Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad Recipe

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 1-1.25 lbs)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray or olive oil

For the salad

  • 8-10 cups mixed greens (or your favorite lettuce)
  • 1 red apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese (optional)
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped

For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Prep the chicken: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and set a wire rack on top. Lightly grease the rack with cooking spray.

Make the maple-mustard mixture: In a shallow dish, combine the maple syrup and Dijon mustard.

Create the pecan crust: In another shallow dish, whisk together the panko breadcrumbs, chopped pecans, salt, and pepper.

Coat the chicken: Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Dip each chicken breast in the maple-mustard mixture, then generously coat in the panko-pecan mixture.

Bake the chicken: Place coated chicken breasts on the prepared wire rack. Lightly spray the tops with cooking spray or olive oil. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F). Let cool slightly before slicing.

Assemble the salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the mixed greens, chopped apple, dried cranberries, cheese (if using), and green onions.

Make the dressing: In a small jar, combine all the dressing ingredients. Shake vigorously until emulsified.

Finish and serve: Slice the chicken into strips or bite-sized pieces. Add chicken to the salad. Drizzle with dressing (start with a small amount and add more to taste). Toss to combine and serve immediately.

Tips

  • Pound the chicken: To ensure even cooking, consider pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness before coating.
  • No wire rack? If you don’t have a wire rack, bake the chicken directly on the parchment-lined baking sheet, but it might not get as crispy on the bottom.
  • Air Frying: You can adapt this for an air fryer. Cook the chicken at 375°F for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Make-ahead: You can prepare the chicken and dressing a day in advance for easy assembly later.

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