Poached Chicken and Vegetable Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Poached Chicken and Vegetable Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Refreshing, light, packed with protein and greens — this is a much-appreciated center-of-summer, center-of-table, recipe. The real beauty is that much of it can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

Do your shopping, poach the chicken and make the vinaigrette up to 24 hours in advance. The vinaigrette serves as a marinade for the chicken and vegetables, and you would toss the remaining dressing with the greens prior to serving. Any other vegetables that you enjoy may be substituted for, or added to, my vegetable selection: Artichoke hearts, radishes, asparagus and roasted eggplant come to mind.

Recipe: Poached Chicken and Vegetable Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Ingredients for Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Zest and juice from 1-2 ripe lemons (1/3 cup), plus remaining lemon for poaching chicken
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus extra sprigs for garnish

Ingredients for Poached Chicken

  • 4 chicken breast halves
  • 12 cups chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbs
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Any leftover vegetable scraps appreciated, but not required

Ingredients for Salad

  • 1 1/2 cup (1/4-inch pieces) chopped cucumber (1 large cucumber)
  • 6 ounces mushrooms, cut into halves, or fourths if large
  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if large
  • 1/2 cup kalamata pitted black olives, halved
  • 5 cups salad greens, baby spring greens preferred


  1. Place chicken, stock or water, reserved lemon, dried herbs, bay leaf and vegetable scraps, if using, in a heavy-bottomed pot. Season with kosher salt, if you are using water or unsalted stock. To season brew, bring to a boil and reduce liquid 20-30 minutes.
  2. Place chicken breasts in seasoned, boiling liquid. When water returns to a boil, stir breasts around, then turn off heat. Cover tightly and let sit in poaching liquid until just cooked through, 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken.
  3. Remove breasts from pan and chill. (This may be done up to 24 hours in advance. Poaching liquid can be strained, frozen and reused as stock for another recipe.)
  4. Make a vinaigrette by whisking together oil, lemon juice, garlic and chopped thyme. (This may be done up to 24 hours in advance.) Set aside 1/4 cup for tossing with greens before serving.
  5. When chicken is chilled, slice into 1/4-inch pieces. Drizzle 1/4 cup of dressing over chicken, coating both sides. Season chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate until ready to assemble platter.
  6. Toss cucumbers, mushrooms, tomatoes and olives in remaining dressing. Let sit in marinade, refrigerated, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, occasionally stirring. Rinse salad greens well. Spin or pat dry, then toss with reserved 1/4 cup dressing. Season greens with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired.
  7. Center the marinated vegetables on your platter and arrange greens and chicken around vegetables. Garnish platter with lemon zest and thyme sprigs.

Time to poach and chill chicken: up to 24 hours in advance (10 minutes, active time)

Time to marinate chicken and vegetables: 1-3 hours

Time to compose salad: 15 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6-8

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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