Poultry Salads

African Style Chicken Salad

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We were on a mission with this recipe. A mission to make ourselves like arugula and…chicken breasts. We’ve both always thought arugula tasted like dirt and chicken breasts were more often than not– dry, rubbery and overcooked excuses for protein. Anyway…we were quite successful with this, I must say. Lots of flavor, but still light and relatively inexpensive. Why is this African you ask? Well, the dressing is a riff on Harissa, which is a Moroccan paste made of peppers, cumin, coriander, etc. It’s often found in tube form at the grocery store or of course, on Amazon.com


  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, sliced in 1/2 width wise and pounded thin with a meat mallet
  • about 3 oz. arugula*
  • 1/3 c oil cured olives, pitted**
  • 3 oranges supremed (keep the zest for the dressing)***
Dressing Ingredients
  • 1/3 c avocado or olive oil
  • 1/3 c orange juice
  • 1/3 c roasted red peppers
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 t chili garlic sauce
  • 1 t each cumin, coriander, paprika
  • s&p


Heat some fat in a saute pan on the high side of medium-high. These chicken breasts cook wickedly fast because they’re so thin. To get a good sear, cook the chicken until it’s about 3/4s of the way there on one side. You’ll see the sides of the chicken turn from pink to white. Flip it over and sear for a quick minute–very, very short amount of time here.

For the dressing:

In a food processor or blender, blend all the ingredients until emulsified.

To serve:

In a bowl, mix the dressing with the arugula, olives and orange supremes. Place the chicken on a plate and top with the salad. Why not put the chicken on top of the salad, you ask? Because you have to knife-and-fork this sucker. Why not have the chicken lying on a hard surface, like a plate, instead of on top of a bunch of lettuce? It’s much easier to gobble up this way, I promise.

*If you can’t find/don’t like arugula, ANY lettuce will work. Romaine, Mixed Greens, Spinach….

**Oil cured olives are just cured in oil (duh) as opposed to brined. Same as above–if you can’t find/don’t like oil cured olives, Kalamata (Greek) olives will substitute well

***You do not have to do this, but it sure is purrrrty and it’s a technique that looks really fancy, but is actually quite simple. This is how you supreme an orange:

Please notice the knife in Ming’s hand–it’s ceramic. I’ve heard they’re super sharp but break easily. Anybody got one of these? Also, Ming made a Paleo recipe, so write it down and make it too!


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  • Reply
    August 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I don’t know if the arugula just went really well with this type of dressing or what….it would work with spinach or another leafy green….but I thought the arugula really did add something to the dish that the others may not.

    • Reply
      August 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm

      P.S. Oil cured black olives are fantastic! The water soaked canned variety pales in comparison.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Love your blog! Could you fix your print option, it doesn’t print out the name of the recipe.

    Thank you and keep up the great job!!

  • Reply
    Christine M.
    March 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I wanted to respond to your question about ceramic knives… I’ve got a bunch and I LOVE them. They are super razor sharp. I use steel knives for cutting up anything super hard like winter squash and sweet potatoes, but ceramics are great for everything else.

    • Reply
      megan keatley
      March 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      very good to know. i’ll have to pick one up.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I looks kid the chicken breast is acting like the bread in an arugula pizza. Another one I must try. It looks amazing

  • Reply
    March 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I LOVE this salad. The dressing is fantastic and flavorful and really melds well with the arugula. This salad is on regular rotation at our house. Thank you for the great recipe!

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