The Best BLT Chicken Salad Recipe You Can Make This Summer!

When temperatures soar during the summer months, salads are a cool and refreshing dinner option that don't require heating up the oven.

What if you're feeding picky eaters who turn up their noses at salad?  They won't be able to resist the familiar taste of a classic sandwich once you assemble all the fixings!

Best BLT Chicken Salad
Marinated grilled chicken dresses up this delicious spin on a BLT.  This salad tastes like Summer!

Fun Facts on the History of the BLT

While the BLT ranks as the "nation's favorite" sandwich in the U.K., it's the sixth most popular sandwich in America.  BLTs just taste better in the summertime, particularly during the tomato harvest.  

Did you know the BLT didn't become trendy until after WWII?

While the basic BLT consists of bacon, lettuce, and tomato tucked between two slices of toasted bread, several variations can be made to tweak the sandwich for different palates.  Some prefer turkey bacon, while others add sliced avocado or onion.  The BLT is typically dressed in mayonnaise, but adding peanut butter to one of the bread slices really makes it pop.

Many dishes have evolved from the classic BLT, such as macaroni salad, pasta, and pizza recipes that incorporate this unique flavor blend, so why not salad?

I developed a delicious summer salad inspired by the BLT that everyone in your family will love.  It includes meat for the carnivores and interchangeable veggies and toppings for fussy eaters.


Where I Discovered the Idea for the Best BLT Chicken Salad Recipe

Over 25 years ago, I visited a very quaint Ohio farmhouse in the middle of a woods that had been transformed into a down-home family restaurant.  During the summer, outdoor seating was available, and a very fat farm cat would meander through the tables to welcome visitors.

This restaurant, located in Carrollton, was called Bluebird Farms.  Since then, Bluebird Farms has been recreated into a park district with walking trails, picnic areas, and wedding venue, though lodging, a gift shop, and a museum of childhood memories remain on the grounds.  

I never forgot the first-ever grilled BLT chicken salad that I tasted from the homespun deck at Bluebird Farms, so when I had a family of my own, I decided to create an even better BLT chicken salad recipe that included something for everyone.


Steps for Making the Best BLT Chicken Salad Recipe

You'll notice that many of the steps in making BLT Chicken Salad allow a lot of wiggle room for customization.  Even though I include a printable recipe at the end, it's not written in stone and can be altered according to your personal tastes.

STEP ONE:  MARINATE AND GRILL CHICKEN TENDERLOINS

The longer you marinate the chicken tenderloins for your salad, the better they will taste.  I mix up the marinade in the morning and soak the tenderloins until it's time to grill them.

If you don't have tenderloins on hand, you can substitute chicken breasts.  You also have the option of leaving the tenderloins or breasts whole and placing them on top of your salad, or you can chop them.  I prefer to chunk the grilled chicken because it can then be forked easily to accompany each bite of salad.

The marinade consists of olive oil, vinegar, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.  I use olive oil and cider vinegar, but you can use your favorite alternatives.  I'm usually too lazy to mince fresh garlic, but the jarred kind works fine.

Grill the chicken until it's lightly golden and cooked through but be careful not to overcook it or it will be dry and crunchy.



STEP TWO:  COOK THE BACON

Any bacon works, though I use Oscar Meyer Center Cut bacon.  Pan frying bacon always makes it taste better, but to save time, I cook mine in the microwave.  Since it's combined with so many other toppings, no one ever notices that I take a shortcut!

I use 12 bacon strips for four people, but you can use as much or as little as you like.

Bestselling salad spinner
Use this best-selling salad spinner when cleaning fresh lettuce.


Eliminate the mess when microwaving bacon.

STEP THREE:  CHOOSE YOUR TOPPINGS

Below is a list of my favorite toppings, but you can pick and choose what works for your family. 

  • Cherry tomatoes (I halve them, but you could dice or quarter larger tomatoes)
  • Cucumber (sliced or chopped)
  • Green pepper (diced)
  • Avocado (lightly tossed in lime or lemon juice to prevent browning)
  • Green onions (chopped)
  • Boiled eggs (sliced or diced)
  • Bacon (crumbled)
  • Grilled chicken (chunked is best)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Croutons 
  • Salad dressing (Ranch or Italian are suggested)
Best BLT Chicken Salad Recipe
Ranch or Italian dressing works best on this BLT chicken salad.

While you want to include your favorite salad ingredients, you also don't want to mute the taste of the bacon, lettuce, tomato, and chicken, which is why I refrain from adding olives, jalapenos, or other strong flavors that will steal the show.

If you serve breadsticks or garlic toast with your salad, then leave off the croutons.  Who needs the extra carbs?  

      Weber grill tool set         
Weber makes the best grilling tools!                     


  
Here's some grilling inspiration!

STEP FOUR:  ASSEMBLE THE SALAD

Making a gorgeous salad that tantalizes the taste buds takes more time than you'd think.

Assemble the salad on four large dinner plates, starting with your favorite lettuce.  Here is where you don't want to cheat.  I never use bagged salad for the base.  Most of the time, I buy fresh lettuce or pick it from our garden.  If I'm facing a time crunch, I will occasionally grab a plastic carton of spring mix because it's the second-best option.

Sprinkle the veggies on top, followed by chicken, bacon, eggs, and cheese, and then drizzle your favorite salad dressing.  Ranch tastes great, but I prefer Good Seasons Italian dressing.

Serve with garlic sticks, Texas Toast, or crusty bread, and maybe add a fruity dessert for the perfect summer dinner!


Print the Best BLT Chicken Salad Recipe!

My recipe for the Best BLT Chicken Salad is perfect for warm weather.  If you're ready to serve it up on your deck or patio this season, click on the image below to download and print.

Best BLT Chicken Salad Recipe
**CLICK ON THE RECIPE IMAGE ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT.**

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