Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Mediterranean Salad with Chicken

An easy Mediterranean salad made with leafy greens, salty feta cheese, protein-packed chickpeas, briny olives, fresh chopped veggies, and shredded rotisserie chicken, then topped with a tangy red wine vinaigrette. Fix this for a quick dinner in about 15 minutes or prep it ahead of time for a healthy make-ahead lunch you can eat cold at work. 

Easy Mediterranean Salad with Chicken

One of my go-to recipes lately has been a big leafy salad topped with chopped fresh veggies, crumbled cheese, some pickled or briny veggies, leftover shredded chicken & a quick homemade vinaigrette. I can prep it ahead of time (with the dressing on the side so it doesn't get soggy) for a healthy cold lunch or fix the whole salad right before dinner in about 15 minutes.

Quick, no-cook meals like salads, make ahead lunch boxespressed sandwiches, and wraps are a lifesaver when it's 100+ degrees outside, and the last thing you feel like doing is standing over a hot stove or grill. The humidity tends to zaps the motivation out of me. Can you relate? If you live in the South I know you can!

Honestly, I fix salads all year long when I'm craving leafy greens (baby greens are packed with good-for-you nutrients) and I always make sure to fix a quick homemade dressing like blue cheese, ranch, apple cider vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette, or red wine vinaigrette to drizzle on top.

TIP: Many of the vitamins in leafy greens are fat-soluble so it's important to serve them with a bit of healthy fat (like olive oil, avocado oil, etc.) so your body can absorb them properly. Don't skip the dressing if you can help it!

Mediterranean Salad with Chicken, Olives, Cucumber & Chickpeas

Side salads are also great for balancing out warm comfort food meals like one-pot spaghetti, penne al baffopot roast, chicken noodle soup, and BBQ ribs. Especially if you drizzle your mini salads with a homemade vinaigrette since the acidic element helps to cut through rich (fatty/creamy) flavors in the main dish.

For some odd reason, my better half is currently obsessed with eating big leafy salads for dinner, which completely baffles me. (Maybe his tastebuds changed?! I have no idea, but I'm not complaining. This gives me hope that he'll eventually enjoy winter squash.)

So, I decided to take advantage of his eagerness to eat salads right now & came up with today's recipe, which is Mediterranean themed and uses some of his current favorite ingredients like red wine vinegar and pickled veggies (two things I always keep stocked in my pantry).

To keep things simple, I used my homemade red wine vinaigrette recipe to top the salad, which is what I make on the regular for chicken hummus naan wraps or chopped summer side salads (with cucumber, tomato & onion). It's my favorite dressing right now and I've gotten so many rave reviews from folks who tried my naan wraps, that I'm sure you'll love it.

Easy Mediterranean Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Ingredients For Mediterranean Salad with Chicken

To make this easy Mediterranean-inspired salad, you'll need the following ingredients:
  • Greens: My favorites are chopped romaine or mixed baby greens (spinach, kale, red lettuce, etc.)
  • Fresh Veggies: I love the trifecta of cherry or grape tomatoes, cucumber (English or Persian), and red onion because they add juiciness, crunchiness & heat to the salad.
  • Cheese: Lots of salty full-fat feta cheese is my go-to here because of the Mediterranean theme
  • Olives: I use kalamata olives since they're my favorite for pizza, sandwiches + meat & cheese appetizer platters. The Greek restaurants I frequent tend to only put 1-2 kalamata olives on their house salads, which always makes me feel deprived (anyone else?!) so I tend to use a generous amount at home.
  • Pickled Peppers: This adds tang & heat to the salad, two elements I can't get enough of these days. My favorite pickled peppers right now are peperoncini (I use them for Mississippi pot roast, pizza, and sandwiches). If you don't like peppers & want more protein, these pickled red beet eggs would be fabulous! 
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette: I use my easy homemade recipe that takes less than 5 minutes to make in a small mason jar with olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, maple syrup (or your favorite sweetener), crushed red pepper, fresh green onion, salt & pepper.
  • Cooked Chicken: I often buy a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred it at the beginning of the week for using in easy weeknight meals. However, this salad would be extra delicious with pan-fried or grilled chicken that's been marinated in a Greek or Italian dressing. (Let me know if you try this!)
  • Chickpeas (Optional): I like to keep canned chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) in my pantry for soups so it's easy for me to toss some onto this salad for extra protein. I add these about 50% of the time when I fix this salad.
TIP: If you have any leftover cucumber, red onion, feta & chickpeas after making this salad, use them to make a Jennifer Aniston salad. I love it when different recipes share the same ingredients. :) 

