Grilled Chicken Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese, and Pickled Onion

For summer, we like to enjoy a grilled chicken salad with a few great toppings. Blueberries, goat cheese, and pickled onion add some fun flavors to this simple salad recipe. Grilled chicken is a go-to topper for our salads, but the other three additions really take it over the top. The combination is fresh and flavorful—it combines fruitiness, creaminess, and tartness to add personality and pizzazz. The recipe is easy to put together, and it's also easy to make it in a big batch. Lastly, the addition of candied pecans on top is a great way to contribute a final touch of crunch, chew, and sweetness. This salad has little of a lot of things we like, which is why we think you should make it sometime this summer. Doesn't it sound delicious? It's a classic salad, and you'll find yourself turning to it over and over for lunches and dinners throughout the season.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese, and Pickled Onion
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
4 serves


  • 1 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 3 whole cloves

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 4 (8-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 8 ounces spring mix salad greens

  • 8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 2 cups)

  • 1 (6-oz.) pkg. fresh blueberries

  • 1 cup candied pecans


  1. Whisk together vinegar, sugar, cloves, and 1 tablespoon of the salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until sugar and salt dissolve, about 5 minutes. Place onion slices in a medium-size heatproof bowl, and pour hot vinegar mixture over onion. Let cool completely to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, stir together pepper, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a small bowl. Brush mixture evenly over chicken breasts. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Place chicken on unoiled grates. Grill, uncovered, until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of meat registers 165°F, 7 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, and rest 10 minutes. Cut into 3/4-inch slices.

  3. Measure 3 tablespoons onion-pickling liquid into a medium bowl. Add mustard, lemon juice, and remaining 5 tablespoons oil; whisk until smooth. Place salad greens in a large bowl; add mustard mixture, goat cheese, blueberries, and pecans. Toss to coat. Drain remaining pickling liquid from onion; discard liquid and cloves. Add onion to salad; toss to combine. Divide evenly among 4 bowls; top with sliced chicken.

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