Say hello to summer with this refreshing teriyaki chicken salad. Grilled pineapple, charred jalapeño, and sweet teriyaki make the perfect mix of heat to sweet with a hint of smoky. A delicious, healthy meal to fill you up without weighing you down.
I’ll admit it—salad can be meh. It can also be a beautiful masterpiece that’s not only delicious and healthy, but also filling. The secret is plenty of protein and a variety of different flavors and textures. This teriyaki chicken salad hits the mark on all the above, plus it’s just a sexy plate of food to look at!
Let’s delve into a little Salad 101. The key to a successful salad is V-A-R-I-E-T-Y. Say it, feel it, live it, folks—it’s your new salad making mantra.
You want variety in flavor. Variety in texture. Variety in color, heat, smell, freshness, temperature—everything, capisce? Having variety keeps your palate interested and wanting more. It’s when salads lack variety and feel a little one-note that we go for the burger, instead. Am I right??
There is so much going on in this salad, your taste buds will not be bored. You’ve got the crunch from the raw jalapeño, cucumber, and purple cabbage. The soft, rich avocado, the juicy grilled pineapple, and the pop of the cherry tomatoes and edamame beans. You’ve got the contrasting flavors of the sweet pineapple and teriyaki with the heat from the jalapeños. The freshness of the veggies and lime and that subtle smokiness from the charred jalapeño and pineapple. Not to mention every color of the damn rainbow.
I literally just tossed this entire thing into a big bowl as is, gave it a mix, and started forking it down. I did sprinkle on some Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning, which I also use for my Spring avocado toast, because that shit is good on everything. The sesame bits go perfectly with the teriyaki sauce!
Speaking of sauce, I bought pre-made for this recipe because I ran across a brand at Whole Foods that I really love. It was actually the inspiration behind this post—I wanted to do something fresh and light for the beginning of summer, but I didn’t know what kind of flavor profile or protein I wanted to use. When I tasted this sauce, all the elements just came to me. But if you have an awesome teriyaki sauce recipe, feel free to whip it up!
This salad could easily be transformed into a vegan or vegetarian dish by swapping out the chicken for shrimp, tofu, or salmon and be just as delicious and filling. Ooh! Or you could swap some sort of grain for the greens and make it a bowl. Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen—make your meals fit your lifestyle and your taste buds!
TERIYAKI CHICKEN SALAD + GRILLED PINEAPPLE
- boneless-skinless chicken breast
- teriyaki sauce (store-bought or homemade)
- baby kale (or your fav leafy green)
- purple cabbage, shredded
- micro cilantro (or regular)
- pineapple rings (fresh or canned)
- cherry tomatoes
- edamame beans, unshelled
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning (optional)
First, take chicken out of fridge let come to room temp. This will ensure even cooking.
Now, you’ll want to prep all your ingredients. Start by grilling the pineapple rings over med-high heat. You can just use a grill pan inside if you need to. Make sure pineapple is dry and grill pan is oiled. Cook for a few minutes on each side or until you see black marks. Char jalapeños over an open flame on your stove top, rotating and flipping with tongs until all sides are black and charred. Set pineapple and jalapeños aside.
Next, prepare edamame beans according to package and set aside. Chop cucumber or cut ends off to make a flat surface and slide a vegetable peeler down the side to make ribbons, rotating cucumber as you reach the seeds in the middle. Discard any skin pieces. Slice raw jalapeño, cut tomatoes and avocado, and shred cabbage (if necessary). Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice, olive oil, and salt to cabbage. Set all ingredients aside.
To avoid uneven cooking, pound chicken in plastic wrap or a Ziplock bag until the thickest part matches the height of the thinnest part, trying not to go any thinner than three-quarters of an inch. Heat teriyaki sauce over low heat. Meanwhile, grill chicken for 3-6 minutes on each side over medium-high heat until juices run clear when you cut into it. Transfer chicken to teriyaki sauce and toss to coat. Place on cutting board to rest.
While chicken rests, assemble salad with baby kale, purple cabbage, pineapple, raw and charred jalapeños, avocado, cucumber, tomato, edamame, and micro cilantro. Cut chicken and place on top of salad and add a little more sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning (optional) to taste. Squeeze with fresh lime, toss, and eat!