Chicken Caprese Salad with spinach, juicy chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and homemade croutons. This dinner salad is so easy to make and the homemade croutons take it over the top!

a chicken caprese salad topped with basil, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and croutons in a bowl.
Photo Credits: Andrea Gralow

This chicken caprese salad was inspired by some leftover crusty bread I had laying around the house and my favorite summertime salad, the classic caprese with its layers of tomato, mozzarella, and basil drizzled with olive oil. It’s summer salad perfection.

With caprese as my jumping off point, I built the rest of the salad by making the most of what I had on hand — chicken breasts, spinach, and leftover bread for homemade croutons. Don't let the homemade croutons intimidate you! They only take a couple of minutes and they are a great way to use up leftover bread.

The first time I made this salad, I used leftover focaccia for the croutons (10/10 highly recommend) but really any crusty bread will do. 

This caprese salad recipe makes 4 large dinner salads. I finish it with a simple drizzle of quality olive oil and balsamic glaze, but you can boost that basil flavor even further by making basil vinaigrette and drizzling it over the top of your salad.

I love a good dinner salad recipe — vegetables and protein all in one. No need to worry about a side dish — just cook, assemble and go. 

Table of Contents
  1. Chicken Caprese Salad Ingredients 
  2. How to Make Chicken Caprese Salad 
  3. What to Serve with Chicken Caprese Salad
  4. More Dinner Salad Recipes
  5. Recommended For This Recipe
  6. Chicken Caprese Salad Recipe
ingredients for chicken caprese salad including chicken breast, olive oil, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, spinach, basil leaves, grape tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.

Chicken Caprese Salad Ingredients 

  • Crusty bread: Any good crusty bread will do for making homemade croutons. It’s a great way to use up the lingering bits of a loaf. Leftover focaccia makes great homemade croutons.  
  • Chicken breast: To make quick work of this salad I buy chicken breast then slice it into thinner cutlets. It reduced the cooking time and helps the chicken cook more evenly.
  • Italian seasoning: I use this homemade Italian seasoning, but you could also use a combination of thyme, rosemary, garlic, and oregano.
  • Olive oil: The only dressing on this salad is olive oil and vinegar, so quality really counts. I like to use a full-bodied flavorful olive oil like our Italian Nocellara or our Spanish Hojiblanca. I also use it to cook the chicken breast and make the croutons. 
  • Spinach: I always have a tub of baby spinach in the house so that’s the natural choice for a bed of greens for me, but you could also use arugula or a nice crunchy romaine lettuce. 
  • Fresh Basil leaves: Just a handful will do. It’s a classic ingredient in a caprese salad so it’s a must in this one as well. Basil adds an herbal sweetness to the salad.
  • Grape tomatoes: I like to use grape or cherry tomatoes in this caprese salad just because they are bite sized already, but if you have a larger slicing tomato go ahead and use that instead.  
  • Mozzarella: Smaller orbs of pearl mozzarella work best for this salad because they are bite sized, but if all you can find is a large ball of mozzarella don’t sweat it. Just chop it up and toss it in the bowl.
  • Balsamic glaze: Balsamic glaze is a little thicker and sweeter than balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have balsamic glaze on hand you can always use balsamic vinegar as it is or or reduce it to make Homemade Balsamic Glaze. It only takes a few minutes. 
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: Salt makes the other flavors stand out, while pepper adds that earthy, peppery kick. 
a close up of 4 chicken caprese salads topped with basil, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and croutons in bowls.

How to Make Chicken Caprese Salad 

You will have to do a little cooking for this salad, but it’s all done in the same skillet so you won’t have a ton of extra dishes to worry about. First, make the homemade croutons. It’s a great way to use up bread before it goes bad and homemade croutons are one thousand times more delicious than anything you could buy at the store. Then in the same skillet used to make the croutons cook the chicken breasts. The rest is just tossing ingredients into a bowl (or bowls).

  • Make the croutons: In a large skillet set over medium heat, add the cubed or torn bread. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Cook, tossing the bread occasionally, until it's toasted, crispy and golden brown. This should take about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. torn pieces of bread being toasted in a skillet to make croutons.
  • Make the chicken: Take the chicken breast. Slice the thicken breast in half on the horizon so you end up with four thin chicken cutlets. Season them on all sides with Italian seasoning and salt. In the same skillet where you made the croutons, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and set over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken cutlets. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip over and cook the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. 
  • Assemble the salad: Divide the spinach, torn basil, halved tomatoes, and pearl mozzarella among 4 bowls. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Top each salad with homemade croutons. Drizzle with high quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Slice the chicken breasts divide among the bowls. If you made the basil vinaigrette you can drizzle that over each salad now.
4 chicken caprese salads topped with basil, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and croutons in bowls with forks next to them.

