Blackberry balsamic grilled chicken salad

Embark on a culinary journey with the Blackberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad. This dish combines robust flavors of grilled chicken marinated in a sweet and tangy balsamic dressing with fresh summer berries and creamy goat cheese. The recipe offers delightful textures and flavors, and it’s nutritionally rich, making it perfect for those seeking a wholesome meal. Ideal for summer gatherings, light lunches, or nutritious dinners, this salad impresses with its beautiful presentation and rich flavor.

Introduction to Blackberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad

The Blackberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad offers a refreshing twist on traditional grilled dishes. It blends the succulent flavors of balsamic-marinated chicken with the sweet, tart burst of berries and the rich, creamy texture of fried goat cheese. This salad demonstrates balance and harmony, transforming simple grilled chicken into a gourmet dish with creative additions.

The allure of this salad comes from its mix of simple, high-quality ingredients. Juicy, fresh blackberries and raspberries combine with crisp, pan-fried goat cheese and tender, perfectly grilled chicken. Each component plays a crucial role in crafting a dish that pleases both the palate and the eye.

Ideal for those who prioritize health without compromising on taste, this salad incorporates all elements of a balanced diet—proteins, fats, and a colorful array of nutrients from the mixed greens and fruits. Whether you’re planning a casual lunch or an elegant dinner, the Blackberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad offers a satisfying, flavorful, and healthy meal. Now, let’s start by gathering the vibrant ingredients needed to create this delightful dish.

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Blackberry balsamic grilled chicken salad

Blackberry balsamic grilled chicken salad

  • Author: Avani
  • Total Time: 20 minutes


Blackberry balsamic marinated and grilled chicken black berry salad with crispy fried goat cheese and avocado!


For the Grilled Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon minced garlic
For the Crispy Fried Goat Cheese:
4 oz goat cheese, chilled and sliced into rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
Oil for frying
For the Salad:
6 cups mixed greens (such as spinach, arugula, and/or spring mix)
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, and minced garlic. Pour the marinade over the chicken breasts and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes.
While the chicken is marinating, prepare the crispy fried goat cheese. Set up three shallow bowls: one with flour, one with beaten egg, and one with breadcrumbs. Dredge each slice of goat cheese in flour, then dip it in the beaten egg, and finally coat it with breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and fry the coated goat cheese slices until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Remove from the skillet and set aside on paper towels to drain excess oil.
Grill the marinated chicken breasts for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through and have grill marks. Remove from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before slicing them thinly.
To make the balsamic vinaigrette, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
In a large salad bowl, combine mixed greens, blackberries, raspberries, sliced avocado, chopped walnuts, and thinly sliced red onion.
Drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette over the salad and toss until everything is evenly coated.
Divide the salad onto serving plates, top each portion with sliced grilled chicken, and garnish with crispy fried goat cheese rounds.
Serve immediately and enjoy your flavorful blackberry balsamic grilled chicken salad with crispy fried goat cheese, avocado, walnut, onion, blackberry, raspberry, and greens!
This salad is bursting with fresh flavors and textures, making it a perfect light and satisfying meal. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes

The Rise of Fruit in Savory Dishes

Exploring the Flavor Balance

Incorporating fruits like blackberries and raspberries into savory dishes adds a delightful contrast that can elevate a simple recipe to gourmet status. The natural sweetness and tartness of berries cut through the richness of meats, providing a burst of freshness that balances heavier flavors.

Nutritional Enhancements

Using fruits in savory recipes not only boosts their taste but also offers significant health benefits. Berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, which can aid in digestion, fight inflammation, and support overall health. By combining these with protein-rich components like chicken and nutrient-dense additions like greens and nuts, dishes like this salad become a powerhouse of essential nutrients.

Cultural and Historical Context

The use of fruit in savory dishes has roots in many world cuisines, including Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Asian, where fruits like figs, dates, and pomegranates have been staples in savory recipes for centuries. This culinary tradition highlights the versatility of fruits and their capacity to bring unique flavors and textures to a meal.

Key Ingredients for Blackberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled Chicken:

  • Chicken Breasts (2 boneless, skinless): Provide a lean, high-protein base for the salad.
  • Salt and Pepper: Basic seasonings to enhance the natural flavors of the chicken.
  • Balsamic Vinegar (2 tablespoons): Adds a rich, slightly sweet and tangy flavor to the marinade.
  • Olive Oil (2 tablespoons): Helps in marinating and grilling, adding moisture and richness.
  • Honey (1 teaspoon): Offers a touch of sweetness to balance the acidity of the vinegar.
  • Minced Garlic (1 teaspoon): Contributes a robust flavor to the chicken marinade.

Crispy Fried Goat Cheese:

  • Goat Cheese (4 oz, chilled and sliced into rounds): Adds a creamy, tangy element when fried.
  • All-Purpose Flour (1/2 cup): Coats the cheese, helping to create a crispy exterior.
  • Egg (1, beaten): Acts as a binder for the breadcrumb coating.
  • Breadcrumbs (1 cup): Provides the crispy crust for the fried goat cheese.
  • Oil for Frying: Ensures a golden, crunchy finish on the goat cheese.


