Take a trip to the tropics with this easy Caribbean Salad! Grilled chicken is paired with fresh mangoes, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and a bright orange vinaigrette for a fresh, hearty, healthy salad reminiscent Cheesecake Factory’s Luau Salad.
When my husband I first started dating, we frequented Cheesecake Factory. The restaurant happened to be close by my parent’s house and was at a fun outdoor mall that we both enjoyed walking around.
While we were falling in love with each other, we also fell in love with Cheesecake Factory’s Luau Salad.
Cheesecake Factory’s Luau Salad was a fresh salad made with grilled chicken, fresh mangoes, tortilla strips and a bright dressing. It has now been discontinued and replaced with a very similar salad Chicken Mango Avocado Salad.
But I used my memory of their Luau Salad to create a Caribbean Salad. It is filled with fresh produce, flavor, and tastes like a tropical vacation!
How to Make Tropical Chicken Salad
This entree salad that has been inspired by tropical flavors is quite easy to make. The hardest part is marinating the chicken–which is totally optional, but highly encouraged for the best flavor!
Step One: Prepare Orange Vinaigrette
- Whisk together the ingredients or shake together in a glass jar.
Step Two: Marinate Chicken
- Remove 1/4 cup of the dressing.
- Place the chicken in sealable bag or air tight container and pour the 1/4 cup dressing over the chicken.
- Refrigerate the chicken in the marinade for 30 minutes up to 4 hours. You do not want to do longer than 4 hours as the citrus will begin to break down the chicken.
Step Three: Grill Chicken
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Remove chicken from marinade and place on grill.
- Discard marinade.
- Grill chicken for 6-8 minutes per side, or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Remove chicken to cutting board and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Step Four: Assemble Salad
- Chop up lettuce, pineapple, mango, and red pepper.
- Drain canned mandarin oranges well.
- Toss lettuce with fruit and then top with grilled chicken.
- Sprinkle with poppy and sesame seeds and serve with the tortilla strips and reserved dressing.
Notes on Caribbean Salad
- I love the burst of flavor that mandarin oranges give this salad, but feel free to omit or use fresh, segmented mandarin oranges.
- Tortilla strips are found typically next to croutons at your grocery store, but crushed up tortilla chips work just as well.
- The poppy seeds and sesame seeds are completely optional, but do add a nice crunch to the salad.
Healthy Salad Recipes
- Waldorf Chicken Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Kale Salad with Apples
- Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Caribbean Salad Recipe
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 1 head romaine lettuce diced
- 1 mango diced
- 1 cup fresh pineapple diced
- 1 cup mandarin oranges rinsed and drained
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
- 1/4 cup Orange Juice Concentrate
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Prepare Orange Vinaigrette
- Make the dressing by stirring everything together.
- Remove 1/4 cup of dressing and pour over chicken. Marinade chicken for 30 minutes up to 4 hours in fridge, prior to grilling.
- Preheat grill to medium high. Remove chicken from marinade and grill for 6-8 minutes per side, depending on thickness of chicken.
- Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes and then dice into strips.
- Toss together the lettuce with pineapple, mango, red pepper, and oranges. Top with grilled chicken and sesame seeds and poppy seeds.
- Serve the salad with reserved dressing and tortilla strips.