What to Serve with Chicken Caprese Salad

Chicken caprese salad is a full meal in and of itself, but if you’re a soup and salad kind of person I get it.

My favorite soup pairings are Tomato Soup, Greek Red Lentil Soup for something warm or for a cold soup, I like Salmorejo, a chilled Spanish soup.

Salads like this are always perfect in the summertime when temperatures are climbing. When that’s the case I like to make a big pitcher of strawberry lemonade or if I’m having friends over a pitcher of white wine sangria hits the spot.

More Dinner Salad Recipes

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5 from 4 votes

Chicken Caprese Salad

Summer Miller
a chicken caprese salad topped with basil, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and croutons in a bowl.
When making this salad I often use leftover chicken from a previous meal or sometimes, I pick up a rotisserie chicken. If you really want to up the bright, fresh herbal flavors of basil, make Basil Vinaigrette to drizzle over the salad after it’s been assembled.
Prep – 5 minutes
Cook – 15 minutes
Total – 20 minutes
Cuisine:
American/Mediterranean
Serves – 4
Course:
Dinner, Lunch

Ingredients
  

For the Homemade Croutons

  • 5 ounces good crusty bread, torn or cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Chicken

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Salad

Instructions
 

  • Make the croutons: In a large skillet set over medium heat, add the cubed or torn bread. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Cook, tossing the bread occasionally, until it's toasted, crispy and golden brown. This should take about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  • Make the chicken: Take the chicken breast and slice them in half horizontally so you have four thin chicken cutlets. Season them on all sides with Italian seasoning and salt. In the same skillet where you made the croutons, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and set over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken cutlets. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip over and cook the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken to a cutting board.
  • Assemble the salad: Divide the spinach, torn basil, halved tomatoes, and pearl mozzarella among 4 bowls. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Top each salad with homemade croutons. Drizzle with high quality extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Slice the chicken breasts divide among the bowls.

Video

Notes

  • If you have leftover chicken you can use that too, but I would still add a sprinkling of Italian Seasoning to the salad when you add the olive oil and vinegar. 
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 417.7kcalCarbohydrates: 6.3gProtein: 38.6gFat: 26.5gSaturated Fat: 9.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 12.3gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 117.4mgSodium: 960.7mgPotassium: 884.3mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 2.7gVitamin A: 5075.5IUVitamin C: 23.3mgCalcium: 359.7mgIron: 2.5mg
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Summer Miller is an award-winning cookbook author, journalist, and an IACP finalist in essay writing and memoir. Her recipes, food writing, and editing chops span both print and digital media. You can find her work at Simply Recipes, Eating Well, Saveur, Bon Appétit, and the Kitchn among others. She is the Senior Executive Editor at The Mediterranean Dish.
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5 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Christa says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!!

  2. JimB says:

    This looks great to make ahead of time for having at an outdoor summer concert - looking forward to making it!

    Question: the measurements for the salad items (spinach, tomatoes, mozzarella) is "ounces" weight or volume?

    Thanks!

    1. Summer Miller says:

      Hi, Jim -- I'm Summer and I work here at The Mediterranean Dish. This salad would be perfect for a summer concert. The measurement ounces are by weight, but really this salad is so flexible. You can use as much or as little as you like of any ingredient. Enjoy both dinner and the show!

      1. JimB says:

        Thanks Summer! Appreciate the clarification (I'm an engineer, so I like to at least start with the correct proportions :-)).

        Making it today! Cheers!

      2. Summer Miller says:

        Hahahahaha! Jim, when I read your comment, I said to myself, this man is an engineer! My husband and son think very much along the same lines! Have a great day!

  3. Carla says:

    5 stars
    Such a simple, but delicious salad! I had no idea that croutons were so easy to make, and they really put a nice touch on this salad. The Mediterranean Dish never disappoints!

    1. Summer Miller says:

      Hi, Carla! So glad you like the salad. I agree with you! Once you make homemade croutons you'll never go back to store bought!