My Mediterranean Chicken Salad is a delicious, easily prepared meal that is full of vibrant, fresh flavours and health benefiting nutrients. It is a high protein, low-carb meal which is perfect for lunch or a light dinner.
Why we love this recipe:
You can customise this Mediterranean Chicken Salad to suit your taste. If you don’t have an ingredient, swap it for something you do have. Use baby spinach in place of the rocket/arugula, or, add celery or red pepper for crunch.
And if you happen to have some leftover rotisserie chicken, this is a great way to use it. Feel free to make this salad your own.
This Mediterranean Chicken Salad is:
- Light and fresh flavoured.
- A healthy, easily prepared meal.
- Made from ingredients readily available from the supermarket.
- A family friendly meal – one which adults and children alike will enjoy – and that’s always a plus!
- Full of a great variety of tastes and textures.
There are so many ways to enjoy it. Have it as a warm Chicken Salad for an easy, nutritious dinner. Or, cold, for a light lunch. It’s ideal for packed lunches or great served with warm pita bread to make wraps. For a healthy option, make lettuce wraps.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Chicken tenderloins – I find the tenderloins to be more reliably tender than chicken breast. You can use chicken breast but it is inclined to become dry if even a little overcooked.
Cherry tomatoes – are juicy with a bright, fresh flavour. They are naturally sweet, containing a higher amount of naturally occurring sugar than their larger relatives.
Kalamata olives – I prefer to buy those with a stone in as I feel they have better flavour. However, to save time, you may prefer a pitted olive.
Red onion – sometimes called Spanish onions or Purple onions, they have a mild, sweet flavour making them ideal to use in salads.
Rocket/arugula – this delicious salad green has a strong, peppery flavour and is great in a salad.
Avocado – adds delicious creamy texture and heart-healthy fats.
Feta cheese – traditionally a Greek sheep milk feta would be used but you can use the feta of your choice.
Fresh mint – adds vibrant, fresh flavour and aroma.
Dried oregano – Whilst in most instances, cooks prefer to use fresh herbs, oregano is one time when many cooks prefer the dried herb. The flavour of dried oregano is more subtle than the fresh and better complements the other ingredients without dominating them.
Extra virgin olive oil – my preference is to use extra virgin olive oil for the extra flavour it provides. In addition, it is at the heart of the much-praised Mediterranean Diet being an excellent source of healthy fat and health-benefiting antioxidants. Use the best olive oil that you have.
Lemon juice – use freshly squeezed, the flavour is superior to the bottled variety.
Step by Step Instructions:
- To begin, add prepared tomatoes, olives, onion, feta, mint and oregano to a large bowl.
- Season the salad to taste with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Toss to combine and set aside.
- Next, remove the white tendon at one end of the chicken tenderloin. Place the chicken between two sheets of cling film.
- Gently pound to an even thickness until they are almost double in size.
- Heat a grill pan or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush or spray the chicken on both sides with olive oil.
- Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried oregano.
- When the pan is ready, cook the chicken 1-2 minutes per side and set aside.
- Add the rocket/arugula and avocado to the plate and top with the tomato salsa. Slice the chicken and add it to the salad. Serve immediately.
Tips for Success and FAQs:
As the chicken cooks very quickly, you will need to prepare the salad ingredients before you begin to cook.
The secret to cooking these tenderloins is to add them to a hot pan over medium-high heat. The exact time depends on the thickness of the chicken. If it sticks when you go to turn it, it is not quite ready. Cook them in batches if necessary. If you overcrowd the pan when cooking the chicken it will release juices and “stew” rather than char a little.
The key is to avoid overcooking them. They are so thin they will cook in just a few minutes. After cooking, set them aside to rest for a short time.
There is a small, white, tough tendon at the end of the tenderloin. You will need to remove it with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors. There’s no need to remove it all; the tendon inside the meat is very thin and you won’t notice it after cooking but it is important to remove the larger, thicker piece. Don’t try to pull it out or the meat may fall apart.
You could add some finely grated lemon zest, rosemary, sage or thyme. Or spice it up a bit; try a dash of cayenne pepper, paprika or even a coating of za’atar.
Yes, you can. If using chicken breasts, lay the breast flat on a cutting board. Place the palm of your hand flat on the chicken and carefully cut horizontally through the breast, giving you two pieces. Place between two pieces of cling film and use the flat side of a meat mallet to lightly pound each piece to a more even thickness. Be careful to not overcook the chicken breast as it tends to become tough and dry if it becomes even a little overcooked.
You can prepare the separate components and refrigerate, in one bowl, all the salad ingredients except rocket/arugula, tomatoes and avocado. The rocket should be refrigerated but kept separate from the other ingredients to avoid it wilting. Keep the tomatoes at room temperature as they are flavourless if refrigerated and prepare the avocado at the last moment to avoid it oxidizing. If possible, remove the salad from the refrigerator a half-hour or so before serving – if it is very cold, the flavours are dulled. It is best to add the dressing just prior to serving. Of course, if you are using the salad for a packed lunch, you will need to make it in advance and refrigerate it.
More delicious recipes for you to try:
Try some more of our favourite easy chicken dishes:
- Thai Chicken Larb
- The Perfect Roast Chicken
- Thai Noodle Salad
- Greek Style Chicken and Salsa
- Thai Style Chicken and Noodle Meatballs
You will love this Mediterranean Chicken Salad. It is fresh, tasty and delicious as well as being family friendly. Let me know in the comments below when you have given it a try!
Mediterranean Chicken Salad
For the Salad:
- 1 cup (200 g) cherry tomatoes – halved
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives – pitted and halved
- 1/2 small red onion – finely sliced into half moon shapes
- 1/3 cup feta cheese – crumbled or diced
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves – finely sliced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 cups rocket leaves/arugula
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil See Note 1
- 1 tbsp lemon juice – freshly squeezed See Notes 1 and 2
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
For the Chicken:
- 4 chicken tenderloins See Note 3
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil See Note 1
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- Add the prepared tomatoes, olives, onion, feta, mint and oregano to a large bowl. Season the salad to taste with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Toss to combine. See Note 4.
- Next, remove the white tendon at one end of the chicken tenderloin. Place the chicken between two sheets of cling film and gently pound to an even thickness until they are almost double in size.
- Heat a grill pan or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush or spray the chicken on both sides with olive oil and season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried oregano. See Note 5.
- When the pan is ready, cook the chicken 1-2 minutes per side or until cooked through and set aside. See Note 6.
- Arrange the rocket/arugula and avocado on your serving plates. Top with the tomato salsa.
- Slice the chicken and add it to the salad. Serve immediately.
- The Australian tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. You may need to adjust your measurements accordingly.
- If you don’t have fresh lemon juice you could substitute it with a vinegar of your choice.
- You could also use 2 chicken breasts. If using chicken breasts, lay the breast flat on a cutting board. Place the palm of your hand on the chicken and carefully cut horizontally through the breast, giving you two pieces. Place between two pieces of cling film. Using the flat side of a meat mallet lightly pound each piece to a more even thickness.
- I keep the rocket/arugula and avocado separate from the tomato salsa for presentation, but you can also toss them all together.
- If you are not using a non-stick frying pan, you should add some olive oil to the pan, bring to the required heat and add the seasoned chicken.
- The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken. It is important to not overcook the chicken or it will be tough and dry. Resting the chicken on a warm plate, covered loosely with foil, for about 5 minutes, will help keep the chicken tender.
- Please note, the nutritional information is based on two servings. The nutritional information is an estimate only.