In between all those hearty and heavy Winter meals, we might crave something lighter. In the Winter that often means soups, but sometimes I just want all the fresh veggies and produce. Enter this fantastic lemon chicken winter salad! Trust me on this one – it’s the only cold salad I crave during Winter. Lemony garlicky chicken, fresh spinach, a pop of pomegranate and blood orange, filling chickpeas and a to-die-for honey mustard dressing are all you need for a complete and healthy meal.
Another delicious Winter salad is this grilled halloumi and garlic roasted veggie quinoa salad, but that’s a hybrid between a warm and a cold salad (which I also love love love!). So if completely cold isn’t your thing, fear not, my friend. These are proof that healthy salads aren’t just for Summer!
I’ve thought long and hard about sharing this recipe. It’s been on my Winter dinner rotation for a few years now, but considering it wasn’t originally my idea – I held back. So yeah, this Winter salad recipe is adapted from Pinch of Yum with just a few alterations.
But it’s so goooood.
The Best Winter Ingredients to Put in a Salad
I really love the simplicity of this salad. It’s not too simple, considering I love variety in my salads, but it’s still quick and easy to make.
- Shallot onion (or your favorite)
- Blood orange (or any other sweet citrus fruit)
Today, most of these ingredients are to be found all year round, except the blood orange. I often choose clementine when blood orange isn’t in season. And orange if neither is in season! I’ve also found that pomegranate taste better in the Winter months, but it’s still available any time.
How to Pan Fry Juicy and Moist Chicken Breast
Yes, it is possible to cook chicken breast without drying it out. Chicken needs to be thoroughly cooked before eaten, and so we tend to overcook the chicken just to be safe. To keep the chicken breast juicy and moist doesn’t require magic tricks, all you need is a timer.
On medium high heat, add vegetable oil (if marinating in oil like in this recipe, skip the extra oil in the pan) and add a max of 2-3 chicken breast in the pan. Do not touch them before turning, this will make those crisp and brown edges yet moist insides. Let it cook for 7ish minutes, then flip it. Lower the heat to medium, and cook for 7ish more minutes on the other side.
Of course, this will depend on the size of the chicken breast, but this works pretty well for the medium sized. The chicken is done when the thickest part of the chicken has an internal temperature of 165F (75C) and the juices are clear. I usually don’t check the temp, but it’s good to know.
If the chicken is really thick in one end, I would use a meat mallet to pound the thick part a little thinner. BEFORE cooking.
And do not forget to let the chicken breast rest for at least 5 minutes on a cutting board before slicing. This will help the juices recirculate into the meat – resulting in a juicier chicken breast.
The Best Ever Honey Mustard Dressing
This dressing is out of this world tasty. It’s tangy, sweet and delicious. Not too mustardy, it’s possible to healthify it (although mayo is life) and hits the sweet spot perfectly.
- Mayonnaise (or greek yoghurt for healthier version)
- Rice Wine Vinegar (or any light vinegar)
- Salt & pepper
That is all you need! I always taste and season accordingly, so I advise you to do the same. And I always start with a little less mustard than I think I want, but I usually end up with about 2 tsp worth. The end result should be a dressing that is a little more tart and little more mustardy than you’d like, because all the fresh produce in the salad really balances it out (listen to Jamie Oliver’s dressing principles if you’re unsure about this).
How to Open a Pomegranate
The most tedious task of this recipe is opening up a pomegranate. I hate this, and I’ve tried a ton of tricks to open it but it’s still not as hassle free as they seem to say.
- Opening it like a blossom: Cut along the top of the pomegranate, around the whole fruit. Then score along the 6 ridges. Now you can take the top of the pomegranate off and break the pomegranate into 6 pomegranate petals. Remove the arils from one petal at a time. This is the way I do it. It’s not super hassle free, but it gets the job done.
- Submerging the pomegranate in water. Score the pomegranate along its 6 ridges, be careful not to cut more than just the skin. Break the pomegranate open over a bowl of cold water. Dump all the content of the 6 ridges into the bowl. The white rinds should float, while the pomegranate arils will sink to the bottom. Now you can drain the water and consume the arils!
- Hit pomegranate halves with a wooden spoon: Cut the pomegranate in the middle, just barely cutting through the skin. Break the pomegranate into two halves. Take one half and hold it with the open side down over a bowl (not touching the bowl) and then hitting the backside with a wooden spoon. The arils will fall out.
That’s it! I hope you’ll like this salad as much as I do. Scroll down to find a printable recipe card. Enjoy!
Did you like this Winter Salad Recipe? Here are other healthy salads to try:
- Healthy Lemony Pasta Salad with Tomato and Zucchini
- Healthy Baked Lemon Chicken with a Green Spring Salad
- Halloumi Garlic Roasted Veggies Quinoa Salad
- Mango Chipotle Quinoa Bowl with Lime Chicken
- Grilled Harissa Chicken Salad with Creamy Cilantro Sauce
- Blackberry Glazed Brussels Sprout and Broccoli
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year.
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Lemon Chicken Winter Salad (+ Honey Mustard Dressing)
- 3 chicken breast about 1 lb / 500g
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 lemon juice of half and zest of the whole
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
Honey Mustard Dressing
- 6 tbsp mayonnaise or Greek yoghurt*
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar or any other light vinegar
- 2 tsp grainy mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper each, or to taste
Winter Salad Ingredients
- 6 cups roughly chopped spinach 200g
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint or parsley. 5 tbsp
- 3 blood oranges or clementines/tangerines. Sliced or diced.
- 2 shallot onion finely sliced
- 1 large avocado sliced or diced
- 3/4 cup pomegranate arils about half a pomegranate
- 14 oz canned chickpeas drained and rinsed about 8 oz or 230g
- Prepare chicken: Whisk marinade ingredients together in a large shallow bowl. Place the whole chicken breasts into the bowl and cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes - 2 hours.
- Make the dressing: Whisk all the ingredients together, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. I always add a little less mustard at first and taste as I go. Remember that the end result should be a little more tart and mustardy than you'd like, because the salad ingredients balance it out.
- Cook the chicken: Drain the chicken breast and discard the extra marinade. Cook on medium high heat for 7 minutes on one side and 7 minutes on the other, flipping just once (chicken is done when thickest part is 165F/75C). Rest the chicken for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Make the salad: Toss all the salad ingredients together. Cut chicken into pieces and toss with the salad ingredients and dressing. I love to serve it with some croutons too for extra crunch.