Warm chicken salads for fall

The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of enjoying fresh, healthy salads. But the crisp autumn weather requires heartier salads made with the waning bounty of late summer and warmer ingredients perfect for fall. Here are three satisfying warm chicken salad recipes created by Paulette Mitchell, author of the internationally acclaimed 15-Minute Gourmet series.

 The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet

Warm chicken salad recipes

Recipes courtesy of Paulette Mitchell from her cookbook The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet, available in October 2008.

Warm Chicken Salad with Peaches and Blueberries

Serves 4

Celebrate the fruits of late summer and serve this artfully composed salad on a warm fall evening. If you prefer, cook chicken breasts on your outdoor grill rather than indoor on a skillet. Cut them into strips before adding to this colorful, satisfying salad.

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon honey mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:
1 tablespoon canola oil
12 ounces chicken breast tenders, halved lengthwise and crosswise into strips
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
8 cups mesclun (mixed baby greens)
2 peaches, cut into 3/8-inch wedges
1 cup fresh blueberries

1. Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sprinkle with lemon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned and thoroughly cooked.

2. Meanwhile, spread the greens on four plates. Arrange the warm chicken strips and peach slices over the greens. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with blueberries. Serve immediately.

Warm Chicken Stir-fry Salad with Gingered Plum Dressing

Serves 4

Chinese wheat-flour noodles, with their curly shape and tender texture, form a delectable foundation for the vegetables and chicken, all flavored with a hint of ginger and plum. To make the most efficient use of your time, start a pot of boiling water to cook the noodles before you start the chicken.
1 tablespoon canola oil
12 ounces chicken breast tenders, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups asparagus in 2-inch pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
3 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2/3 cup Gingered Plum Dressing (see below)
4 ounces Chinese wheat-flour noodles
3 cups salad spinach


1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, asparagus and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the green onions and garlic, continue to cook for 1 more minute. The chicken should be lightly browned and thoroughly cooked.

2. Reduce heat to low. Add 1/3 cup dressing and stir gently until warm, taking care that the vinaigrette does not evaporate.

3. Drop noodles into a pan of boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain well and rinse with cool water. Drain again and pour into a medium-sized bowl. Add the remaining dressing and toss until evenly combined.

4. To serve, spread noodles on four plates and add a layer of spinach. Top with warm stir-fried chicken and vegetables and serve.

Gingered Plum Dressing: Whisk together 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, 2 tablespoons Chinese plum sauce, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Grilled Chicken and Pear Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Serves 4

The pronounced flavor of hazelnut oil is especially pleasing on bitter greens such as Belgian endive. An artful arrangement of greens topped with chicken, pears and hazelnuts creates a memorable salad indeed.

For the chicken:
16 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Olive oil from brushing
Dash of salt and pepper

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons hazelnut oil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper or to taste
Salt to taste

To complete the recipe:
2 large ripe pears, halved lengthwise, each half cut into 3/8-inch slices
Olive oil for brushing
20 leaves Belgian endive (2 heads)
12 leaves leaf lettuce
Fresh ground pepper, crumbled feta and toasted hazelnuts for garnish

1. Heat the stovetop grill pan over high heat. Lightly brush both sides of chicken breasts with oil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes per side or until lightly browned and thoroughly cooked. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

2. While the chicken is cooking, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. Lightly brush the pear slices with oil and cook on the preheated grill pan for 10 to 15 seconds per side or just until the grill markings become light brown. Transfer to a plate.

3. To assemble the salads, arrange the endive and leaf lettuce on four plates. Slice the chicken into thin strips and arrange atop with greens along with the pear slices. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, sprinkle with pepper and garnish with feat and hazelnuts.

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