This salad with chicken tenders is the perfect meal for people who love hearty and flavorful comfort food with a healthier twist! This easy recipe is loaded with toppings and dressing, making it a complete and satisfying meal. The oven-baked chicken tenders are juicy and delicious and they pair perfectly with the fresh tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and lettuce. The ranch dressing adds a creamy and tangy flavor that ties the whole dish together. This salad is perfect for a light dinner or main dish lunch. It’s also easily customized to your liking. Add your favorite toppings, such as avocado, bacon or cheese, to make it your own! This salad is also easily made gluten free and dairy free, if needed!
Why You’ll Love This Salad
It’s loaded with flavor and texture!
This salad is so easy to make and even a beginner cook can make it.
It’s super customizable and you can add any toppings you would like!
It is perfect for people who don’t like salads!
This salad is a satisfying meal.
It is kid-friendly and a great way to get in veggies.
It is the perfect lunch or dinner option!
All you need to make this salad with chicken tenders is two bowls and a baking sheet.
Chicken Tenders: Chicken is a popular food choice for many reasons. It’s delicious, affordable, and easy to cook. But did you know that chicken is also a nutrient-rich food? Chicken is an excellent source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. Chicken is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including niacin, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and zinc. These nutrients play important roles in energy production, brain health, and overall health and well-being. In addition to the nutrients listed above, chicken also contains other beneficial compounds, such as choline and tryptophan.
When it comes to selecting chicken, I typically will opt for chicken tenders because it is easier. If you cannot find those, you can just use chicken breasts and cut them into tender-sized pieces. I like to use high-quality and organic meat whenever I can. My favorite place to get my meat is Butcher Box because they have organic and high-quality options and it gets delivered right to your door! Make sure the chicken is fully defrosted. This will help it cook faster.
Breadcrumbs: Any breadcrumbs will work here! I used gluten free breadcrumbs because I am gluten free, but feel free to use regular breadcrumbs.
Egg: The egg is going to be used here to bind the breadcrumbs to the chicken. Eggs are a popular binder for chicken tenders because they are sticky and help the breading adhere to the chicken. This results in a crispy, flavorful coating that stays on the chicken even when cooked. If you are not able to use egg, feel free to use coconut milk or avocado oil instead.
Lettuce: There are many different types of lettuce available, each with its own unique flavor and nutrient profile. Here are some of the most popular lettuce options for salad: romaine, iceburg, spinach, butter, kale or arugula. Feel free to use any type you would like!
Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are a type of tomato that is small and round, about the size of a cherry. They are a popular ingredient in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes. Cherry tomatoes are also a good source of several nutrients, including: vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. In addition to these nutrients, cherry tomatoes also contain other beneficial compounds, such as flavonoids and chlorogenic acid. These compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cucumber: Cucumbers are refreshing, hydrating and add a crunch to this salad! They are a source of vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium.
Red Onion: Red onions are a type of onion that has a reddish-purple color. They have a sharper flavor than other types of onions and they are often used in salads and other dishes where their flavor and color can be appreciated. They are a great source of: vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants.
Dressing: I love to pair this salad with ranch dressing. Feel free to use your favorite store bought ranch. If you are looking for a homemade ranch, try out this dressing. If you are dairy free, try out this option!
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425°F and gather your ingredients.
Step 2: Pour breadcrumbs in one bowl. Crack an egg in another bowl and whisk until smooth. If you are not able to tolerate eggs, feel free to use 1/4 cup avocado oil or 1/4 cup coconut milk instead.
Step 3: Dip each chicken tender into the egg and then the breadcrumbs, rolling it around until each piece has breadcrumbs sticking to both sides. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy.
Step 4: While the chicken tenders are baking, chop the vegetables and assemble the salad.
Step 5: Add chicken tenders to the top and drizzle with ranch dressing. Enjoy!
The best way to store this salad with chicken tenders is to separate the chicken tenders from the lettuce and vegetables. This will help to prevent the salad from wilting. Store the ingredients in a sealed container in the refrigerator. This will help to keep them fresh and keep them from drying out. If you are storing the salad and chicken tenders together, you will need to eat them within 2-3 days. If you are storing them separately, the salad can be stored for up to 5 days and the chicken tenders can be stored for up to 4 days. When you are ready to eat the salad, simply combine the salad ingredients and chicken tenders in a bowl and toss to coat. You can then add your favorite dressing and enjoy!
Homemade Chicken Tenders Versus Store Bought Chicken Tenders
You can definitely use store bought chicken tenders in this salad for a shortcut! They are super convenient and easy to prepare and are a great option if you are short on time or energy. They are often available in a variety of flavors and seasonings, however they may contain additives. They also may not be as fresh or flavorful as homemade chicken tenders.
With homemade chicken tenders, you can control the ingredients and the flavor profile. You can also make a larger batch of chicken tenders and freeze them for later, which can save time and money! Making chicken tenders at home is definitely more time consuming though.
Ultimately, the best way to decide whether to use homemade or store-bought chicken tenders for a salad is to consider your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a fresh, healthier and flavorful option, homemade chicken tenders are the way to go. However, if you are short on time or energy, store-bought chicken tenders can be a convenient and easy option.
Here are some additional tips for creating your own variations of a salad with chicken tenders:
- Choose different types of lettuce, such as spinach, kale, or arugula, to add variety and nutrients to your salad.
- Add different types of vegetables, such as bell peppers, carrots, celery and radishes, for color and flavor.
- Add different types of fruits, such as apples, berries and grapes, for sweetness and variety.
- Add different types of nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, for added protein and healthy fats.
- Add different types of whole grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, and farro, for added fiber and nutrients.
- Top your salad with your favorite dressing, such as vinaigrette dressing, lemon garlic dressing or Caesar dressing.
- Add your favorite sauce to the chicken tenders, such a buffalo sauce or BBQ sauce.
Is chicken in salad healthy?
Yes, chicken in salad can be a healthy option. Chicken is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. It is also low in calories and fat, and it is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including iron, niacin and vitamin B6.
What do chicken tenders do for you?
Chicken tenders are a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. They are also a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including iron, niacin and vitamin B6.
Can you use store bought chicken tenders for this instead of homemade?
Yes! Feel free to use store bought chicken tenders for this salad instead of homemade. This can be a quick and easy option!
Be sure to try these delicious lunch and dinner options next:
Salad with Chicken Tenders
- 1 baking sheet
- 2 bowls
- 1 package chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs use gluten free if needed
- 1 egg If you do not tolerate eggs, feel free to substitute with 1/4 cup olive oil or coconut milk here.
- 1 container lettuce
- 1 cucumber
- 1 container cherry tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 1 cup ranch feel free to also make your own!
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and gather your ingredients.
- Pour breadcrumbs in one bowl. Crack an egg in another bowl and whisk until smooth. If you are not able to tolerate eggs, feel free to use 1/4 cup avocado oil or 1/4 cup coconut milk instead.
- Dip each chicken tender into the egg and then the breadcrumbs, rolling it around until each piece has breadcrumbs sticking to both sides. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy.
- While the chicken tenders are baking, chop the vegetables and assemble the salad.
- Add chicken tenders to the top and drizzle with ranch dressing. Enjoy!