This fresh and flavorful 5-minute Spinach Salad with Chicken is the perfect blend of grilled chicken, spinach, strawberries, black beans, red onion, sunflower seeds, basil, and a simple balsamic dressing. Perfect for lunch, dinner, and entertaining.
This salad is so filling that you can eat it like a main dish for lunch or dinner.
It’s a perfect meal for hot summer days because it’s light and you don’t need to cook anything. Just use leftover chicken breast or buy a rotisserie chicken at a grocery store.
I sometimes throw this chicken spinach salad together to serve as a side salad for entertaining. The options are endless!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s protein and fiber-packed, so you can serve it for lunch and dinner.
- There’s no cooking involved! You can use leftover chicken and make this salad in under 5 minutes.
- It’s easy to customize to your tastes and dietary preferences.
- This salad is delicious and satisfying!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Baby Spinach: Fresh spinach is loaded with nutrients and a fantastic leafy green to add to salads. Be sure to wash your spinach well and pat it dry.
- Strawberries: Sweet strawberries add pops of sweet, juicy, and refreshing flavor. They’re a great source of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Black Beans: are a nutritional powerhouse. They are loaded with fiber, protein, and healthy carbs, which keep you feeling full longer. You could also throw in some chickpeas. This isn’t one of those salads that will leave you unsatisfied.
- Sunflower Seeds: Add them for a bit of crunch and more healthy nutrients.
- Red Onion: has a milder, sweeter flavor than yellow and white ones. Be sure to slice the onion thin.
- Homemade Dressing: This salad is packed with the best variety of flavors, so I kept the dressing super simple. Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt are all you’ll need.
- Grilled Chicken: You’ll need one small piece of grilled chicken, or you can use any leftover rotisserie chicken. 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of chicken is plenty per spinach salad. My grilled yogurt marinated chicken kebabs are a perfect pairing.
- Basil: I like to finish this salad with a sprinkle of fresh basil. Its aromatic flavor enhances the whole salad. Feel free to use any fresh herbs -parsley, mint, oregano, tarragon, cilantro, etc.
How To Make Spinach Salad with Chicken
This spinach salad recipe yields 1 serving. Feel free to double or triple up on the ingredients for a larger portion.
- Place your spinach, strawberries, black beans, sunflower seeds, and onion in a mixing bowl.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Gently toss to coat everything in the dressing.
- Transfer your salad to a plate or shallow bowl and arrange the chicken and basil leaves on top.
Alternatively, you can do what I usually do and put all ingredients in a bowl, toss, and dig in!
Use fresh strawberries that are bright red and firm. They won’t hold up in the salad if they’re too ripe.
Another option is whisking the dressing ingredients separately to serve on the side. Adding a tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs would be great here. If you make the dressing separately, you can also use it as a marinade for your chicken.
This salad is a great opportunity to repurpose leftover chicken. Leftover grilled, roasted, or rotisserie chicken works great.
Variations & Substitutitions
- Make it vegan – This easy spinach salad makes a delicious vegan entree without the chicken. Add creamy avocado, chopped walnuts, almonds, or pecans, and cooked and cooled quinoa for some added fat and protein.
- Dressing variations – Replace the balsamic vinegar with red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar. A splash of lemon juice is a great way to brighten things up.
- Add leafy greens – You aren’t limited to just baby spinach. Chopped kale, chopped leaf lettuce, and arugula are great additions.
- Add more berries – Mix and match strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. The more colorful, the better!
- Protein alternatives – This spinach salad also pairs perfectly with shrimp, roasted salmon, or hardboiled eggs.
- Add nuts or seeds – Toss in your favorite chopped nuts such as pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, or sliced almonds for a nutty taste, healthy fats, and a crunchy texture.
The greens will begin to wilt in the dressing, so it’s best to enjoy your spinach salad immediately.
To extend the life of your strawberry spinach salad, store the salad and dressing separately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I add cheese to strawberry spinach salad?
Sure! The black beans give this salad that soft, cheesy component, but you can absolutely add cheese. Crumbled blue cheese, feta, and creamy goat cheese taste amazing in fruity salads.
Can I make a spinach salad with chicken in advance?
To make this salad in advance, you can toss the dry salad ingredients together 1 to 2 days ahead. When you’re ready to serve, toss everything together with the dressing.
More Healthy Salad Recipes
For the Salad:
- 2 cups (about 2 handfuls) baby spinach, washed and padded dry
- 6 strawberries, hulled and quartered
- ¼ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 Tbsp unsalted non-roasted shelled sunflower seeds
- 1 Tbsp thinly sliced red onion
- 1 small piece of grilled chicken or about 1/2 to 2/3 cup sliced leftover barbeque chicken
- 4 or 5 basil leaves, torn or chopped
For the Dressing:
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ Tbsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
- Place the spinach, strawberries, black beans, sunflower seeds and onions into a bowl.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and toss.
- Transfer the spinach on to a plate. Arrange the sliced chicken and basil leaves on top.
- Alternatively, just put all the ingredients into a bowl, toss to coat with the balsamic vinegar and enjoy.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated for 1/2 cup of chicken breast without skin.
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Nutrition InformationYield 1 Serving Size full recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 485.8Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 3.4gTrans Fat 0.1gUnsaturated Fat 18.6gCholesterol 104.3mgSodium 468.7mgCarbohydrates 25.2gFiber 8.8gSugar 6.8gProtein 47.5g
Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.