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No matter the time of year, I’m always craving a salad. There is nothing more satisfying than crunchy greens with a delicious dressing, especially if the salad is full of “extras.”
Enter this citrus chicken salad! It’s a salad that has a bright citrus flavor, full of sharp sweetness on top of a bed of greens, piled with perfectly roasted chicken. This salad is filling, it’s healthy, but most of all it’s just plain good.
This avocado citrus dressing is my take on a green goddess dressing and packs a serious flavor punch. I’ve been known to make extra batches of this dressing just to use as a dip. It’s that good!
The ingredients in this citrus chicken salad
- Chicken breast is the undeniable all-purpose meat to always have on hand. Chicken is a great lean protein, but does not always have a lot of flavor. To remedy this, the chicken’s flavor is turned up by first browning it on the stovetop. This creates a crust on the exterior of the chicken. It’s then roasted in the oven to perfectly cook without drying out.
- Dijon mustard will always find a use in my kitchen. In this recipe, it adds a touch of bright flavor to the chicken and a little funk to the dressing.
- Orange juice provides a sweet, slightly acidic flavor to the chicken along with a brightness in the dressing. Since the salad focuses on citrus, it’s appropriate to include it in multiple ways.
- Avocado is both a topping to the salad and used in the dressing. It gives a rich, creamy texture to both.
- Cashews are also used both on the salad (for a crunch) and blended into the dressing. Cashews add fat to the dressing and give it a beautlful consistency.
- Garlic and scallion help balance the the sweetness of the dressing.
- Orange and grapefruit are segmented to remove their peel and skins, leaving only the fruit. This is a great way to showcase the beauty of the fruit and make them easier to eat. If available, choose a variety of oranges as each can lend a different flavor.
- Romaine lettuce is the green of choice since it is always crunchy and provides a crisp fresh texture as the base of the salad.
Tips to prepare the salad
The best plan of action when making this salad is to begin with the chicken on the stovetop. Once the chicken is browned, with a slightly crispy crust, and busy roasting in the oven, there is plenty of time to blend up the dressing.
A blender is key in the dressing becoming smooth and creamy. For easier clean-up, use an immersion blender.
I will often eat a salad as a meal and this one is a perfect example of having all the groups we need. There are healthy fats, lean protein, and greens. Beyond the health aspects, this is super delicious and will have you preparing it time and again.
Watch how to make this citrus chicken salad
Citrus Chicken Salad
For the chicken
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 breasts)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the dressing
- 1 avocado
- ⅓ cup roasted or raw cashews
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 scallions
- 2 tbsp roughly chopped dill
- ½ cup loose basil leaves
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
For the salad
- 1 large head romaine lettuce
- 3 oranges (navel, Cara Cara, blood) peeled and segmented
- 1 grapefruit peeled and segmented
- ⅓ cup roasted cashews
- 1 avocado sliced
- 2 oz goat cheese crumbled
For the chicken
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Sprinkle chicken breast with salt and pepper. Squeeze fresh orange juice on top and brush with Dijon mustard. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken breast. Sear until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Once seared on both sides, place in the preheated oven and roast until the chicken registers 160°F. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 breasts), ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp fresh orange juice, 1 tbsp olive oil
For the dressing
- In a large measuring glass or blender container, combine the avocado, cashews, orange juice, Dijon mustard, garlic cloves, scallion, dill, basil, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. If too thick, add 1 tbsp water until desired consistency. Dressing can be made one day in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The dressing will oxidize and darken with the avocado.1 avocado, ⅓ cup roasted or raw cashews, ½ cup fresh orange juice, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 cloves garlic, 2 scallions, 2 tbsp roughly chopped dill, ½ cup loose basil leaves, ⅓ cup olive oil, ¾ tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 2 tbsp rice vinegar
For the salad
- Remove large ribs from the lettuce and chop. Place chopped lettuce on a large platter and dress with the desired amount of dressing. Top with the sliced chicken, segmented oranges and grapefruit, sliced avocado, cashews, and goat cheese. Serve immediately.1 large head romaine lettuce, 3 oranges (navel, Cara Cara, blood), 1 grapefruit, ⅓ cup roasted cashews, 1 avocado, 2 oz goat cheese