Strawberry-watermelon chicken salad

This lush strawberry-watermelon chicken salad absolutely screams summer with pops of pink and red summer fruit showing through the bright green pesto and lettuce — and it looks as good as it tastes. Inspired by a recipe from  Reluctant Entertainer, the healthy combo of greens, chicken and fresh fruit is light, bright and fresh.

When the weather is warm and you’re trying to avoid heating up the kitchen, this salad makes mealtime a breeze. Loads of basil, fresh watermelon and strawberries make the perfect summer afternoon recipe. You can prepare your own pesto and roasted chicken for this recipe, but the premade options at the grocery store make this even easier to whip up. They really cut down on your prep time and are often just as good, or better, than homemade. And best part: No mess to clean up!

Strawberry-watermelon chicken salad

The secret to any salad is having both contrasting and complementary flavors. When you have two contrasting flavors, each helps bring out the other. For example, the bright acid taste from the lime juice against the sweetness of the fresh fruit adds depth. The tang of the garlicky basil pesto atop the shredded chicken adds a savory touch. And the bed of fresh lettuce it all rests on adds texture and crunch, for a light but super-satisfying dish.

If you like a little extra crunch in your salads, try some sliced almonds or toasted walnuts. Healthy fats like these will make the meal more filling, too. Avocado is another good-for-you fat that works well here. Want some tangy zip to play against the sweet berries? Throw on some gorgonzola crumbles. If you don’t care for chicken, or don’t have it on hand, swap in some salmon. That’s the beauty of a salad: You really can make it your own without sacrificing the integrity of the recipe.

Whether you prepare this salad as a starter for a dinner party, a light lunch or just as a treat for yourself at home, you’ll be glad you did.

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Whisk together pesto, honey and lime

Whisk together pesto, honey and lime


Place shredded chicken over lettuce

Place shredded chicken over lettuce


Add watermelon and strawberries

Add watermelon and strawberries


Sprinkle basil over top of the salad

Sprinkle basil over top of the salad


This strawberry-watermelon chicken salad is fresh and bright!

Fresh and bright


Pesto dressing is perfect with fresh fruit

Pesto dressing is perfect with fresh fruit


A chicken salad with fruit for a warm summer day

Great on a warm summer day


Strawberry watermelon chicken salad

Yield 4–6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2–3 heads of green lettuce (such as butter crunch), washed, dried and torn in bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups watermelon, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. To make dressing, place pesto, honey and lime juice in small bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside.
  2. Place lettuce greens on a large platter.
  3. Add watermelon, chicken and strawberries in rows across lettuce.
  4. Sprinkle red onion and basil on top of salad.
  5. Just before serving, add dressing to salad.
  6. Serve.

Courses Main course


Healthy and beautiful!

Healthy and beautiful!