Any day is a perfect day for a crisp, flavorful salad! This salad is perfect as a main course since it has your protein, fruits, and vegetables all in one! Of course, it also works as a smaller side salad, but it might steal the show!
When we want salad for dinner, this is our go-to! It has everything, protein, fruits, and vegetables. The homemade dressing is tangy and sweet and adds a zing of flavor, making this salad a home run! And it comes together quickly, so no-big-fuss for a delicious and healthy dinner.
This recipe is better with grilled chicken; it adds depth and richness to the flavor that baking or frying won’t give you; it’s also healthier. We pretty much have summer year-round here in Hawaii, so grilling is almost always an option for us. But if you prefer not to grill, or if it’s not an option for you, not a problem; you will still make a fantastic salad! I’ve included the directions for cooking the chicken on the stovetop below and in the recipe notes.
To grill the chicken, I brush the chicken with a bit of oil and lightly season with salt, pepper, and cumin on both sides. Next, I turn my grill on high and let it heat up for a few minutes. Then I grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side. Your grill temperature and cooking time will vary based on your grill and the thickness of the chicken. When grilling chicken, I ALWAYS use a meat thermometer to check if it is done. You do NOT want to eat undercooked chicken. Your chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 160F.
When cooking your chicken on the stovetop, season the same way you would for the grill. Heat your pan and one tablespoon of oil on the stove over medium-high heat. Place chicken breast in the pan and cook undisturbed for 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and continue cooking for another 7 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160F. Cooking time will always depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.
Let your chicken cool down completely before slicing and assembling your salad; adding warm chicken will wilt your greens. While your chicken is cooling, you can toast the pecans. You can halve them or roughly chop the pecans and add them to a small skillet. Over medium heat, toast the pecans in a dry skillet (do not add oil), stirring, so they don’t burn. This process should take about 5 minutes, and they should be golden, fragrant, and crunchy.
As far as your salad greens go, any greens will work. This is totally up to your preference and/or availability. We grow both kale and spinach in our garden, so I like to use both to give my salad a variety of flavors and textures.
Any variety of pear will work as well. I like the color contrast and crispness of the Anjou pear (pictures above). But again, any will work.
Making homemade dressing is easy and delicious. Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender or mini-prep and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. That’s it! Use immediately or store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Grilled Chicken and Pear Salad
- 3-4 chicken breast
- cumin, for seasoning chicken
- salt and pepper, for seasoning chicken
- 6 cups salad greens, any salad greens
- 2 medium pears, any variety
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans, toasted
- ¼ cup feta cheese
- ½-1 shallot, (depending on the size of the shallot) peeled
- ½ cup olive oil, extra virgin
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Preheat grill on high heat. Brush chicken lightly with oil and season with salt, pepper, and cumin on both sides.
- Add chicken to the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. (Your grill temperature and cooking time will vary based on your grill and the thickness of the chicken). When grilling chicken, always use a meat thermometer to check if it is done. Your chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
- Allow chicken to cool before slicing.
- While the chicken is cooling, toast the pecans. Halve or roughly chop the pecans and add them to a small skillet. Over medium heat, toast the pecans in a dry skillet (do not add oil), stirring frequently so they don't burn. This process should take about 5 minutes, and they should be golden, fragrant, and crunchy.
- Wash and slice the pears.
- Peel the shallot. Add the shallot and all the other dressing ingredients to a blender, mini-prep, or immersion blender and process for 30 seconds. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week. Shake thoroughly before using.