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This Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing is the perfect quick and easy dinner salad for any night of the week. Grilled chicken tossed with a tangy bacon-herb dressing, greens, grilled chicken, peppers, corn, tomatoes, creamy avocado, and crumbled cheese! It’s colorful and so delicious. Enjoy this for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch – it’s always good. Or serve this up at your next backyard dinner with friends.

Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing | halfbakedharvest.com

With the start of summer 2022 just days away I’m in full-on summer cooking mode and really loving the recipes I’m working on! And this salad is a real highlight. So many yummy flavors, textures, and colors in this quick-to-make dinner salad.

My motto this summer is super flavorful dinners that have a lot happening, but don’t require too much time in the kitchen or too much cooking. It’s kind of a tricky recipe formula to figure out. But for the recipes where I’m able to get it right, it’s perfection!

I’m excited to share that I hit my mark.

Growing up, summertime dinner salads were on a weekly rotation at our house. My dad would do big pasta salads or salads filled with the leftovers in the fridge.

This salad is loosely inspired by dad’s summer salads – just taken up a notch!

Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing | halfbakedharvest.com

Here are the details

To start, this recipe requires pre-cooked chicken, peppers, and corn. The idea is that you already have the leftovers in the fridge. If you’re like my family, we always have some grilled or roasted chicken on hand. And I have roasted peppers in the pantry!

Of course, if you need to grill up chicken the day of, I’m giving you my recipe for herb grilled chicken in the notes. It’s my go-to grilled chicken. Simple, but great tossed up in salads. Just a mix of olive oil, grainy dijon, balsamic vinegar, herbs, and garlic.

When you have all the salad ingredients together, make the dressing. The dressing really is the heart of this salad. Crisp up some bacon, then toss it with olive oil, vinegar, shallots, garlic, thyme, and the secret – a small number of fig preserves. The preserves add a touch of sweetness that compliments the salty bacon.

Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing | halfbakedharvest.com

Next, the croutons. A last-minute addition on my end, but one that’s so delicious! The torn ciabatta bread gets crisped up in the bacon grease, then tossed with garlic and sea salt. They add a crunch to every bite and are totally addicting.

Now, assemble everything. The salad base is mixed greens and or romaine. Whatever you prefer. I use mixed greens – spinach, arugula, spring mix, and romaine are all good for a balance of flavor and crunch. Then, grilled chicken, peppers, corn, sweet cherry tomatoes, and creamy avocado.

The final layer is the cheese. I LOVE to use crumbled blue cheese, but I know this isn’t for everyone. You can certainly use feta, goat cheese, or cubes of cheddar, all would be delicious.

Everything together is SO GOOD! Grilled chicken, crunchy garlic croutons, salty bacon, creamy avocado, and a savory, tangy dressing that really completes the salad and makes every bite special.

Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for other summer salad recipes? Here are a few ideas:

Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Pasta Salad

Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad with Tomatoes and Burrata

Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken and Avocado Bacon Salad

Melon Basil Burrata Salad

Marinated Tomato Feta Orzo Salad Jars

Pesto Chicken and Avocado Bacon Salad Wraps

Lastly, if you make this Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing, 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!

Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 550 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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Ingredients

Dressing

Salad

Instructions

  • 1. To make the dressing. Combine all ingredients except the bacon in a glass jar and whisk until smooth.
    2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain onto a paper towel. Stir the bacon into the dressing.
    3. To make the croutons. Heat the same skillet used to cook the bacon over medium heat. Add the bread and toss in the bacon grease. If needed add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Cook until toasted, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, then remove from the heat and season with salt.
    4. To assemble the salad. In a large salad bowl, combine the greens, chicken, peppers, corn, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and croutons. Toss well with the dressing. Enjoy!

Notes

Herb Grilled Chicken: In a large bowl, toss 1 pound of chicken tenders with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons grainy dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs, kosher salt and black pepper. Set your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until lightly charred and cooked through, turning halfway through cooking, about 10 to 12 minutes. 
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Comments

    1. Hey Madolyn,
      Totally fine to make the dressing ahead:) I hope this recipe turns out amazing for you, please let me know if you have any other questions! xT

  1. I made the dressing but it’s very thick. With 6 pieces of bacon, the dressing is really just cut up bacon with herbs on it. Is it supposed to be like that? There’s really no liquid leftover.

    1. Hi Heather,
      Yes, this is a thick dressing. You can always add more oil and vinegar to thin it out. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx

    1. Hi Deirdre,
      I just slice the corn off the cob, sometimes they stick together, completely not intentional:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx

  2. 5 stars
    This salad was great. I made it without the chicken or croutons (I just needed a fun side dish and I have gluten issues) and it was fabulous. The dressing is delicious and the corn, blue cheese, and grilled peppers make it something special. Will definitely be making this again with the chicken for a full meal.

    1. Hi Lindsay,
      Perfect! I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was a hit! xxT

  3. 5 stars
    For got to add my question to my review. In the video it looks like a vinegar was used in the dressing. Do you add white wine vinegar to the dressing?

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      The recipe calls for apple cider vinegar:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx