Antipasto Salad with Grilled Chicken and Basil Pesto Vinaigrette – Fresh and delicious salad packed with grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and pepperoncini, all tossed in an amazing homemade Basil Pesto Vinaigrette.
This Italian inspired Antipasto Salad is fresh, hearty and full of flavor, perfect for when you’ve got some chicken on the grill, or even chicken leftovers from the night before. It is a terrific main dish salad bursting with amazing flavors and textures.
Antipasto Salad is one of my favorite summer starters. Add some grilled chicken to it, and it becomes my most favorite summer meal. Top it off with a homemade Basil Pesto Vinaigrette, that also acts as marinade, and you’ve got the perfect main-meal salad combination.
But, lest not forget! A juicy and succulent piece of grilled skinless chicken breast also begs for a flavorful marinade.
Enter Basil Pesto Vinaigrette/Marinade.
A combination of basil pesto, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, infuses the chicken with high-impact flavor.
To begin, whisk together all of the marinade/dressing ingredients; put half of it in the fridge to use later as a dressing, and pour the other half in a ziploc bag and toss in the chicken breasts. Put aside for 30 minutes, or for up to 2 hours.
HOW TO GRILL CHICKEN BREASTS
When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the grill to 400F and brush grill grates with oil.
Remove chicken from marinade and place on the hot grill; cook without touching for about 5 minutes, or until grill marks appear.
Flip the chicken, cover the grill, and continue to cook until done; about 7 more minutes.
HOW TO MAKE AN ANTIPASTO SALAD
Chop up about 4 cups of Romaine Lettuce and place it in a large salad bowl.
Add fresh mozzarella cheese balls on top of the chopped lettuce, as well as halved cherry tomatoes and pickled pepperoncini. When chicken is done, let stand about 5 minutes before cutting it into strips.
Add the chicken strips to the salad and top with previously prepared salad dressing. Toss and serve.
VARIATIONS: You can also stir in some chopped black olives and artichoke hearts, and use a store-bought Italian salad dressing in place of the homemade Basil Pesto Vinaigrette.
MORE MAIN COURSE SALADS:
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TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS USED IN THIS RECIPE
Fresh and delicious salad packed with grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and pepperoncini, all tossed in an amazing homemade Basil Pesto Vinaigrette.
- 1/2 cup store-bought Basil Pesto
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 pound 4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese balls
- 1 cup pickled pepperoncini
In a bowl combine pesto, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice; add salt and pepper to taste and whisk until combined.
Pour half of the vinaigrette in a ziploc bag and place the other half in the fridge.
Add the chicken breasts to the ziploc bag, seal it and shake it all up until well combined.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, or for up to 2 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat the grill to 400F.
Brush grill grates with olive oil.
Remove chicken breasts from marinade and place them on the hot grill; cook without touching until the chicken breasts start getting some grill marks, about 5 minutes.
Turn the chicken breasts over, cover the grill, and let finish cooking, about 7 more minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
Chicken is done when a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove chicken from grill; cover and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
In the meantime, prepare the salad and transfer the chopped lettuce to a large salad bowl.
Top lettuce with tomatoes, cheese, and pepperoncini.
Cut the chicken breasts into strips and add to the salad.
Pour the remaining basil pesto dressing over the salad; toss to combine.
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