Crispy Chicken Salad is among the more satisfying salads. I know lots of people who just eat the chicken and if some salad happens to end up on the fork so be it. The chicken is a welcome ingredient. It makes an appetizer into an entrée and it is convenient and full of all kinds of nutritional ingredients that you might miss out on if not for incorporating the protein into this type of meal.
The crispy chicken salad is a salad in the more traditional, green, leafy sense, but it uses chicken to add heartiness and substance. Chicken isn’t the only protein you can add to a salad, but it is the most popular. The chicken also can come in two ways: grilled or crispy. While that is a preference up to the individual, my personal focus with this recipe is on crispy chicken and especially on making sure the crispy chicken is crispy, but is it healthy?
Is Crispy Chicken Salad Healthy?
Grilled chicken gets the big round of applause for being a healthy option for salad. The elephant in the room with chicken salads like this is that salads are healthy, but what happens when you pile fried chicken onto it? The salad is still salad. It still contains all of those vital nutrients. Adding a few morsels of tasty fried chicken isn’t going to change that. Frying foods in oil is not the healthiest, but you know what? It’s the tastiest so I’ll take the compromise.
Besides that, this salad is exceptionally healthy. The ingredients are almost all highly nutritive and they add natural depth and variety of flavor to make a very pleasing blend of fruits and vegetables. Even the dressing is healthier than most. So, it has some bacon thrown into it. So what? The point is, you are getting a lot of good stuff on top of a couple of things that are less than ideal health-wise. It’s not worth throwing out the whole salad. It actually encourages healthier eating by including such healthy ingredients.
Making Crispy Chicken Crispy
Let’s talk about crispy chicken for a minute. Too often we see crispy chicken and we think that it’s synonymous with fried chicken. Crispy chicken is fried chicken, but fried chicken is not always crispy. How you cook and what you use are extremely important if truly crispy chicken is your goal. For me, a crispy salad deserves a crispy chicken and that’s what we are going to do.
Now if you are a fan of my chicken recipes, you know all about the three-part process of breading these tasty chicken tenders for the crispy chicken salad. The process is key to coating everything just right and making a lasting coating for your chicken that provides that incredible crunch just before you sink your teeth into that tender and moist chicken meat. The process alone doesn’t give it that crispy crunch. These mixtures that you cover your chicken in serve a practical function in cooking up just right. They also add some spicy zest that makes this chicken salad so exciting.
Not Mixed Greens
This salad owes a lot to its base of leafy greens. There are three different kinds blended into this salad mix. The diversity of the three different types of lettuce used in this recipe has an impact that you should not underestimate. This is a winning mix of greens, but fun fact: these are not mixed greens.
Believe it or not, mixed greens is actually a technical term. It’s got a pretty loose definition, but mixed greens always contain spinach. Not a lot of people know that, but when you say mixed greens, you are intentionally or unintentionally suggesting that your salad does contain spinach. You can put virtually anything else in mixed greens providing that the ingredients are fresh. Mixed greens as you find them on a restaurant menu just means that the salad is made with the chef’s seasonal selection of ingredients.
Chicken with Attitude
I like my chicken spicy and for it to have a little bit of zing. Part of the joy of making this chicken salad recipe is giving the crispy chicken that added bit of flavor. There is nothing worse than a perfectly prepared chicken that has no flavor when you bite into it. My goal here is if you accidentally bite into a piece of chicken that doesn’t have any dressing on it, you will still get a mouthful of flavor.
I don’t mess around when it comes to spicing things up, but this batch of chicken is a little more peppery than usual. I use traditional pepper and red pepper flakes in making the crispy chicken. Trust me, you’ll love it.
A Sweet and Zesty Finish
Lots of salad dressings are make-or-break for a salad. You could have all the perfect components to a hearty and nutritious, great-tasting salad and ruin it with the wrong dressing. I go with a sweet and tangy honey mustard dressing here because I feel that it does the best job of bringing the flavors forward and pulling all of the boldest components together. Keep extra on hand to use as a dipping sauce if you just want to make the chicken without the salad.
Ingredients to Make a Crispy Chicken Salad
- Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into bite size pieces
- Applewood bacon
- Grape tomatoes
- Red onion
- Cheddar cheese
- Iceberg lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Leafy green lettuce
For The Crispy Chicken
- Panko bread crumbs
- Garlic salt
- Slap Ya Mama®
- Red pepper flakes
- Vegetable oil
For The Honey Mustard Dressing
- Dijon mustard or yellow mustard
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
How to Make a Crispy Chicken Salad
For The Honey Mustard Dressing
- Add all ingredients into a cruet or salad dressing shaker. Shake to combine. Place in the refrigerator to chill until ready to use (might want to double the recipe, it’s that good).
For The Chicken Coating
- Start out by using 3 shallow containers. In the first one add flour, the second whisk buttermilk and egg together, and in the third add bread crumbs, tempura and seasonings, whisking ingredients together. Set aside.
- In a large frying pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add 8-10 pieces of chicken into the flour, then into the buttermilk mixture, next into the bread crumb mixture, and lastly, into the pan.
- Cook chicken until golden brown on all sides, approximately 4-6 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Don’t overcrowd the pan as it will lower the oil temperature and the chicken will not come out as crispy.
- Remove chicken from the pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until all chicken pieces have been cooked.
Assembling The Salad
- In a large bowl, toss all three types of lettuce, shredded cheese, onions, tomatoes, crispy bacon, diced avocados and add the chicken.
- Top with honey mustard dressing and enjoy.
Try This Delicious Chicken Salad Recipe with Crispy Fried Chicken and Honey Mustard Today
Here are a few more delicious salad recipes that can be found on the blog:
- BBQ Chicken Avocado Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing
- Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
- BBQ Bacon Broccoli Avocado Salad
- Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into bite size chunks
- 3 avocados, diced
- 8 strips Applewood bacon, cooked until crispy
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- ½ cup red onion, diced small
- 1-2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 cups iceberg lettuce, cut into bite size pieces
- 3 cups Romaine lettuce, cut into bite size pieces
- 3 cups lefty green lettuce, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup tempura
- 1 tbsp garlic salt
- 2 tsp Slap Ya Mama® seasoning
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1-2 cups vegetable oil
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard or yellow mustard
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp garlic salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
Add all ingredients into a cruet or salad dressing shaker. Shake to combine. Place in refrigerator to chill until ready to use. (might want to double the recipe, it's that good)
Start out by using 3 shallow containers. In the first one add flour, the second whisk buttermilk and egg together, and in the third add bread crumbs, tempura and seasonings, whisking ingredients together. Set aside.
In a large frying pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
Add 8-10 pieces of chicken into the flour, then into the buttermilk mixture, next into the bread crumb mixture, and lastly, into the pan.
Cook chicken until golden brown on all sides, approximately 4-6 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Don't over crowd the pan as it will lower the oil temperature and the chicken will not come out as crispy.
Remove chicken from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until all chicken pieces have been cooked.
In a large bowl, toss all three types of lettuce, shredded cheese, onions, tomatoes, crispy bacon, diced avocados and crispy chicken.
Top with honey mustard dressing and enjoy.
Here are a few pics that are the perfect size for pinning to Pinterest.
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