  • Mixed Greens (6 cups, such as spinach, arugula, and/or spring mix): Serve as a fresh, vibrant base.
  • Blackberries (1 cup): Add a juicy, tart flavor that complements the savory elements.
  • Raspberries (1 cup): Introduce a sweet contrast to the salad’s flavors.
  • Avocado (1, sliced): Offers a creamy texture and healthy fats.
  • Chopped Walnuts (1/2 cup): Provide a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
  • Red Onion (1/4, thinly sliced): Adds a sharp, slightly sweet flavor profile.

For the Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • Balsamic Vinegar (1/4 cup): Base of the dressing, echoing the marinade’s flavors.
  • Olive Oil (1/4 cup): Emulsifies the dressing, adding smoothness and body.
  • Honey (1 tablespoon): Sweetens the dressing, balancing the tangy vinegar.
  • Salt and Pepper: Fine-tune the dressing to taste.

Recipe Guide

Preparing the Balsamic Marinade

  1. Mix the Marinade: In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, and minced garlic. Whisk together until well blended.
  2. Marinate the Chicken: Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Place them in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring each piece is evenly coated. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, ideally longer, to enhance the flavor.

Grilling the Chicken

  1. Preheat the Grill: Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Ensure it’s hot before you add the chicken to achieve good grill marks and sear.
  2. Cook the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting excess drip off. Grill the chicken for about 6-8 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) and the meat is no longer pink in the center.
  3. Rest the Chicken: Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This helps retain its juices, keeping the meat moist.

Preparing the Crispy Fried Goat Cheese

  1. Prepare the Coating Stations: Set up three shallow bowls – one with flour, one with beaten egg, and another with breadcrumbs.
  2. Coat the Goat Cheese: Dredge each slice of goat cheese first in flour, then dip in the egg, and finally coat with breadcrumbs.
  3. Fry the Goat Cheese: In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Fry the coated goat cheese rounds until golden and crispy, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Place them on paper towels to drain any excess oil.

Assembling the Salad

  1. Mix the Salad Components: In a large salad bowl, combine the mixed greens, blackberries, raspberries, sliced avocado, chopped walnuts, and thinly sliced red onion.
  2. Prepare the Balsamic Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper until the dressing is smooth.
  3. Dress the Salad: Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss to coat evenly.
  4. Add the Chicken and Goat Cheese: Slice the grilled chicken into strips. Arrange the chicken slices and crispy fried goat cheese rounds on top of the salad.

Nutritional Benefits

Lean Protein from Chicken

  • Chicken breasts provide a high-quality source of lean protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. Protein also helps you feel full and satisfied, making this salad a filling, low-calorie meal option.

Antioxidants from Berries

  • Blackberries and raspberries are rich in vitamins C and E, manganese, and powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These nutrients help protect the body against inflammation and oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic diseases.

Healthy Fats from Olive Oil and Avocado

  • Olive oil is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, lauded for its heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats can help lower bad cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
  • Avocado adds creamy texture and is also a great source of monounsaturated fats, along with being high in fiber, vitamins E, C, K, and B-6.

Calcium and Probiotics from Goat Cheese

  • Goat cheese is not only flavorful but also offers calcium for bone health and probiotics, which are beneficial for digestive health.

Fiber and Additional Nutrients from Greens and Nuts

  • Mixed greens such as spinach and arugula provide high levels of vitamins A, C, K, and folic acid, important for skin health and immune functions.
  • Walnuts are not only crunchy and delicious but also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain health.

Low Glycemic Impact

  • The combination of high fiber from the greens and nuts, along with the healthy fats and protein, means this salad has a low glycemic impact, making it suitable for those managing blood sugar levels.

Serving Suggestions

Perfect Pairings

  • Wine: A glass of crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or a light Chardonnay, pairs beautifully with the tangy notes of the balsamic and the sweetness of the berries. The acidity in the wine will complement the richness of the olive oil and the tanginess of the goat cheese.
  • Bread: Serve with slices of crusty whole-grain bread or a fresh baguette. This not only adds texture but also helps to absorb the delicious dressing, ensuring no flavor is left behind on the plate.
  • Side Dishes: Although the salad is hearty on its own, you can pair it with a light soup, like a tomato basil or a chilled cucumber soup, during warmer months for a more rounded meal.

Tips for Plating

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Utilize a large, shallow bowl or a wide plate to spread out the ingredients and showcase the variety of colors and textures. Arrange the greens first, then layer the berries, avocado, and onion for visual impact. Top with sliced chicken and the crispy fried goat cheese rounds as the centerpiece.
  • Garnishes: Add a final touch of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley, to introduce an extra pop of green and a fresh flavor. A drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar can also enhance the presentation with a glossy, flavorful finish.

Special Occasion Serving

  • Elegant Dinners: For a more formal affair, consider individual plating for each guest, with each component meticulously arranged for aesthetic appeal. Garnish with edible flowers or microgreens for a sophisticated touch.
  • Casual Gatherings: For a laid-back setting, present the salad in a large, central bowl allowing guests to serve themselves. This method encourages a communal, relaxed dining experience and lets guests customize their servings according to preference.