Mediterranean Chicken Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette (Quick & Easy Recipe)

How to Make Mediterranean Salad

This leafy salad is super easy to fix on a busy weeknight or prep the week before when you want healthy make-ahead lunches. Just do the following:
  1. Make the vinaigrette dressing (this can be done minutes before the meal or days ahead of time & stored in the fridge)
  2. Shred or chop your cooked chicken (or do this ahead of time when you're prepping for other meals)
  3. Prep the fresh veggies + crumble the cheese (I like to use English or Persian cucumbers these days because they don't require peeling)
  4. Grab your jarred or canned ingredients (olives, peppers, chickpeas)
  5. Assemble the salads (everything except the dressing) - At this point, you can cover them tightly and store in the fridge to eat later in the day or week (always store the dressing on the side).
  6. When you're ready to eat, toss the salads with vinaigrette and serve immediately! (Hint: They'll taste even better with some crusty buttered bread for wiping up the extra dressing + some easy white wine spritzers or cold brew iced tea to wash it all down.)

recipe, how to make, cucumber, chickpea, olives
main course
Yield: 2 main course salads or 4 side salads

Mediterranean Salad with Chicken

prep time: 15 Mcook time: total time: 15 M
An easy Mediterranean salad made with leafy greens, salty feta cheese, protein-packed chickpeas, briny olives, fresh chopped veggies, and shredded rotisserie chicken, then topped with a tangy red wine vinaigrette. Fix this for a quick lunch or dinner in about 15 minutes or prep it ahead of time for a simple & healthy meal.


  • 4 ounces of chopped romaine lettuce OR spring mix (baby greens like spinach, arugula, red lettuce, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup of halved cherry OR grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced cucumber (I like Persian or English)
  • 1/4 cup (or more) of thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas (optional - I used drained & rinsed canned chickpeas)
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled full-fat feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced pepperoncini peppers or banana peppers
  • 2 tablespoons of pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
For serving:


How to cook Mediterranean Salad with Chicken

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the red wine vinaigrette in a glass jar with a lid. Shake several times to dissolve the ingredients & emulsify the oil, then set aside.
  2. Assemble the salads by layering the greens onto two large plates (or multiple small plates for side salads), and top with equal amounts of tomato, cucumber, red onion, chickpeas (optional), feta cheese, peperoncini, olives, chicken (omit for side salads), and a few sprinkles of cracked black pepper and/or red pepper flakes (optional).
  3. When you're ready to eat, either drizzle the tops of the salads with red wine vinaigrette, toss the salad in a large bowl with the dressing, or serve the vinaigrette on the side for folks to pour on themselves. 


Make-Ahead Tip: If you're making this Mediterranean salad in advance, keep the dressing and salad ingredients separate and store both (tightly covered) in the fridge until ready to eat.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Did You Make This Recipe?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how it went! Please leave a comment here on the blog, on Pinterest via the "tried it" feature, or use the hashtag #therisingspoon & tag @therisingspoon when you share pics to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. It helps me to get feedback on my creations and it totally makes my day. :)

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An easy Mediterranean salad made with leafy greens, salty feta cheese, protein-packed chickpeas, briny olives, fresh chopped veggies, and shredded rotisserie chicken, then topped with a tangy red wine vinaigrette. Fix this for a quick lunch or dinner in about 15 minutes or prep it ahead of time for a simple & healthy meal.

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MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: The information included on this website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions expressed here are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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