Sweet and salty and oh-so-perfect for spring or summer, this strawberry chicken salad is light, flavorful, and loaded with nutrients from fresh strawberries, avocados, crisp greens, and tender chicken.
The easy homemade poppy seed dressing adds the perfect tang of flavor and pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the strawberries, the creaminess of feta, and the crunch of candied almonds. A healthy, quick, and easy 20-minute lunch or light dinner that is perfect for the warm days ahead.
Table of contents
- Delicious Strawberry Recipes
- Why You'll Love Chicken and Strawberry Salad
- Why This is the Best Strawberry Salad Recipe
- How to Make Strawberry Chicken Salad
- Make Ahead
- Recipe Variations
- What to Serve with Strawberry Chicken Salad
- How to Store Leftover Lettuce Chicken Salad
- More Fruity Salad Recipes
Delicious Strawberry Recipes
I love a great salad and this one is not only healthy and delicious but uses my favorite fruit of the season - strawberries! It's packed with fresh and flavorful ingredients that make the sweet strawberry flavor pop. Topped with an easy tangy poppy seed dressing it knocks this spring strawberry salad out of the park.
There are so many things you can make with strawberries. I've used them to make pancakes and smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and cookies and cakes for dessert. And I can't forget to mention those absolutely delicious refreshing summer cocktails. My favorite recipes have got to be my strawberry banana smoothie bowl, strawberry lemonade bars, strawberry lemonade, and of course, strawberry margaritas.
Why You'll Love Chicken and Strawberry Salad
Hey, strawberry lovers, you'll really enjoy this recipe! Whether you have garden-fresh strawberries to use up or you snagged a bunch on sale, chicken strawberry salad is both sweet, salty, earthy, tangy, and filling.
It's the mix of ingredients that makes this salad stand out. Whether you call it Strawberry Almond Salad, Avocado Strawberry Salad, or Strawberry and Feta Salad, this is a winner for a light lunch or dinner any time of year.
Why This is the Best Strawberry Salad Recipe
Quick and Easy - when you start with a rotisserie chicken. It can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. What mom wouldn't love that?
Healthy - The added chicken makes this strawberry and feta salad chock full of lean protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fat.
Delicious - This salad covers all the bases with a mix of everyone's favorite fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
This strawberry and feta salad is the perfect light meal for the warm weather of spring and summer!
For the chicken strawberry salad:
- Mixed greens - or opt for arugula, romaine or kale
- Crispy cooked bacon
- Yellow bell pepper
- Cooked chicken - use a rotisserie chicken for a quicker, easier salad
- Fresh strawberries
- Avocado - add right before serving to prevent browning and mushiness
- Crumbled feta - or sub in goat cheese or blue cheese
- Slivered almonds - candied for added sweetness and crunch
- Poppy Seed dressing
The bacon, which can also be sprinkled on top, is totally optional but it gives the salad a little salty taste which is a nice addition to the sweetness.
For the poppy seed dressing:
- Olive oil
- White wine vinegar - champagne vinegar can also be used
- Sugar - or opt for honey
- Dried mustard - or substitute 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- Poppy Seeds
- Salt - to enhance flavor
- Yogurt - or sub in mayonnaise to make it more creamy
I love the tangy flavor the poppy seed dressing adds to the freshness of the salad but really any nice light dressing will work. Other choices are raspberry vinaigrette, balsamic dressing, and strawberry poppy seed dressing.
How to Make Strawberry Chicken Salad
For the salad:
- Place the chicken, sliced strawberries, cucumber, bell pepper, avocado, feta cheese, bacon, and candied almonds in a large bowl.
- Toss well.
For poppy seed dressing:
- In a medium bowl or a mason jar with a lid, mix oil, vinegar, sugar, dried or Dijon mustard, and salt. Add in yogurt or mayonnaise.
- Add grated shallots.
- Pour in poppy seeds.
- Whisk or shake well.
Drizzle the poppy seed dressing over a serving of plated salad for the perfect finishing touch.
Chop and prepare all the individual ingredients and store them in separate containers in the fridge.
Then when you're ready to make the salad, all you have to do is put everything in a bowl and toss the salad.
Like with any salad, this one can be made to suit your taste. Here are some ways to change up this salad:
- Chicken: Leftover chicken breast, grilled chicken, roasted chicken, or canned chicken.
- Cheese: Goat, feta, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, or Monterey jack.
- Dressing: Poppy seed, balsamic, red wine vinaigrette, or strawberry dressing.
- Lettuce: Arugula, kale, romaine, spinach, or a combination of lettuces.
- Nuts: Pecan or walnut. Or make candied almonds (see the recipe card below) or candied pecans.
- Toppings: Omit toppings you don't care for or add ones you enjoy on a salad. Croutons would add a little crunch.
How to Store Leftover Lettuce Chicken Salad
It's best to store this salad without the dressing. Dressed salads tend to wilt and get soggy.
So if you're planning to keep some for later, only add the dressing to what you'll be eating. Also, avocado turns dark so it's a good idea to remove any pieces and then add fresh avocado slices right before eating the leftover salad.
Keep leftover chicken salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Strawberry Chicken Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- 4-5 handfuls mixed greens
- 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- ¾ cup cucumber, chopped
- ½ cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1-½ cups cooked chicken, chopped (I used a rotisserie chicken or you can use leftover chicken or turkey)
- 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1 avocado, chopped
- ⅓ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds, candied (see note)
Poppy Seed Dressing
- ½ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar or honey
- ½ teaspoon dried mustard or 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon shallot, grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons plain yogurt or mayonnaise
- Place the greens in a large bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients and toss well.
Poppy Seed Dressing
- Add all ingredients to a medium mixing bowl or a mason jar with a lid.
- Shake well.
- Lightly drizzle dressing over salad, either in the larger bowl or over individual servings. Serve additional dressing on the side.
- Best served immediately after applying the dressing.
This post has been updated and was first published on May 2, 2018.