Balsamic Chicken Salad with Avocado Feta and Blackberry

If I could pick a single word to describe an ideal summer evening, it would be “ahhhhhh.” It might not score big literary points, but in a single syllable, it encapsulates the feeling of utter relaxation and release that accompany leisurely warm weather nights. To me, ahhhhhh translates to outdoor patios, cool beverages, and plates piled high with simple, beautiful dishes such as this Grilled Balsamic Chicken Salad with Avocado, Feta, and Blackberries.

Blackberry Balsamic Chicken Avocado Salad with Feta. The easy balsamic vinaigrette works as both a grilled chicken marinade and the dressing. Fresh, healthy recipe that’s perfect for summer! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

This post is sponsored by NESTEA.

This super-loaded salad epitomizes summer cooking. It’s fresh, celebrates seasonal ingredients, and best of all, it’s hardly cooking at all!

The chicken marinade is a two-second honey balsamic dressing, the remainder of which does double duty as the dressing for the salad itself. Once the chicken hangs out in the balsamic marinade (30 minutes if you are in a hurry; two hours if you are planning ahead), all that’s left to do is to grill it. The remainder of the “cooking” is basic assembly. Add the ingredients to your serving bowl, give them a toss, and dinner is ready to serve.

Grilled Blackberry Balsamic Chicken Salad – loaded with fresh berries, avocado, feta, pecans, and a light and easy balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Although I love the juicy satisfaction and balsamic tang of the chicken, my favorite part of this salad is the toppings. Avocado and feta make the salad feel luscious and creamy, red onion brings the bite, basil showers it with freshness, and pecans provide warmth and crunch. My favorite addition of all, however, is blackberries. Juicy and not too sweet, their moody hue and subtle tartness give the salad depth and a distinct summer flair.

Blackberry Balsamic Chicken Salad with Avocado and Feta. Loaded with fresh berries, feta, pecans and grilled to perfection! A light and healthy recipe that’s perfect for summer. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

If your on-hand ingredient list does not match the recipe exactly, fear not. This Balsamic Chicken Salad recipe is ultra flexible. Have extra strawberries and blueberries you’d like to toss in? Go for it! Out of pecans but there’s an extra bag of almonds lurking in your pantry? Use them instead! Think about the different salad elements: crunch (nuts), bite (red onion), creamy (avocado + cheese), and sweet (berries), then find different ways to represent them with the ingredients you have on hand.

In keeping with the easy-breezy nature of this Balsamic Chicken Salad with Avocado, Feta, and Blackberry, I opted to pair it with an easy-breezy drink, NESTEA Peach Tea. I grew up watching my grammy order iced tea whenever she treated my sisters and me to lunch, and it’s still omnipresent at every one of our family cookouts. Thus, when NESTEA asked me to create a no-fuss summer recipe to pair with its peach iced tea, I said, yes please!

Balsamic Chicken Salad with Avocado, Feta, and Blackberries. Fresh and delicious! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

While I didn’t appreciate iced tea as much as a kid, the love for it must be hereditary, because as an adult, it’s become one of my favorite beverages to sip on summer afternoons. Rather than fuss with brewing, then chilling, a giant batch of black tea (which is more than I need just for myself or a few friends anyway), I keep little individual containers of iced tea in my refrigerator. When friends stop by, I love being able to offer it. It’s refreshing, feels special, and best of all, takes no advance planning on my part. I’m a fan of NESTEA in particular because it’s not overly sweet and doesn’t contain any high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors or flavors.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken Salad with Avocado, Feta, Blackberries and an easy balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

I know it’s Tuesday, and many of us have busy weeks ahead. I hope this simple but satisfying Balsamic Chicken Salad with Avocado, Feta, and Blackberries lets you carve a little extra ahhhhhh time into your agenda.

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Balsamic Chicken Salad with Avocado Feta and Blackberry

Blackberry Balsamic Chicken Salad with Avocado and Feta. The easy balsamic vinaigrette works as both a grilled chicken marinade and the dressing.

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 small chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each), lightly pounded to an even thickness
  • 6 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 2/3 cup blackberries, halved if large
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced into wedges or chunks
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pecan halves, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, briskly whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper until blended.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish or large ziptop bag and pour half of the balsamic mixture over the top. Cover the dish (or seal the bag) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Reserve the extra balsamic mixture for serving.
  3. Spray an indoor grill pan or a regular nonstick pan with nonstick spray and heat to medium high. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Once the grill pan is hot, place the chicken breasts the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Flip, then cook for 3 minutes on the other side. Flip the chicken back to the first side, then reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking the chicken for an additional 9 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice, until it is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. The actual cooking time may vary depending upon the thickness of your chicken. Remove to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm, and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into bite-size pieces or longer slices as you prefer.
  4. To serve: Place the spinach, blackberries, and onion in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with remaining dressing, then toss to coat. Place the avocado and chicken on top, then sprinkle with the feta, basil, and pecans. Enjoy immediately.
  • This salad, once composed, is best enjoyed shortly after it is made.
  • Leftover chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Let come to room temperature, then use to top additional salads throughout the week.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 (of 2), with dressing and without marinade

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 542 Calories
  • Total Fat: 32g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 115mg
  • Sodium: 614mg
  • Carbohydrates: 18g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Protein: 47g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of NESTEA. The opinions and text are my own. As always, thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue creating quality content for you!

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

12 comments

  1. This salad sounds both simple and delightful.  A good excuse to finally buy an avocado, though I’d have to leave the avocado out of my husband’s portion…

  2. Ahhhhhh! What a beautiful and luscious looking salad! I love the unique combinations and also like that substitutions are acceptable! Can’t wait to try while sipping some refreshing Nestea! Thanks, Erin!

  3. That looks incredible! Love the sweet and sour vibe you got going on there with the balsamic chicken and the blackberries (:

  4. So perfect for summer! I make almost this exact salad but with strawberries instead, and I’m in love. I haven’t tried blackberries with it though. What a great idea! Can’t wait to make it like this!

    – MAK

  5. Made this for dinner tonight. My husband and I loved it!

    Rating: 5
    • YAY Patty I’m so glad to hear the recipe was a winner! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this great review.

  6. Made this last night for dinner, and had it again for lunch. Absolutely delicious. I did substitute crisp leafy lettuce for the spinach, and added a dash of dijon and garlic to the dressing. The combination of blackberries, avocado and pecans was divine. Perfect for a summer dinner or lunch!

    Rating: 5
    • YAY Kim! I’m so excited to hear that the recipe was a hit for you. Thanks so much for sharing your tweaks—they sound delicious!

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