This chicken salad has all the flavors of a classic Caprese salad; fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, and basil. Combined with cooked shredded chicken breast and a creamy dressing, it transforms into a convenient and delicious chicken salad for the ideal lunch. Serve it over arugula, in a wrap, or on a bun for the perfect lunch.
What are the components of a Caprese salad?
Caprese salad is an Italian classic; it’s simple, but the quality of the ingredients make it delicious. It features fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Since tomatoes are at their peak freshness in the warmer months, this makes a delicious salad for the Spring and Summer.
My Balsamic Caprese Chicken Salad features all of the same components of a classic Caprese salad, but with some tweaks. We are still using fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. We added cooked, shredded chicken into the mix as our protein, and lastly, instead of just using olive oil and balsamic vinegar here, I have created a creamy and delicious balsamic vinaigrette and mayo mixture to coat the salad components.
I enjoy serving this chicken salad over greens, or with crackers and veggies. It’s also great on a wrap or bun as the perfect sandwich!
What you’ll need to make this Balsamic Caprese Chicken Salad
To make this chicken salad, you’ll need a few key ingredients:
- cooked chicken breast
- You can use pre-cooked chicken breast (if you are using a rotisserie chicken, you will need 2 chickens to yield the 6 cups of cooked chicken breast needed for this recipe).
- If you want to poach your own chicken, see below for step by step instructions.
- red onion
- cherry tomatoes
- mini mozzarella balls
- These are also known as bocconcini (I use the Bel Gioioso snacking cheese balls).
- light mayo
- plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- Trust me on this, the yogurt is simply used to stretch out the light mayo. Together with the balsamic vinegar, these flavors create a really creamy vinaigrette base for this recipe.
- balsamic vinegar
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- Italian seasoning
How to make Balsamic Caprese Chicken Salad
Once you chicken is cooked, or if you are starting out with cooked chicken, the rest of this recipe is easy. Simply chop your onion, and half your cherry tomatoes. Chop the basil. Half the mozzarella balls.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, mayo, balsamic vinegar, and spices. Whisk to combine and form a thick and creamy dressing. Fold in the cooked chicken, onion, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Add the basil.
To store, you can keep this chicken salad in the bowl it was made in, just make sure it is covered and kept in the fridge. You can also portion the chicken salad out into individual portions, at 1.5 cups each, and keep them in glass storage containers in the fridge.
To serve the chicken salad, pair it with greens (like arugula, a nice peppery salad green) or serve it on a bun or wrap.
How to poach your own chicken
Raw vs. cooked chicken ratio:
To yield 6 cups of cooked chicken, start off with 3 lbs of raw chicken.
For any of my chicken salad recipes, you can use rotisserie chicken or other pre-cooked chicken. I usually poach my chicken, because it’s easy enough to do, and it’s usually more cost-friendly.
If you’ve never done it before, I recommend you trying it. It’s very easy to do, and it’s also more economical than buying a fully-cooked rotisserie chicken (or two, in this case).
I have been poaching my chicken for chicken salads for a while now. Not only is it SUPER easy, but the chicken comes out super moist.
When you’re poaching chicken, you can add any flavor you want to your pot. For example, when I make my Thai Chicken Salad, I use ground ginger and lime in the water. For this recipe, I keep it simple with my basic poaching method. This includes some dried bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. This is the basic recipe I use for most of my chicken salads, since it can work with most flavor profiles.
To poach the chicken, simply place the raw chicken breast in a large pot. Next, add the salt, peppercorns, crushed garlic cloves, and bay leaves.
Next, cover the chicken with cold water. Make sure everything is submerged under the water. Place the pot on the stove with a lid, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the water to a rapid simmer, and cook uncovered. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F. You can determine that by using a meat thermometer like this one.
When the chicken has reached the internal temperature of 165, remove it from the pan and place it on a cutting board to cool. Then, shred it using two forks. This method will yield 6 cups of cooked chicken breast.
Balsamic Caprese Chicken Salad
- mixing bowl
- 6 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
- 1 cup red onion, chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 oz mini mozzarella balls, halved; bocconcini
- 1/2 cup basil, fresh, chopped
- 1/4 cup light mayo
- 1/2 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Combine the mayo, balsamic, yogurt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and onion powder in a large bowl.
- Add the cooked chicken, diced onions, halved cherry tomatoes, basil, and halved mozzarella balls, and stir to combine.
- 6 WW points (green plan) - calculated using Perdue brand chicken breast
- 4 WW points (blue and purple plans)
You might also enjoy these recipes featuring fresh tomatoes and balsamic vinegar: