Recipe: Grilled chicken and berry salad

Nothing says summer like a plate of delicious grilled meat paired with a cool, crisp salad loaded with fresh seasonal produce. This recipe combines the best of both! Succulent grilled chicken combines with aromatic basil, plump blackberries and peppery arugula for a healthy salad that’s bursting with flavor ― and good for your teeth.

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    Basil has phytochemicals that help protect against oral cancer.

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    Blackberries are a great source of vitamin K, which is important for strong teeth and bones.

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    Arugula is full of potassium, which helps lower the risk of tooth decay.

Grilling tips

This recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken, and the combination of high heat and lean meat can make grilling it a bit tricky. But with the right preparation and technique, the results can be fabulous.


Chicken thighs

Chicken thighs are a better choice for grilling than chicken breasts.

  • Their higher fat content and dark meat helps keep them juicy, and they hold up well to high temperatures.
  • Their largely uniform thickness also helps them to cook evenly.
  • Best of all, chicken thighs don’t require marinating. Just dry the chicken thoroughly, season each side with salt and pepper and you’re ready to grill!
  • If you’d prefer to marinate the chicken, create a marinade from olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and a splash of lime or lemon juice, coat the chicken thoroughly, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.


Chicken breast

If you’d prefer to use chicken breast, a little bit of prep work can go a long way toward keeping your chicken moist and flavorful.

  • Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. Place the breasts in sealable plastic storage bag. Lay the bag flat on your countertop and pound the chicken gently with a meat pounder, pan or rolling pin until the breasts are about three-quarters of an inch thick throughout.
  • Brine your chicken. Make a brine by dissolving one part salt and one part sugar into five parts water. (Pickle juice also works nicely.) Place the chicken in a large bowl and pour in enough brine to cover the meat. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and let the chicken soak for about three hours. Remove the chicken, dry it thoroughly and season both sides with salt and pepper.


  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast meat
  • Salt and pepper
  • Brine mixture or pickle juice (chicken breasts)
  • Marinade (optional for chicken thighs)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  •  1½ teaspoons honey
  •  1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 ounces mixed baby greens
  • 2 ounces arugula
  • 3 ounces fresh basil, stems removed and large leaves torn
  • 6 ounces fresh blackberries (you can substitute raspberries, strawberries or blueberries if necessary, or use a combination of berries)
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • A handful of walnuts

You'll also need

  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray for the grill
  • A meat thermometer


  1. Clean your grill grates with a grill scraper or grill brush with plastic bristles. (Metal brushes may leave behind bristles that can become lodged in your meat.)
  2. Coat the grates thoroughly with oil. You can rub them with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil or spray them with cooking spray. (The oil and spray are flammable, so always do this before you light your grill!)
  3. Light the grill. If you have a gas grill, light the burners on only one side and leave the other burners off. For charcoal grills, pile the coals on only one side of the grill.
  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, between 375 F and 400 F. (Higher temperatures will dry out your chicken, while lower temperatures will cause your meat to stick to the grill.)
  5. Place the chicken on the hot side of the grill. Leave the grill uncovered. Grill the chicken for about 5 minutes per side.
  6. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. When the chicken reaches 165 F, remove it from the grill. (If you don’t have a thermometer, use a knife to cut through one piece of chicken to see whether it’s completely cooked.)
  7. If the chicken browns before it cooks through, place it on the cool side of the grill, close the lid and continue cooking until it reaches the correct temperature.
  8. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then cube it to your desired size.
  9. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  10. Add mixed greens and basil; toss gently to coat.
  11. Divide salad evenly among four plates and top with chicken, blackberries, walnuts and goat cheese.