Easy Grilled Chicken and Kale Winter Salad
Fast Dinner Recipes, Lunches, Salads

Easy Grilled Chicken And Kale Winter Salad

Cooks in 20 minutes Difficulty Easy 0 comments

Are you looking for a new salad for work lunches? This easy chicken and kale winter salad has both nutrition and full-bodied flavor while being relatively simple to prepare. The grilled chicken breast can be made ahead of time so that you can enjoy some chicken salad during the week.

The homemade savory Dijon honey salad dressing is easy to prepare. It pairs well with the sweet dried cranberries and mandarin orange slices in this simple winter salad. 

As I age, I am more drawn to vegetable dishes, whether a good side dish or a simple salad. For that reason, I had so much fun coming up with another way to use fresh kale in a salad. The fall leafy veggie is a nutrient powerhouse.

When you add the cooked grilled chicken to the fresh salad, you have a complete meal, which works well for a lighter lunch at school or work. 

So, let’s get started making this easy chicken and kale winter salad.

The first thing is to grill the boneless skinless chicken breasts for the salad perfectly. For this, I used my cast iron grill pan. You can cook them in a regular fry pan if you don’t have a grill pan. The main thing is we add a healthier protein to the salad. 

The chicken breast is cooked with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper so you don’t overpower the other salad ingredients.

To be sure your chicken has cooked right through, you can test it with a meat thermometer. An internal temperature of 165 degrees is what you are aiming for. Should you not have a thermometer, you can cut open the thickest portion to see if any pink remains. If it’s pink, it’s not finished cooking. 

After cooking, let it rest for three to four minutes before slicing. Having a sharp knife is on my list for the new year. Mine have become quite dull, so please pardon my non-perfect slicing.

Let’s get cracking on the salad portion. The first thing is to wash the leafy red kale. If you don’t have red curly green kale, it will suffice. Wash and devein the most rigid portion of the stems, and chop the leaves up fine. 

The simplest way to chop the leaves is to make a big fistful and slice across the kale. Be careful not to slice yourself.

Once you’ve finished the kale, add it to the salad bowl and move on to the carrots. Carrots are plentiful and inexpensive this time of year, making them great to add to your diet. 

We coarsely grate the carrots and add to the kale for this salad. The following steps are easy. Measure the dried cranberries and open and drain the mandarin orange segments before adding to the salad. 

Give the whole thing a toss and cover, and put it in the fridge. Keep the chicken sliced in a separate container in the refrigerator so that it does not contaminate your salad and stays fresher longer. You can add the chicken to the salad before eating or making the work lunch.

Making The Salad Dressing:

The last step is, of course, the delicious salad dressing. The first point I want to make is that it will solidify in the fridge due to being made with olive oil. The second point is that it will ‘thaw’ or de-solidify if it sits outside the refrigerator for any time. This fact is important to be aware of.

The dressing has diced garlic, olive oil, honey, and Dijon mustard. It is super simple and tasty on this winter salad. 

See our easy carrot apple slaw if you want another great way to add carrots.

Easy Grilled Chicken and Kale Winter Salad2


Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast: This lean protein is a filling meat for this lunch salad. Using half of a grilled chicken breast sliced is generally enough for one serving. 

Leafy Red Kale: This cruciferous vegetable is a delight to work with in salads as it is a low-carb powerhouse of nutrition. 

Carrots: This orange-colored root vegetable is a popular winter staple in many households, making it a perfect pop of color for your salad. 

Dried Cranberries: Craisins are used in this salad and offer a bit of sweetness to offset the earthier taste of the kale.

Mandarin Orange Segments: This canned fruit adds some citrus flavor, which goes well with the dried cranberry and honey Dijon dressing. 

Easy Grilled Chicken and Kale Winter Salad

Substitutions and Add-ins for this chicken and kale winter salad. 

Do you want to toss the salad a different way? One thing that could be easily switched out in the salad is the dried cranberries; try using dried blueberries or even golden raisins instead.

The leafy red kale can be substituted with curly green kale or spinach. Both are high in nutritional value. 

Not a fan of canned orange segments? Feel free to omit and add another fruit you choose, like mango. 

Feel free to use a lower-cost protein if you find boneless skinless chicken breast too pricey in your neck of the woods. Just remember your salad dressing is sweeter, so it should pair well with honey and Dijon. 

Expert Tips and Serving Suggestions:

The biggest tip when making this winter salad is not overcooking the chicken breast. Boneless skinless chicken breast can dry out, especially when grilling, so you want to cook it on medium heat for the appropriate time. 

Tip two is to store salad dressing covered and remove it from the fridge a while before serving. If you are serving this salad for lunch or dinner at home, you can dress the salad right away. 

However, if you wish to take it for a school or work lunch, separating the dressing into small containers rather than putting it on the salad immediately will ensure it doesn’t wilt and get soggy.

For those making the chicken ahead of time, remember that cooked chicken will only last covered in your fridge for four days. 

I hope you enjoy this grilled chicken breast and kale winter salad as much as we do! 


Easy Grilled Chicken and Kale Winter Salad

Amber Bondar
This easy grilled chicken and kale winter salad makes a perfect lighter lunch or main dish. The lightly seasoned grilled chicken is moist and tender and pairs well with the honey Dijon dressing. The salad is so simple and gets tossed together in just a few minutes after cooking the chicken. Enjoy some today or make ahead for work/school lunches.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course lunch, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 4


  • 1 Salad Bowl
  • 1 Grill Pan
  • 1 measuring cup
  • 1 Grater
  • 1 Tbsp
  • 1 knife
  • 1 Cutting board


Grilled Chicken Kale Salad

  • 2 Grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Cups Red Kale Deveined/Stalk Removed and Chopped
  • 2 Cups Grated Carrots
  • ½ Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 10 oz Canned Mandarin Orange Segments 284ml-Drained

Honey Dijon Salad Dressing

  • ½ Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tsp Raw Honey
  • 1 Tsp Minced Fresh Garlic


  • Grilled whole boneless skinless chicken breast in hot grill pan with the olive oil.
  • Lightly sprinkle the chicken breast with salt and pepper while grilling.
  • Flip each piece after it starts to cook through twice.
  • Test the internal temperature for doneness. 165℉ is the right temperature for cooked chicken,
  • If still unsure remove the largest piece from the pan and slice into thickest portion.
  • If any pink remains return to pan.
  • When finished grilling remove from pan and allow to rest before slicing.
  • In salad bowl and kale after washing, removing tough stalks, and slicing to small pieces.
  • Wash, peel, and grate carrots. Add to kale in bowl.
  • Measure the cranberries and add to salad.
  • Drain the mandarin orange segments and add to salad.

Making the Honey Dijon Dressing

  • In a measuring cup measure the olive oil.
  • Add the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey.
  • Dice fresh garlic and add to dressing. Mix well.

Storing For Work Lunch

  • Keep the chicken in a covered container in fridge for up to four days.
  • Keep salad covered without dressing for up to five days.
  • Store salad in small dressing containers. Remove from fridge before using on salad as they will solidify due to olive oil.

Tossing Salad For Dinner

  • Toss salad with dressing and add chopped chicken. Serve right away.
  • Store leftovers in fridge for one day.
Keyword easy lunch ideas, grilled chicken, Kale, make ahead

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