Chicken garden salad with ranch dressing is fresh, healthy, and hearty. This vibrant and colorful salad is loaded with grilled chicken, fresh vegetables, and crunchy croutons. It's a delicious chopped salad that is packed with nutrients so you can feel good about eating this one. Ready in just 10 minutes with no cooking involved (best recipes ever!), this salad is perfect for a filling and wholesome lunch or dinner.
Why You'll Love Chicken Garden Salad
- It's perfect for meal prep. This salad is a great way to use up any leftover chicken breast. It's great for meal prep because you can prep everything ahead of time and divide into meal prep containers. I would just recommend adding the croutons later when serving, and storing the dressing in small jars to pack with your lunch on the side.
- It contains all the food groups. Vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy, this chicken garden salad has it all. It's loaded with garden veggies which are delicious and healthy. It's got chicken (which you can substitute with any other protein that you want such as grilled shrimp or tofu). It has grains (hello croutons!), and it has dairy in the homemade ranch dressing.
- Quick and easy to make. Since we are using leftover chicken (and don't have to cook anything!), this salad takes literally less than 10 minutes to throw together. It's the perfect meal to make when you are short on time or energy. And, it's super easy to customize with whatever vegetables that you have on hand.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make this delicious chicken garden salad, you will need the following ingredients (full quantities in recipe card below):
- chicken breast - I used my Greek Souvlaki Baked Chicken Breast here, but you can use any leftover chicken breast that you have. You can also shred up a rotisserie chicken or Roast Chicken and add it.
- romaine lettuce - feel free to substitute with any salad greens that you have on hand.
- purple cabbage
- grape tomatoes
- Persian cucumber - you can also substitute with ½ an English cucumber, chopped into ½-inch pieces.
- red onion
- seasoned croutons
- ranch dressing - feel free to use store-bought ranch dressing or homemade, whichever is easier! You can make ranch dressing from scratch in just a few minutes with the following ingredients: whole milk, lemon juice, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), mayonnaise, parsley, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
The best part about this salad is that it is versatile. You can add in any veggies that you have on hand (try green peppers or black olives). You can also switch up the dressing if you prefer. Try it with an Homemade Italian Dressing, Lemon Dressing, or a Creamy Sesame Dressing.
How to Make the Best Chicken Garden Salad with Ranch Dressing
This easy salad is made with leftover chicken so it literally takes just minutes to toss together. Just throw all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl or serving plate. Pour ranch dressing on top and toss to combine. Top with croutons and serve.
How to Make Homemade Ranch Dressing
Making homemade ranch dressing is so easy. It has a number of ingredients, but once you have them prepped and measured out, it takes a matter of seconds to combine. Just combine the dressing ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth, and pour over the salad. You can also double or triple the batch and store the rest in an airtight container or mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- How to cook chicken breast: If you don't have any leftover chicken breast to top on this salad, you can easily make it. Just season both sides of the chicken generously with salt and pepper (about ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper). Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 4-7 minutes on each side, until the chicken is fully cooked and is no longer pink inside, and the internal temperature reaches 165F as read on a meat thermometer. Let the chicken cool for about 10 minutes and then cut it into slices.
- Make ahead instructions: To make this salad ahead of time, I would suggest prepping and chopping the vegetables and storing in an airtight container (without the dressing or croutons). If you are making dressing from scratch, make it and store in a separate airtight container. When ready to serve, add croutons and pour the dressing on top and toss.
- How to store: Chicken garden salad is best served fresh. If you happen to have any leftovers, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Eat all the croutons before storing as they will get mushy.
More Salad Recipes
- 40 Best Salad Recipes
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Greek Salad with Lettuce
- Strawberry Avocado Salad
- Tomato Cucumber Avocado Salad
- Macaroni Salad
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.
This recipe was originally posted in 2016. It has been completely updated with new content, photos, and tweaks to the recipe.