Chicken Parmesan Salad is a fresh, light spin on classic Chicken Parmesan. From the fresh tomato sauce to the crispy chicken, this recipe for a summer chicken salad is anything but ordinary!
Serve this salad with homemade garlic toast and a glass of wine for an elegant salad that is not only fresh and relatively easy to prepare but is also one of the most flavorful and unique ways to enjoy the classic flavors of Chicken Parmesan.
I love Chicken Parmesan. I love the crunch of the breading on the chicken, the thick, gooey cheese that stretches for miles when you cut off a piece, and the rich tomato sauce that brings the dish altogether.
However, it is not a dish I want to have in the summer. It is simply too heavy.
Lucky for you, this Chicken Parmesan Salad that I am featuring today is a wonderful fresh dinner for the summer--okay, really ANY TIME of the year!
It is light enough for the hottest of days and the chicken on the salad gives you protein to keep you satisfied and full for hours.
It takes the flavor profile from Chicken Parmesan that we all love and revamps it into a mouth-watering salad that still provides crunch from the light breading on the chicken, melted cheese, and the wallop of fresh tomatoes to bring the salad together.
Notes on Ingredients
While the ingredients and instructions may look daunting--I have provided MANY short-cuts that can make this meal possible to have on the table with barely any effort!
- For the Chicken: For the chicken, you need boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets. You can purchase the cutlets from the grocery store (labeled as cutlets for thinly sliced), or you can prepare your own chicken cutlets.
- For the Fresh Tomato Sauce: Fresh, ripe, summer tomatoes are the highlight of this salad. Simmered with olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes, the tomato sauce is so easy to make, so simple, yet so flavorful!
- For the Creamy Parmesan Dressing: This salad dressing is made with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, Parmesan, and Worcestershire sauce. It is sort of like a cross between Creamy Italian dressing and Caesar Dressing and it is the perfect complement to this salad. Of course, you can use store-bought salad dressing as well.
- For the Salad: You only need lettuce for the base of this salad. I suggest the hearts of romaine lettuce, as it holds up well to the dressing and provides crunch to the dish.
How to Make Chicken Parmesan Salad
Step One: Prepare Chicken
To prepare the crispy baked chicken for this salad, you have two options. Stuff the chicken cutlets with cheese BEFORE breading. OR simply bread the chicken cutlets without the addition of cheese. Omitting the cheese filling does speed up the process and baking time for this recipe, but adding the cheese is a decadent, delicious addition.
Regardless of the method, you select, you will need to bread the chicken cutlets by dipping the chicken into flour, then an egg wash, and then panko bread crumbs and bake until crispy and the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Time-Saving Tip: Purchase frozen breaded chicken strips or cutlets and use those for this salad. The flavor is not as good, but a great way to speed up dinner or dress up your kids' chicken nuggets for an adult-worthy meal!
Step Two: Prepare Tomato Sauce
Remove the seeds in the tomatoes by cutting the tomatoes in half and scooping out the seeds with a spoon or gently squeezing them over the sink/garbage can. Then dice up tomatoes into small chunks. By removing the seeds, the sauce will be richer and less watered down and have a better consistency.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and add the diced tomatoes and onions. Simmer for about 10 minutes. or until the tomatoes are broken down and soft and fragrant. Season with salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper to taste. Puree in a blender if smoother consistency is desired.
Time-Saving Tip: If you don't want to make fresh tomato sauce (but that seriously takes the dish up about 10 notches), use your favorite store brand or homemade tomato sauce.
Step Three: Prepare Dressing
I LOVE the dressing on this salad. It tastes like a Homemade Creamy Italian dressing and is the perfect complement to this salad. Of course, you can use store-bought salad dressing as well.
In a blender, combine the ingredients for the dressing.
Time-Saving Tip: Purchase a bottled creamy parmesan dressing or caesar dressing to use in place of the homemade dressing.
Step Four: Assemble the Salad
To serve this Chicken Parmesan Salad, toss the chopped lettuce with the prepared dressing. Then top the dressed lettuce with the breaded chicken, that has been sliced into bite-size strips. Spoon over the fresh tomato sauce and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
More Creative Chicken Salad Recipes
- BBQ Chicken Salad
- Caribbean Chicken Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Waldorf Chicken Salad
- Southwest Chicken Salad
Chicken Parmesan Salad
For the Chicken Parmesan
- 4 boneless skinless chicken cutlets pounded thin to ⅛"
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese cut into 4 2" long pieces
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup flour
For the Fresh Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups diced fresh tomatoes seeded
- ½ cup diced onions
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and pepper
For the Homemade Creamy Italian Dressing
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- kosher salt and pepper
For the Salad
- 1 head of romaine lettuce washed and diced
For the Chicken
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a cooling rack on top of it.
- Place a piece of mozzarella cheese in each chicken cutlet and roll up the chicken, securing with toothpicks.
- In 3 pie dishes, mix together the panko, parsley, and 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper in one dish, the flour and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a second, and whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water in the last dish.
- Roll each piece of chicken in the flour, coating completely. Then dip the chicken into the egg wash, and finally into the panko mixture. Place the breaded chicken onto the cooling rack that has been placed on the cookie sheet. I like to mist the chicken breasts with my oil mister or non-stick spray. This step is not necessary, it just adds a richer color to the dish.
- Bake chicken for 20 minutes or until an internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
For the Tomato Sauce
- Remove the seeds in the tomatoes by cutting the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon or gently squeeze over sink/garbage can. Then dice up tomatoes into small chunks.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and add the diced tomatoes and onions. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Puree in blender if smoother consistency desired.
For the Dressing
- Blend together the lemon juice, yogurt, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Toss the salad dressing with the chopped lettuce and divide the lettuce between 4 plates. Top the lettuce with the sliced chicken cutlets Divide the tomato mixture evenly on top of the chicken. Top with fresh grated Parmesan.
- If you want to cut calories or time involved in this chicken Parmesan, skip stuffing the chicken with fresh mozzarella and just bread the cutlets. Then cut the baking time down to 12-15 minutes.
- If you don't want to make fresh tomato sauce (but that seriously takes the dish up about 10 notches), use your favorite store brand or homemade tomato sauce.
- I LOVE the dressing on this salad. It tastes like a Homemade Creamy Italian dressing and is the perfect complement to this salad. Of course, you can use store-bought salad dressing as well.