Creative Twists on the Classic Salad

Protein Variations

  • Alternative Proteins: Not everyone may prefer chicken. You could easily substitute grilled salmon or tofu for a different flavor profile or to meet dietary restrictions. Both options would beautifully absorb the balsamic marinade and complement the fruity elements of the salad.

Cheese Options

  • Different Cheeses: If goat cheese isn’t your favorite, try feta for a tangier edge or shaved Parmesan for a nuttier, more subtle presence. Each cheese brings its own unique flavor and texture that can change the salad’s character.

Fruit Substitutions

  • Variety of Berries: While blackberries and raspberries are delicious, don’t hesitate to use strawberries or blueberries. Each berry offers distinct sweetness and acidity, which can alter the flavor dynamics of the salad.
  • Seasonal Fruits: Incorporate slices of peach or apple in the autumn to reflect the seasonal produce and add a sweet crunch.

Dressing Alternatives

  • Herb-Infused Dressings: Enhance the balsamic vinaigrette by infusing it with other herbs like thyme or rosemary. You could also experiment with adding orange zest or a splash of citrus juice to the dressing for a brighter flavor.

Add Extra Crunch

  • Nuts and Seeds: Swap walnuts for toasted almonds, pecans, or a sprinkle of sunflower seeds. Each option adds a different type of crunch and a subtle flavor variation that can make the salad feel new each time.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I prevent the chicken from drying out on the grill? To keep the chicken moist and juicy, avoid overcooking it. Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 165°F but doesn’t exceed it. Also, let the chicken rest for a few minutes after grilling to allow the juices to redistribute.
  • Can I prepare parts of this salad in advance? Yes, you can grill the chicken and prepare the goat cheese rounds ahead of time. Store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the salad. However, it’s best to slice the chicken and fry the goat cheese just before serving to maintain the best texture and flavor.
  • What are some alternatives to frying the goat cheese? If you prefer a healthier option, you can bake the goat cheese rounds instead of frying them. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a preheated oven at 375°F until golden and slightly crispy, about 10-15 minutes.
  • How can I make the salad dressing healthier? To reduce the calorie content of the dressing, you can substitute the honey with a sweetener like stevia or simply use less honey. You could also increase the vinegar ratio for a more pungent dressing without added fats.
  • Is there a way to make this salad vegan? To make a vegan version, replace the chicken with grilled tofu or tempeh and use a vegan alternative to goat cheese. Ensure your breadcrumbs are vegan, or use a nut-based crust for the cheese alternative.

User Reviews and Feedback

Positive Feedback

  • Flavor Balance: Many reviewers have praised the perfect balance of flavors in the salad, noting how the tartness of the berries complements the savory grilled chicken and the creamy goat cheese enhances the overall mouthfeel.
  • Satisfying Meal: Users often mention that the salad is filling yet light, making it an ideal choice for a nutritious lunch or dinner that doesn’t feel heavy.

Constructive Critiques

  • Dressing Adjustments: Some reviewers suggested adjustments to the dressing, either reducing the sweetness by cutting back on the honey or adding more balsamic vinegar for a stronger flavor.
  • More Greens Variety: A few people recommended adding more types of greens or herbs to the salad base to vary the textures and flavors, such as including baby kale or mint for an extra fresh element.

Helpful Tips from Home Cooks

  • Marinating Time: Several cooks emphasized the benefits of marinating the chicken longer, even overnight, to enhance its tenderness and flavor deeply.
  • Serving Tips: For those hosting guests, it was suggested to arrange the salad components separately on a platter and let guests assemble their plates. This approach was especially appreciated in settings with diverse dietary preferences.

Creative Variations Tried by Users

  • Fruit Variations: Some adventurous cooks experimented with different fruits like strawberries or blueberries, which were reported to work well with the balsamic dressing.
  • Nut Replacements: Alternatives to walnuts, such as slivered almonds or pistachios, were tried, adding a different crunch and flavor profile that some found preferable.

Embracing Healthy and Flavorful Salads

Encouragement to Try

If you haven’t yet tried making this salad, I encourage you to do so. It’s a perfect example of how simple ingredients can be transformed into a meal that is both aesthetically pleasing and packed with diverse flavors and textures. Whether you are looking for a light lunch option or a substantial dinner that won’t weigh you down, this salad fits the bill beautifully.

The Joy of Cooking and Sharing

One of the greatest pleasures of cooking is the ability to share your creations with others. The Blackberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad is ideal for sharing at gatherings, serving at family dinners, or enjoying on a quiet evening at home. It’s a dish that is sure to bring smiles and compliments from those who partake, and the versatility of the recipe allows it to be tailored to different tastes and dietary needs.

Continual Learning in the Kitchen

Every time you prepare this salad, there is an opportunity to tweak an element — maybe by trying a new type of cheese, a different mix of greens, or a variation in the dressing. Each iteration allows you to refine the dish to your liking and perhaps discover new combinations that you or your family might prefer.

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