Grilled Chicken Summer Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing

Many houses up north don’t have AC (quite a culture shock and very difficult for a southern boy). Cooking inside is a sure fire way to make your comfortable 74 degree apartment an 84 degree sticky mess. Cold dinners and grilling are the way to go! It’s definitely grill season. However, New England also has a sense of humor since as I write this, the high in Boston is 61 today.

Food and Wine has some REALLY tasty ideas for salads on their website – I took their Southern Cobb Salad and heart-healthied it. (Shakespeare made up words all the time; so can I.) I also played with the proportions for the dressing, which uses roasted onions and garlic that I grilled (along with the chicken) for reasons aforementioned.

This salad is not only beautiful – it tastes delicious, especially with the sweet, smoky, and tangy vidalia onion dressing. By not tossing the salad and combing the ingredients before serving, folks can choose the proportion of ingredients they want in their own salad since there are several ingredients.

Serving notes:

  • The dressing could easily serve 8 people, so you can adjust the amount of salad you make based on how many folks you’d like to feed.  I’d recommend 1-2 (6oz) chicken breasts, 8oz greens, 2 eggs, 1 avocado, and 1 tomato per two people.
  • Remove the yolks from the hard-boiled eggs if you wish (to reduce cholesterol).

Enjoy, y’all!


Grilled Chicken Summer Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing


I used a mixed green combo of baby kale, spinach, and Swiss chard.


Those yellow tomatoes are SO FINE.


The grilled chicken was moist–but had a nice charred crust. Since you’re grilling the chicken anyway, you could throw a cob or two of corn on the grill in place of using canned or frozen (I didn’t but I definitely will plan ahead next time).


It looks so nice…you almost don’t want to eat it. …


BUT you definitely do eat it. That dressing is insane. I ended up carefully constructing each bite to get a little chicken, avocado, tomato, corn, egg and green in each bite…


Sweet Onion Dressing: 

  • 2 medium vidalia onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, outside skin removed and top cut off to expose the cloves
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper

1. Put the onions and garlic in on a large piece of aluminum foil, drizzling with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Wrap the aluminum foil around the onions and garlic head and seal it. Place on the grill and cook 15-20 minutes until the onions and garlic are soft and have some golden color on them.

2. Remove the onions and place in a blender. Using tongs (or if you let the garlic cool, your hands), squeeze the garlic cloves out of the head of garlic and add to the blender. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, and half the olive oil. Puree until combined. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and cayenne and add the remaining oil. Taste to season. Let the dressing cool.

The Salad:

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 can of corn or 8 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tomato, cored, halved and sliced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped (or sliced)
  • 6-8 oz salad greens (~1 bag, depeding on the brand)
  • sweet onion dressing

1. Cook the chicken. Season with salt and pepper on each side and grill about 5 minutes per side, or until the chicken is 165 degrees internally. (Alternatively, you can roast the chicken. Place the chicken on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and roast about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is 165 degrees.) Slice the chicken into thin strips.

2. Build the salad starting with a bed of greens, adding the remaining ingredients on top in rows or groups in a large serving bowl. Serve the dressing on the side. Reserve the remaining dressing in a container or jar and refrigerate up to a week.


5 thoughts on “Grilled Chicken Summer Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing

      1. Loretta says:

        I did Josh, just tonight, I got some ideas on your blog site. I made white bean fritters (cutlets), that’s what I call them. I will post a pic the next time. I sauteed some red onion, garlic and grated carrot. I coarsely mashed up the beans, added allspice powder and a bit of cumin – I had some leftover couscous which I added to the mix, fresh cilantro and did not use an egg. It formed pretty well, I wish I had panko breadcrumbs though, I had run out and used regular breadcrumbs. It was pretty yummy! My husband has heart disease, so I’m always careful with what I cook. I liked some of your ideas. Perhaps I’ll do a blog post on it the next time and link it to your blog.


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