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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: 483 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 Nikki,
      Honey will work well for you in place of the fig preserves. Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx

  1. 5 stars
    Made it! So very good! This will be a regular year round! The dressing makes it! And those croutons! Loved it –
    As well as the whole family. I’ve already told a few friends to make it and I’m about to post on Instagram to tell more!

    1. Hi Diane,
      Happy Wednesday!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!!🏝 xTieghan

    2. I really loved the marinade suggested for the chicken in this recipe. When Palisade peaches are in season, I think I’ll grill some as another ingredient. We love salad so it’s wonderful to have some new options. Thanks for another delicious dinner.

      1. Hey Kathy,
        Awesome!! Love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for making it and sharing your feedback!! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    We tried this recipe tonight, and our very picky family unanimously agreed that it’s a keeper.

    1. Hey Jayme,
      Love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for trying it out and sharing your feedback!! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    Just made this! The dressing is amazing and brings everything together. How long would leftover dressing in the fridge be good for?

    1. Hey Liz,
      Awesome!! Thanks so much for your review:) Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a try! I would say the dressing is good for up to a week in the fridge, I would just keep the bacon separate. xx

    1. Hi Francine,
      The dressing is really up to you, that’s the great thing about salads, I really think this specific dressing makes the salad. But, you could also do a balsamic vinaigrette. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    This was an amazing salad! Usually we don’t have salad for dinner but this had enough components where it was perfect for dinner. Every component was absolutely delicious and honestly I and my husband think this is the best salad ever!

    1. Hi Tina,
      Happy Sunday!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a lot for trying it out and sharing your review! xxT

    1. Hey Kristina,
      Awesome!! Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback! Love to hear that it was enjoyed! Have the best weekend:)

    1. Hey Kaitlyn,
      So glad you enjoyed this summer salad, thanks for trying it out! Hope you are off to a great Friday!! xTieghan

    1. I’ve made many of your salad recipes and have to say this is my new favorite. Especially loved the dressing and croutons! Wonderful salad for summer. Thanks Tieghan!

      1. Hey Natalie,
        Thank you so much for making so many recipes, I am so glad to hear you have been enjoying them!! Have the best Friday!! xTieghan

    1. Hi Alisha,
      Amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback and making this recipe:) I love to hear that it was a winner! xTieghan

    2. I can’t wait to make this tomorrow for some new friends of ours. For the croutons should I let the ciabatta sit out overnight to dry out or is fresh, soft ok?

      1. Hi Lindsay,
        Fresh, soft bread is okay to use, it will crisp up for you! I hope this recipe turns out amazing:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Emily,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, so glad to hear it was enjoyed and that you’ll be making it throughout the summer! Have a great day! xx