Keeping things fun, easy, and healthy with this Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken and Avocado Bacon Salad. Spicy chicken fingers, breaded in salty pretzel crumbs, oven baked and tossed together with fresh greens, avocado, and crispy bacon. Add a creamy honey mustard dressing and lots of parmesan for a colorful salad that’s anything but boring. This is quick to make and beyond delicious. It’s that salty, spicy pretzel chicken and sweet honey mustard dressing. The combo is hard to beat.
Here is what I have come to learn about myself. I really, really like recipes that remind me of past adventures…usually when I was a kid. Chicken fingers? Yup, I love them. Mac and cheese with the crunchy edges? 100%. Chicken and rice…Dad’s pasta dish? Yep, all some of my favorite recipes, and each from childhood.
And then this salad? While it’s not something I ever ate growing up, it does remind me of the days I’d spend with my family in Florida over spring break. I know I’ve been talking a lot about Florida and spring break this last week, but clearly, I can’t help it. It’s spring break season and geez, I really wish I had some plans to go to Florida. But I don’t, so instead, I’m making recipes that bring back all my favorite memories.
It’s fun…and delicious. Because let’s be real, the foods we ate when we were young were GOOD.
So this salad. When my family traveled to Florida for spring break we’d always stay with my Nonnie and Grandpa. My Nonnie and I were super close, so while mom basked in the sun and my brothers played in the pool with my dad, Nonnie and would sneak off, go do some shopping, then stop in somewhere for lunch.
When I was really young, I’d order chicken fingers nine times out of ten, but my Nonnie always switched up her order depending on where we were eating. Sometimes pasta, sometimes a sandwich, and then sometimes a salad. For some reason, I remember her eating a chicken salad with bacon. I’m feeling like it was a Cheesecake Factory Salad? Yep, that sounds about right.
Anyway, since I’ve been thinking so much about those trips and also trying to put ideas for lunches together, I took Nonnie’s salad and my chicken fingers and I combined the two. And you know? I really, really wish Nonnie was around to give this a taste test, because I think she’d fully approve. The bacon would really seal the deal for her and the pretzel chicken? Well, let’s just say that the salty pretzels would put the salad over the top. This salad has all of her favorite things. Mine too.
The Details…Start with the Chicken
What I love about this fun salad is that for how much it has going on, it’s actually really easy.
Start with the chicken. Finely crush the pretzels into crumbs to bread the chicken. The finely crushed pretzels are key. They flavor the chicken with the perfect amount of salt, which pairs wonderfully
with the sweet and tangy honey mustard dressing. I make the crumbs spicy with a little chili powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne. They are delicious.
Tip? Pulse the pretzels in the food processor to really break them down into a fine crumb. If you don’t have a food processor, just add the pretzels to a ziplock bag, then step on the bag with your feet to finely crush them. Trust me, this works. You can even just use the actual pretzel bag and step on that. It’s what dad used to do when he’d make potato chip chicken when I was a kid. This trick is an oldie but a goodie.
Bake the chicken in the oven until it crisps all over. My secret is to lightly drizzle the chicken with olive oil before it bakes. This helps the coating to really crisp up nicely in the oven. You can’t skip this step, it’s crucial.
While the Chicken is Baking…
Toss the salad and make the dressing. For the salad, I kept it simple, mixed greens, tomatoes, lots of avocados, crispy bacon, and parmesan. Nothing fancy, but always a solid combo when it comes to salad. The avocado plus bacon is a favorite. Totally delicious.
And then the dressing. Hands down this is one of my favorite dressings. It’s extra creamy, sweet, and tangy, but with a kick from some cayenne. The tahini makes it extra creamy and the honey keeps things sweet, which is a nice balance to the spicy. And when you toss it all together with the pretzel chicken?
It is SO GOOD! Crunchy chicken, salty bacon, creamy avocado, and a sweet, creamy, and spicy dressing that really completes the salad and makes every bite special.
So you see? Salads can be delish…and fun!
Looking for other spring salad recipes? Here are some of my favorites:
Lastly, if you make this Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken and Avocado Bacon Salad be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken and Avocado Bacon Salad.
Calories Per Serving: 394 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 pound boneless chicken tenders
- 1 cup finely crushed salted pretzel twists
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- kosher salt and black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
- 6 cups mixed greens
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan
- 1-2 avocados, diced
- 4 slices cooked thick cut bacon, crumbled
- 1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Combine the pretzels, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and a pinch of pepper to a bowl. 3. Dredge the chicken through the crumbs, pressing to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.4. To make the salad. Combine the greens, tomatoes, parmesan, avocados, and bacon in a salad bowl.5. To make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.6. Toss the chicken in with the salad. Add a little of the dressing. Enjoy!