Lemon Garlic “Grilled” Chicken Salad is loaded with fresh flavor and “grilled” in the air fryer for a quick and refreshing meal on hot summer days. Marinated in a vinegar-based salad dressing, adding flavor to chicken couldn’t be easier!
Today’s Pantry Essential: Salad Dressing
I’m not the only one who has bought dressing in bulk for a party, only for not even a full one to be used – am I? Vinegar-based or oil-based dressings are great to have on hand and use as marinades for chickens or steaks, taking the guess work out of seasonings.
What to know about marinades
Marinades are a easy way to add loads of flavor to a meat without the guess work. As long as your marinade has oil, acid, and spices you’ll find it works wonders. The amount of time you need to marinate a piece of meat will depend on the meat itself and the thickness.
Beef and pork tend to take longer for the marinade to penetrate compared to chicken. In a pinch you could marinate chicken for just 15 minutes and still get a decent amount of flavor. Pork and beef are going to need much longer, usually overnight, to really get flavor.
Marinating meats can be a great way to prep freezer meals. Adding various cuts of meat to Ziploc bags with vegetables and freezing will create dump and go recipes for seasons you really need dinner without the forethought. All that’s required is a slow cooker and pulling it the night before.
Exact measurements can be found in the printable recipe card below.
- Use any vinegar-based dressing you have on hand. Olive Garden dressing can now be purchased at Walmart. Make your own version of their salad at home!
- Add fresh berries, veggies, or cheeses from your fridge to fill and round out the dish.
- Instead of the air fryer, feel free to grill or smoke this chicken for the grill marks and extra flavor.
Tips for good food on a budget!
Got stale bread? Make your own croutons by slicing bread into 1/2 inch cubes, drizzling with olive oil and spices, then toasting on a sheet pan in the oven at 400F until golden brown.
This is an overview of the instructions. For complete directions, scroll down to the bottom.
- Add the chicken to a large bowl and pour enough dressing in to coat the chicken. Use gloved hands or tongs to mix the chicken all around to ensure it’s fully coated.
- Cover with plastic wrap and marinade for 2 hours refrigerated.
- Air fry at 380F for 10 minutes, followed by 400F for 5 minutes for more of a char.
- Serve over salad, topped with fresh dressing.
How to store and love your leftovers
- Refrigerate: Leftover chicken can be stored in an air tight container for about 3-5 days. Salad ingredients should be stored separately to maintain their structure.
- Freeze: Chicken can be marinated in a large Ziploc bag and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and cook as directed in the air fryer.
- Reheat: This salad can be served with the chicken cold, or you can microwave the chicken on a plate in 60 second increments before slicing and adding to a fresh salad.
If storing leftover salad, remove the croutons and plan on adding fresh croutons the next day.
Timing will depend on the thickness and size of your chicken breasts, as well as how full the air fryer is. In my area 1 pound chicken breasts are normal. Butterflying and pounding chicken breasts to be an even 1/2 inch in thickness will help them cook more evenly. This should take between 10-15 minutes total at 380F.
Be on the safe side and use an instant read thermometer to check the thickest part of the chicken breasts. The internal temperature should be a minimum of 165F.
- Naan Bread
- Curry Butternut Squash Soup
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Air Fryer Lemon Garlic Chicken Salad
- large bowl
- tongs or gloves
- 2 pounds chicken breasts (9.28) boneless, skinless
- 5 ounces spring mix lettuce (2.73)
- 1/2 purple onion (0.51) thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound strawberries (1.56) hulled and sliced
- 1 ounce croutons (0.25)
- 8 ounces Lemon Garlic Dressing (4.84) Chosen Foods
- Filet chicken breasts and pound to about 1/2 inch in thickness. Add to a gallon sized Ziploc bag with half of the dressing. Reserve the other have for topping the salad. Refrigerate to marinate for 2 hours up to overnight.
- Use tongs remove chicken from bag and place evenly in air fryer basket. Air fry at 380F for 10 minutes, followed by 400F for 5 minutes. Remove and let rest for 2 minutes before slicing.
- Assemble the salad either in a large serving bowl or individual portions by layering salad, sliced onion, sliced strawberries, sliced chicken, croutons, and a final drizzle of dressing. Serve with lemon wedge if desired.