Weather: not grill weather, ironically enough
What I’m listening to: playful puppy sounds

If you’ve been firing up your grill this summer, it’s likely you may have some leftover grilled proteins on hand like salmon, steak, or chicken. One of my favorite ways to use up leftover grilled meats is to make a big, beautiful green salad the next day. This is particularly great if you have a garden that’s bursting forth with fresh greens this time of year.

chicken salad

After a delightful homemade pizza-making night at our house, I had some chicken on hand that needed to be used, along with some pesto sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese. Inspired by the red, green, and white colors and summery flavors of a classic caprese – basil, tomato, and mozzarella – I thought up this grilled chicken salad over mixed greens with naturally sweet sun dried tomatoes and a creamy pesto dressing. For texture and crunch, toss in some toasted pine nuts, which pull out the pesto flavor even more. I can’t think of a much better way to celebrate summer than to bring garden and grill together on a plate.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Pesto Dressing

Chicken Salad

Crisp green salad topped with grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, pine nuts, and a creamy homemade pesto dressing.

Yields: 2 servings

  • For the salad:
  • 3 cups mixed greens or romaine lettuce
  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast*, grilled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup jarred sun dried tomatoes, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)
  • For the creamy pesto dressing:
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto

*I seasoned my grilled chicken breast with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. But most any leftover grilled chicken will do.

To assemble the salads:

Distribute greens or lettuce evenly between two salad bowls. Top each bowl with half of the sliced chicken. Sprinkle the salads with sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese cubes, and toasted pine nuts (if using). Drizzle with creamy pesto dressing.

To make the dressing:

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, and pesto until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if needed, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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