Chicken Arugula Salad 

By Rena |

Chicken Arugula Salad is so colorful and perfect for lunch or dinner! Loaded with tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, corn, and jalapeños, this easy chicken salad recipe also has a cajun twist to it. Drizzled in fresh lime, garlic, and cilantro buttermilk dressing, it’s perfect for meal prep!

top view sliced chicken breast over arugula salad

Simple salads are my favorite for easy lunches or a light dinner. This Arugula Chicken Salad is so quick and easy to throw together, and it has an amazing cajun kick to it. It’s delicious! Loaded with tomatoes, bell pepper (any color!), red onion, corn, and jalapeño, it is super colorful and fresh with a punch of spice. It all get’s drizzled with an amazing dressing! This arugula salad dressing has fresh lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and buttermilk in it. It is addictive, and you’ll definitely want to make extra dressing for other salads throughout the week!

Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy: This healthy Arugula Chicken Salad recipe couldn’t be easier! All you have to do is marinate and grill the chicken for a few minutes, slice up the vegetables, blend the salad dressing, and put it all together. It’s ready in no time at all!
  • Healthy: This delicious salad is packed full of 6 colorful vegetables plus healthy lean chicken. I also use raw garlic in the salad dressing which is extremely good for you.
  • Amazing salad dressing: Speaking of the salad dressing, you’re going to want to make a double batch and put it on every salad. It is delicious!
  • Meal prep: Arugula Chicken Salad is a great meal prep option. I like to prep all of the ingredients and store them separately. Then, if I’m taking it to work for lunch, I just pop some of everything into a Tupperware container, and off I go. It takes about 2 minutes to do.
top view of arugula salad in a white bowl topped with sliced chicken breast and lime granishes

What’s in Arugula Salad with chicken?

  • Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breast is my meat of choice because it’s lean, easy to cook and I always have it on hand. Boneless Skinless chicken thighs would be great as well.
  • Oil: A healthy, neutral-tasting oil like olive oil or avocado oil coats the chicken while it’s marinating, and also makes it easier to cook on the grill or in a pan.
  • Seasoning: The chicken marinade also contains Cajun spice for a little spicy kick, along with some kosher salt and pepper for flavor.
  • Arugula: Fresh, crispy, and peppery, arugula is one of my favorite leafy greens! However, you can use any delicious salad mix of your choice.
  • Other vegetables: Tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, and corn add color, flavor, texture, and nutrition to this salad. You can use any kind of tomato (I prefer cherry), and also any color of bell pepper.
  • Jalapeño: For a little spice I added a sliced jalapeño. I chose to remove the seeds but if you like extra heat, leave them on!
  • Cheese: Grated parmesan cheese brings a tanginess to this arugula salad recipe. It is so delicious!

Arugula Salad Dressing:

  • Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand or are avoiding dairy, you can add 1 tsp of vinegar to your half cup measurement and top it up with unsweetened almond milk. This is great for the paleo or whole30 diet as well.
  • Lime: The lime tastes amazing with the cajun seasoning! You could also use lemon juice if needed.
  • Cilantro: To add a burst of freshness to the arugula chicken salad dressing, I threw in some fresh cilantro. Fresh herbs go so well with anything savory!
  • Garlic: Garlic is so good for you! I added one minced garlic clove to the dressing. I mince it before adding it to the food processor to make sure it is well incorporated.
  • Seasoning: Season this arugula salad dressing recipe with salt and black pepper, to taste.
Individual ingredients laid on a table.

How to make arugula chicken salad

1. Begin by placing the chicken in a ziplock bag together with the oil, cajun, salt, and pepper.

Chicken marinating in a ziplock bag.

2. Stir through the bag and allow it to marinate for up to 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the veggies for the salad and place them in a large bowl.

4. In a food processor, add all the ingredients for the dressing and process until smooth.

5. Preheat a large grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat.

6. Grill the marinated chicken breasts for 6-8 minutes, per side, or until the internal temperature reads 165F.

Chicken cooking in a pan.

7. Allow the chicken to sit for 5 minutes before slicing it.

8. Top the salad with your sliced grilled chicken and drizzle with the dressing.

Tips for success

  • Switch up the spice blend! Instead of cajun seasoning, try creole seasoning, lemon pepper, simple salt and pepper, roasted garlic and herb, taco seasoning, old bay seasoning, or any of your own favorites.
  • Use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts if desired.
  • Add extra spice by leaving in the seeds of the jalapeño or adding in another jalapeño.
  • Store the ingredients separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • To travel with this for a meal prepped lunch add some of each ingredient to a container, but place the salad dressing in a separate jar or container so that the chicken arugula salad stays as fresh as possible.
close up chicken arugula salad

More easy chicken salad recipes to try

top view of chicken arugula salad in a bowl

more healthy recipes that you may like

top view salad bowl

Frequently asked questions

What does arugula go well with?

Arugula (also known as rocket) is a fantastic leafy green, perfect for adding to salads along with or in place of spinach, lettuce, and other leaves. It pairs well with proteins, in particular chicken and beef. Its pepperiness complements them deliciously.

Is arugula okay cooked?

Arugula can be tossed into warm dishes in place of spinach. You may want to chop it a little first if the leaves are long and perhaps cut back on pepper as arugula has a natural pepper taste. It’s also a very tasty substitute for basil in pesto!

Is arugula healthier raw or cooked?

Like most fresh ingredients, it’s healthier to eat arugula raw, like in this chicken arugula salad. Raw foods retain their nutrients which your body thrives on. Cooking ingredients will destroy some of the nutrients, so when possible, eat some raw food for good health!

top view chicken salad in a bowl with lime wedges on the side

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top view of arugula salad in a white bowl topped with sliced chicken breast and lime granishes

Chicken Arugula Salad 

Chicken Arugula Salad is so colorful and perfect for lunch or dinner! Loaded with tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, corn, and jalapeños, this easy chicken salad recipe also has a cajun twist to it.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 287kcal
Author: Rena

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cajun spice blend
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 1 sliced jalapeño seeded and sliced
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1 ear of pre-cooked yellow corn

Arugula Salad Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain/Greek yogurt
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Place the chicken in a ziplock bag together with the oil, cajun, salt and pepper.
  • Stir through the bag and allow it to marinate for up to 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the veggies for the salad and place them in a large bowl.
  • In a food processor, add all the ingredients for the dressing and process until smooth.
  • Preheat a large grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • Grill the marinated chicken breasts for 6-8 minutes, per side, or until the internal temperature reads 165F.
  • Allow the chicken to sit for 5 minutes before slicing it.
  • Top the salad with your sliced grilled chicken and drizzle with the dressing.

Notes

  1. Switch up the spice blend! Instead of cajun seasoning, try creole seasoning, lemon pepper, simple salt and pepper, roasted garlic and herb, taco seasoning, old bay seasoning, or any of your own favorites.
  2. Use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts if desired.
  3. Add extra spice by leaving in the seeds of the jalapeño or adding in another jalapeño.
  4. Store the ingredients separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  5. To travel with this for a meal prepped lunch add some of each ingredient to a container, but place the salad dressing in a separate jar or container so that the chicken arugula salad stays as fresh as possible.

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 278mg | Potassium: 866mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2358IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 2mg
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