There comes a time during the summer when it gets so hot that turning on the oven is a really bad idea. That’s when summer salads become dinner’s best side dish. If you add some protein, like chicken, they turn into dinner’s best main dish.
These dozen salad recipes use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, or poached chicken so you never have to heat up the kitchen with the heat from the oven. They’re also full of plenty of fresh summer produce and tasty, quick-to-throw-together dressings and vinaigrettes that pull all their flavors together.
Chicken and Avocado Salad With Buttermilk Dressing
This simple composed salad has a ranch-like dressing and toasts that are like giant croutons. It’s a satisfying yet light meal for hot days.
Chicken Salad With Tahini Dressing
Radishes, cucumbers, and toasted sesame seeds bring the crunch to this quick and easy salad on a bed of romaine lettuce. Top the salad with shredded chicken and drizzle with a homemade tahini dressing, the secret to making this salad stellar.
Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Making this a chopped salad—where every ingredient is cut small and about the same size—means you get Tex Mex-inspired flavor in every bite. Chop romaine, red bell pepper, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, tortilla chips. Toss with a homemade vinaigrette seasoned with cumin and lime. Top with cotija cheese. Dig in.
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Add smoky summertime flavor by grilling the chicken and the bread croutons before adding them to a classic Caesar salad. Make homemade Caesar dressing or use store-bought dressing to make it a little easier on yourself.
The origins of this salad go back to Los Angeles in the 1930s, made famous by Robert Cobb of the former L.A. landmark Brown Derby restaurant. It’s now an American staple, full of the flavors of bacon, chicken egg, tomato, blue cheese, and avocado on top of a trio of greens.
Smashed Cucumber Chicken Salad
On a warm night, this Chinese-inspired cucumber salad makes is a complete, cool meal. It comes together in 35 minutes, but 30 minutes of that is hands off while English cucumbers, or other thin-skinned cucs, drain of excess water.
Chicken Pozole Salad
Traditionally, pozole (or posole) is a Mexican soup or stew of Mexico made with hominy and pork or chicken. This dish has all the fixings of chicken posole, in salad form. Plenty of veggies—romaine, cabbage, radishes, and green onions, plus avocado—create a bed that holds spiced chicken breast and sautéed hominy. Toss with a homemade vinaigrette and top with cotija cheese.
Chicken Salad With Tangy Miso Dressing
Juicy orange slices add brightness, and fennel slices bring crunch. A light miso dressing that’s barely sweet ties it all together.
Mediterranean Chicken Salad
Chopped poached chicken, lots of olives, capers, and red onions soak in red wine vinegar and olive oil to create this versatile salad. Serve it as-is, on endive leaf boats, on top of a bed of greens, or mixed with pasta.
Chow Mein Noodle Chicken Salad
A gingery dressing brightens up this American salad that takes inspiration from Chinese cuisine. Crunchy peanuts, Chow Mein noodles, and crisp lettuce join chicken in this salad that you can make ahead if you keep the salad, the noodles, and the dressing separate until right before serving.
Curried Chicken Salad With Mango
Here’s a luncheon classic that still holds its own. Apple slices, fresh grapes, raisins, and almonds all contribute contrasting textures to keep each mouthful lively.
Chicken Salad with Roasted Bell Peppers and Toasted Almonds
Inspired by the flavors of Spain—with roasted bell peppers, toasted almonds, garlic, and parsley—this salad with shredded chicken mixes with oil and vinegar. Serve alone, on a bed of greens, or use it as a sandwich filling.