There’s no reason to sacrifice comfort food or flavor on a Whole30, and this BLT Chicken Salad is proof! It’s easy, fast (30 minutes!), and filling, and a dinner salad recipe you’ll return to again and again (Whole3 or not).
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I’ve been craving sandwiches like a madwoman lately. This it notable because I don’t really like sandwiches. Except for PB&J, which I craved constantly both times I was pregnant, and quickly became “meh” about when I wasn’t. Pregnancy is weird. But I digress.
So, sandwich cravings – my newest Whole30 oddity. I’m sure it has something to do with bread, and not being able to have bread, resulting in some unconscious desire to have bread in all it’s forms, and some sort of other psychology thrown in for good measure.
Whatever. I’m surely not eating a sandwich, but I am going to much on some comfort food, and even though it’s frigid outside, it’s gonna be a salad. With chicken. And bacon. And sun-dried tomatoes.
This tasty, crunchy, rockin’ wonder of goodness, otherwise known as a Whole30 compliant BLT chicken salad, is my jam. It’s fast, filling, packable, snackable, and crazy easy. I’ve been eating it for three days and I regret nothing. Are you ready for dinner in 30 minutes? Excellent. Let’s do this.
How to Make this BLT Chicken Salad
Let’s get this flavor party started with some herby pan-seared chicken breasts.
Pat the chicken dry with some cotton or paper towels – this will help the herb coating stick, and will also ensure you get a nice, crispy sear on the exterior.
Set those aside, grab a ramekin, and whisk up some avocado oil and Italian spices. Using a pastry brush, evenly coat all sides of the chicken with the herb oil. It’ll be very thick, so it might need a little coaxing to go on evenly, but I have faith in your chicken breast smothering abilities.
Sauté the chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Four to five minutes on the first side, flip, four to five minutes on the other side. Cook ’em until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reaches 160°F, then remove from the pan and set aside on a plate to rest.
Yes, I use a thermometer and you should too. Undercooked chicken is gross (and dangerous). Overcooked chicken is also gross. Perfectly cooked chicken is rad. I cook my grilled or pan-seared chicken to 160°F, and by the time it’s done resting, it’s hit 165°F. Chicken perfection.
While the chicken is resting, add the diced bacon to the cast iron skillet and sauté until it’s browned and crispy. It will pick up some of the residual herbs from the chicken, and that’s juuuuust fine. Remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside.
By now your chicken should be fully rested, so go ahead and thinly slice those guys against the grain. Or dice ’em. Whatever works, it’s your salad, friends.
Last, but so not least, is the salad base. I used chopped romaine, but don’t feel restricted to my fresh green sensibilities. Use what you have, especially if what you have is something local and fresh from a CSA or farmer’s market. My first choice was spinach but we were out, so romaine it was.
Toss in some chopped cucumber, sliced red onion, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. If you have some avocado, throw that in too. When summer comes back to us, I’ll revisit this salad with fresh tomatoes. Winter tomatoes are simply unsatisfactory to me, and I love the extra tang that sun-dried tomatoes add. Just be sure to read your labels and select a brand that’s sugar free, and therefore Whole30 compliant.
Slather this hot delicious mess with some Whole30 compliant ranch dressing (I used this recipe from 40 Aprons, and it’s excellent) and you’re done. Have it fresh for dinner, or portion it out for a packed lunch.
Dietary Accommodations and Variations
- Naturally Whole30, paleo, and low carb
- Dairy free, nut free, and soy free
- Use fresh cherry tomatoes in place of sun-dried tomatoes when they’re in season
- Grill the chicken instead of pan-searing in a skillet
More Dinner Salad Recipes
- Chicken Shawarma Salad with Tahini Dressing
- Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Salad
- Steak Fajita Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette
- Roasted Vegetable Salad with Green Tahini
- Kale Chicken Salad with Apples and Warm Potatoes
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Grilled Italian Chicken Breast
BLT Chicken Salad
- 4 strips bacon, sugar-free for Whole30
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1/2 c sundried tomatoes
- 1/2 english cucumber, sliced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 1/2 c ranch dressing, Whole30 compliant optional
- Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk the avocado oil with the dried herbs. Brush the herbed avocado oil over the chicken breast, coating all sides.
- Reduce the skillet heat to medium high, then place the chicken breasts into the skillet. Sear 4-5 minutes; flip and sear on the other side an additional 4-5 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 160°F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside to rest while you prepare the remainder of your salad ingredients.
- Add the chopped bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat renders and the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- By now, the chicken will be rested enough that you can sliced it against the grain into ½” slices.
- In a large salad bowl, toss the romaine lettuce, sundried tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion.
- Divide the salad between four plates, then top with ¼ of the of the sliced chicken and ¼ of the cooked bacon. Dress each plate with 2 tbsp of ranch dressing and serve.
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