Weeknight Shorts: Summer Chicken Salad

I live in Wisconsin and most of our summer days begin cool and end warm, but not roasting. But sometimes, we get one of those scorchers that has temps in the 90s and heat indices in the 100s. And the last thing I'm looking to do just about then is fuss with dinner. I'm not quite in eat stuff cold out of the can mode, but I'm definitely wanting to keep it fresh and keep it simple. That's where my Summer Chicken Salad comes in.

This salad has you start with your best produce on hand to make a salad base that would, frankly, be fine on its own. But I like digging into the fridge and chopping up some leftover chicken - the grilled chicken thigh meat featured in these pics got sliced off the bone - and sun dried tomatoes. Toss those in a sauté pan with some spicy sauce and warm it up. Give it a taste and adjust as needed - then crown that salad with the chicken mixture and call it dinner!

I don't aim for meals like this every day, but I also recognize that we all need them sometimes. Whether it's blasted hot and humid or you've just had a rough day, sometimes you need a quick meal that will satisfy, fuel, and keep you from spending too much time making it happen. This one's for those days.

Summer Chicken Salad

  • 12 oz. mixed salad greens
  • ½ English cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • 3 sweet mini peppers, sliced into rings
  • 4 oz. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • ½ c. chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 c. chopped cooked chicken - leftover grilled, smoked, or rotisserie chicken is perfect
  • Thai chili-garlic paste, to taste

Arrange the salad greens, cucumber, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and goat cheese in a large serving bowl; chill until ready to serve.

Toss the sun dried tomatoes, cooked chicken, and Thai chili-garlic paste together in a skillet. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until warm. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

To serve, spoon the warm chicken and tomatoes over the assembled salad. You can forego a dressing or opt for a light vinaigrette or Thai peanut dressing. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes