This fresh salad with orange slices, cooked chicken, feta and almonds couldn’t be simpler and is a nice healthy lunch to pack for mid-week! And it’s a great way to use up any cooked chicken you might have on hand.
When it comes to lunch around here, I like to keep it light. Healthy. And also use up what I might have on hand in the fridge! There’s nothing worse than watching produce go bad, am I right?
And when winter hits, it’s always nice to have some fresh and use up all that beautiful citrus in season. So this time I thought why not add some fresh orange slices to a chicken salad.
The orange slices add some brightness and pairs well with the creamy feta, crunchy almonds, and hearty chicken. Yup, this salad has it all going on.
Ingredients for this fresh chicken and orange salad
- Olive oil
- Chicken tenders
- Favorite seasoning
- Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Baby greens
- Red onion
- Feta cheese
- Sliced almonds
How to make this salad
- Cook the chicken. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken pieces and season with the spice mix to taste. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and juices run clear, about ten minutes. Remove to a cutting board and cool slightly. Chop roughly.
- Make the dressing. In a small mixing bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the dressing between four small containers if packing the salad to go.
- Assemble the salads. Divide the greens among four dinner plates, or if packing for take-away, into four dishes with lids. Divide the chicken, orange slices, sliced onion, feta cheese crumbles, and sliced almonds in layers atop the greens.
- Serve it up! Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve the dressing on the side.
How do I cut the orange for this salad?
You can peel the orange and then cut into slices. Or you can supreme the orange, which is a method of cutting the orange into segments. It’s the same method that I use to cut a grapefruit.
Can I use pre-cooked chicken?
You absolutely can. Using chicken that’s already cooked and prepped in your fridge makes this salad come together quickly. You can a Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker and save the leftovers to make this salad with!
Can I use pre-made balsamic vinaigrette?
I do recommend making your own dressing as it’s always healthier and cheaper than buying a bottle of salad dressing. You can make this Balsamic Salad Dressing Recipe and keep it in your fridge to dress this salad with.
Homemade salad dressing is always a good cheap idea!
Can I use a different dressing?
I love balsamic dressing on this fresh chicken salad with orange slices, but you can always switch it up and make a different salad dressing. Try this Easy Homemade Italian Salad Dressing Recipe instead!
Can I use a different nut?
Any nuts or seeds will be great in a salad, but consider these options if you want to veer from pecans:
- pine nuts
- sunflower seeds
Can I use a different fruit than orange slices?
I love the orange slices in this salad, but you can definitely switch it up1 Fruits are always a wonderful addition to green salads. They add flavor, fiber, color, and texture. Some of the best ones include:
- berries – sliced strawberries or whole blackberries, raspberries, blueberries or boysenberries
- sliced or chopped apples or pears (watch for browning and consider adding at the last minute)
- sliced or chopped oranges or grapefruits, preferably cut into supremes
- chopped or sliced mango and avocado (yes, avocado is a fruit)
- stone fruit such as apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums
- pitted cherries
- sliced figs
- dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins
HOW DO YOU STORE SALAD SO IT DOESN’T GET SOGGY?
As I mentioned, I love making salads for meal prep. It takes just minutes on a weekend afternoon but I reap the rewards manifold throughout the week.
The trick, of course, is to keep the salad from getting soggy.
Moisture is the enemy when it comes to salads, so hold off adding the dressing until right before you serve it. Even before then, you can extend the shelf-life of your meal prepped salad by making sure the other components are very dry.
Use a salad spinner to get the salad greens very dry and pat the raspberries dry before adding them to the salad. My salads last a full four days when done in this manner with very fresh ingredients.
If you want to take it all a step further, in the vein of Mason Jar Salads, place the heavy, wet items (chicken, cheese, nuts, berries) in the dish first and top with the greens. You’ll need to invert the dish or have room to shake it all up before you serve it.
Savvy readers will notice that this salad follows a certain template:
greens + protein + fruit + nuts + onion + cheese = awesome salad
You can recreate this at home with whatever you have on hand. Will it taste the same as this salad? Of course not. But, the point of Good Cheap Eats is to help you make the most of what you have. So, if blueberries and walnuts are what you got, go with it!
HOW TO MAKE THIS GOOD AND CHEAP:
A salad with chicken, cheese, and nuts tastes like a million bucks, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. The feta cheese, almonds, and chicken are the high price items in this recipe. Watch for sales and stock up.
- Freeze the cheese. Stretch your cheese purchase by freezing it in small containers. This will extend the shelf life of your purchase and help you enjoy it for several weeks to come.
- Make your own dressings. Bottled dressings are either way too expensive or full of junk. I love to make my own dressings. Not only are they quick and economical to prepare, but they allow me to control the ingredients that I use.
HOW I MAKE THIS RECIPE EASY:
This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:
- plastic cutting boards – I have blue boards for veggies and white boards for meat.
- Ergo Chef chef’s knife – I’ve had my set for several years and they work well.
- salad spinner – I love this large model salad spinner with a salad serving bowl.
Salad with Chicken, Oranges, Feta, and Almonds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb chicken tenders
- 1 tbsp favorite seasoning blend such as FishMama Spice Mix
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- black pepper
- 1 6-ounce package baby greens
- 4 orange peel and pith cut away and sliced into rounds
- 1/4 red onion sliced
- 2 oz feta cheese crumbles (1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds toasted
- In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken pieces and season with the spice mix to taste. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and juices run clear, about ten minutes. Remove to a cutting board and cool slightly. Chop roughly.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the dressing between four small containers if packing the salad to go.
- Divide the greens among four dinner plates, or if packing for take-away, into four dishes with lids.
- Divide the chicken, orange slices, sliced onion, feta cheese crumbles, and sliced almonds in layers atop the greens.
- Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve the dressing on the side.