Chicken Salad with Creamy Yogurt-Citrus Dressing


Grilled chicken, hearty greens, and fruit make a satisfying, healthful meal. A creamy dressing made with yogurt adds great flavor and keeps it light.

Chicken salads can still be light, healthful meals, even with a creamy dressing. Plain, low-fat yogurt provides both smooth texture and a tangy taste—without the fat and calories of sour cream or heavy mayo.

Easy Homemade Salad Dressing

Great homemade salad dressings are easy to make because they don’t require many ingredients or fuss. The dressing in this recipe uses citrus juice instead of vinegar, and the fruity sweetness of the orange is a perfect contrast to the tanginess of the yogurt.

You can make the dressing a day ahead and refrigerate, covered, overnight. Whisk well to recombine the ingredients before serving.


Ingredients for Chicken Salads

Ingredients for chicken salads are as varied as your imagination. I use hearty greens in this recipe because they stand up well to a rich, creamy dressing. The fresh and dried fruits provide sweet flavor and chewy texture, while the celery and nuts add an earthy crunch.

Hard Italian cheeses are perfect for shaving over salads and they add a salty tang that especially complements the sweet ingredients. Of course, you can use any cheese you like, or forego it altogether.


For the Dressing

  • 3 tbsp plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tbsp light mayo
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad

  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of dried herb mix
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, torn
  • 2 cups radicchio, torn
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 clementine or 1 small orange, sectioned
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • Hard Italian cheese, such as Asiago, Pecorino Romano, or Grana Panano, for shaving


For the Dressing

  1. Combine the yogurt, mayo, shallot, garlic, and juices in a small processor and process until smooth.
  2. Add the olive and process until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

For the Salad

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with olive oil. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and dried herbs and grill 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
  2. Let the chicken cool, then cut into thin strips, cover, and refrigerate until cold.
  3. Place the spinach and radicchio in a large bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons dressing. Toss well to coat.
  4. Divide the spinach and radicchio between 2 plates and top with celery, clementine or orange, cherries, macadamia nuts, and chicken. Drizzle with remainder of dressing.
  5. Liberally shave cheese in wide strips on top and enjoy.


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