAH!
This is most excellent news for me, as I would happily eat salads all damn day every day from now until summer’s end, and then well into autumn as well. At this very moment I have four containers of soil sprouting little lettuce seedlings, ready to fulfill all of my wildest salad desires.
Cameron, on the other hand, isn’t such a fan. He moans and groans at the sight of even the smallest pile of lightly dressed leaves on his dinner plate. What a buzzkill.
Enter this strawberry chicken salad. It’s packed with tender baby spinach, sweet strawberries, fresh mozzarella, scads of fresh basil, crisp cucumber, and creamy avocado, then topped with smokey charcoal grilled chicken and drizzled with creamy balsamic vinaigrette.
As you can imagine, this salad was a game-changer. This salad he declared “a salad I’d totally eat every week!”. Mwahahaha. Victory is mine.
Strawberries are coming into their peak, and while shoving them into your piehole whole and fresh is totally recommended, this avocado strawberry chicken salad is a mighty fine way to incorporate them into your dinner or brunch plans.
This recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes, loaded with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, and full of flavor in every bite. Whatcha waiting for? Let’s do this salad thing!
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Strawberry Chicken Salad Recipe Notes
Before starting the salad base, fire up your grill and prep your chicken. I highly recommend a charcoal grill for the smokey factor, but regular grilled chicken works too. I keep the chicken preparation pretty low key and simply brush it with olive oil on both sides, and then dust with a very generous pinch of salt, and even more generous pinch of cracked black pepper. There’s so much flavor happening in the salad base that the chicken needn’t compete.
After you’ve sorted your chicken situation, prepare a pound of fresh strawberries. Refrain from eating half while slicing them, or be smart and just purchase two pounds. Your choice.
Rinse ’em, pat ’em dry, then hull and slice. You can do slices or quarters, whatever suits your fancy.
Toss the spinach and some fresh, whole basil leaves into a salad bowl. I used a full cup of basil because I love it so hard, but adjust to your preference. Keep it nice and easy and throw in whole leaves. You’ll be rewarded for your
laziness efficiency with basily bursts in every bite.
Top off those greens with some diced english cucumber, fresh mozzarella balls, and sliced strawberries, then toss. I use bocconcini – those are the tiny little guys packed in water. They’re so tender, and really easy to pierce with a fork.
Behold this bowl of stunning spring produce.
Set that guy aside for a moment while you toss some chicken onto the grill. Grill it up for 7-8 minutes per side, then set aside and allow it to rest while you get the rest of the salad ready to rock.
To make the perfect portion of strawberry chicken salad, divide the above salad base into four bowls. Top each bowl with 1/2 a diced avocado, half a grilled chicken breast, and a drizzle of creamy balsamic dressing. Then dive in, and enjoy!
Tips for Making the BEST Strawberry Chicken Salad
- Season the chicken first thing, then allow it to rest at room temperature while the grill heats up and you prepare the salad base. This will act as a quick “dry brine”, resulting in juicier chicken.
- If you have a charcoal grill, it makes the BEST grilled chicken. The chicken is crispy, charred, and smokey, and pairs so well with sweet strawberries.
- Allow your chicken at least 5 minutes to rest while you prepare the last bits of the salad. This resting period will lock in those juices.
- Wait until the last moment to slice the avocado to avoid browning.
- Baby spinach and strawberries are total foodie BFFs, but use what you have or what you love. Baby kale, mixed greens, romaine – all are fair game!
- Fresh mozzarella is rad in this recipe, but again, use what you love. Goat cheese, blue cheese, and feta would each be excellent substitutions.
- Use a mason jar to prepare your vinaigrette, and then cover and shake it up. Because there are two types of fat in the dressing, you need a very vigorous whisk or shake to get it completely emulsified. And shaking is fun!
Need more inspiration?
If you’re looking for more chicken salad inspiration, check out my BLT Chicken Salad, or this paleo Chicken Shawarma Salad – the tahini dressing is swoon-worthy. For a strawberry chicken mash-up fit for feasting, try my Strawberry BBQ Sauce over bone-in chicken pieces. Serve it with a side of Strawberry Cucumber Salad or a round of Strawberry Basil Margaritas if you really want to get jiggy with the season.
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Strawberry Avocado Chicken Salad
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 5 oz baby spinach
- 1 c fresh basil leaves
- 1 lb strawberries hulled and sliced
- 1/2 english cucumber diced
- 8 oz bocconcini or fresh mozzarella pearls halved
- 2 avocados pitted and diced
- Place the baby spinach, fresh basil leaves, strawberries, english cucumber, and fresh mozzarella into a salad bowl and toss. Set aside.
- Place the chicken on the grill, then cover and grill 7-8 minutes. Tip: if using a grill pan, cover with an inverted cast iron skillet as a "lid". Flip the chicken breasts using tongs, then grill on other side 7-8 more minutes until fully cooked through, and the temperature of the chicken reaches 160* using an instant read thermometer. Remove the chicken from the grill and set aside on a cutting board to rest.
- While the chicken is resting, prepare the dressing. In a mason jar, combine the balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, yogurt, honey, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Place the lid on the jar and then shake vigorously for 1 minute until the dressing is emulsified.
- Slice the chicken against the grain. Top each salad with half a diced avocado and one quarter of the chicken breast slices. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons (or more or less to taste) of creamy balsamic vinaigrette and serve immediately.
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