This Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing is the perfect quick and easy dinner salad for any night of the week. Grilled chicken tossed with a tangy bacon-herb dressing, greens, grilled chicken, peppers, corn, tomatoes, creamy avocado, and crumbled cheese! It’s colorful and so delicious. Enjoy this for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch – it’s always good. Or serve this up at your next backyard dinner with friends.
With the start of summer 2022 just days away I’m in full-on summer cooking mode and really loving the recipes I’m working on! And this salad is a real highlight. So many yummy flavors, textures, and colors in this quick-to-make dinner salad.
My motto this summer is super flavorful dinners that have a lot happening, but don’t require too much time in the kitchen or too much cooking. It’s kind of a tricky recipe formula to figure out. But for the recipes where I’m able to get it right, it’s perfection!
I’m excited to share that I hit my mark.
Growing up, summertime dinner salads were on a weekly rotation at our house. My dad would do big pasta salads or salads filled with the leftovers in the fridge.
This salad is loosely inspired by dad’s summer salads – just taken up a notch!
Here are the details
To start, this recipe requires pre-cooked chicken, peppers, and corn. The idea is that you already have the leftovers in the fridge. If you’re like my family, we always have some grilled or roasted chicken on hand. And I have roasted peppers in the pantry!
Of course, if you need to grill up chicken the day of, I’m giving you my recipe for herb grilled chicken in the notes. It’s my go-to grilled chicken. Simple, but great tossed up in salads. Just a mix of olive oil, grainy dijon, balsamic vinegar, herbs, and garlic.
When you have all the salad ingredients together, make the dressing. The dressing really is the heart of this salad. Crisp up some bacon, then toss it with olive oil, vinegar, shallots, garlic, thyme, and the secret – a small number of fig preserves. The preserves add a touch of sweetness that compliments the salty bacon.
Next, the croutons. A last-minute addition on my end, but one that’s so delicious! The torn ciabatta bread gets crisped up in the bacon grease, then tossed with garlic and sea salt. They add a crunch to every bite and are totally addicting.
Now, assemble everything. The salad base is mixed greens and or romaine. Whatever you prefer. I use mixed greens – spinach, arugula, spring mix, and romaine are all good for a balance of flavor and crunch. Then, grilled chicken, peppers, corn, sweet cherry tomatoes, and creamy avocado.
The final layer is the cheese. I LOVE to use crumbled blue cheese, but I know this isn’t for everyone. You can certainly use feta, goat cheese, or cubes of cheddar, all would be delicious.
Everything together is SO GOOD! Grilled chicken, crunchy garlic croutons, salty bacon, creamy avocado, and a savory, tangy dressing that really completes the salad and makes every bite special.
Looking for other summer salad recipes? Here are a few ideas:
Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Pasta Salad
Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad with Tomatoes and Burrata
Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken and Avocado Bacon Salad
Melon Basil Burrata Salad
Marinated Tomato Feta Orzo Salad Jars
Pesto Chicken and Avocado Bacon Salad Wraps
Lastly, if you make this Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
Calories Per Serving: 483 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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1. To make the dressing. Combine all ingredients except the bacon in a glass jar and whisk until smooth. 2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain onto a paper towel. Stir the bacon into the dressing. 3. To make the croutons. Heat the same skillet used to cook the bacon over medium heat. Add the bread and toss in the bacon grease. If needed add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Cook until toasted, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, then remove from the heat and season with salt. 4. To assemble the salad. In a large salad bowl, combine the greens, chicken, peppers, corn, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and croutons. Toss well with the dressing. Enjoy!
Herb Grilled Chicken: In a large bowl, toss 1 pound of chicken tenders with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Set your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until lightly charred and through, turning halfway through cooked cooking, about 10 to 12 minutes.