This healthy buttermilk chicken salad recipe serves up delicious buttermilk fried chicken, without the frying and on a bed of greens. Using salt in the brine to draw moisture into the chicken, buttermilk to tenderize and a heap of herbs for fresh flavor, this healthy chicken salad is perfect for an easy dinner or for a potluck.

David Bonom


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare buttermilk brine: Combine buttermilk, sugar, shallots, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.

  • To marinate chicken: Place chicken in a sealable gallon-size plastic bag. Pour in the brine mixture, seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.

  • To prepare chicken: Remove the chicken from the brine (discard the brine) and pat dry with paper towels. Rub 1 tablespoon oil all over the chicken and let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, preheat a grill to 400 degrees F or build a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400 degrees F).

  • Oil the grill rack (see Tips). Grill the chicken with the lid closed, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the chicken registers 165 degrees F, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove to a clean cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

  • To prepare salad: Whisk the remaining 4 tablespoons oil, vinegar, 1 teaspoon oregano (and/or thyme), 1 teaspoon garlic, Dijon, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add greens and toss with the vinaigrette. Divide salad among 4 plates and top each with sliced chicken.


Make Ahead Tip: Brine the chicken (Step 2) for up to 12 hours.

Buttermilk is a thick, tangy cow's-milk dairy product great for baking, salad dressings and marinades. Low-fat and nonfat versions can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Look for it in quart containers in the dairy section of the supermarket. In a pinch, you can make a substitute, mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup low-fat or nonfat milk.

Once the grill is heated, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the hot rack right before placing the chicken on the grill.

Nutrition Facts

322 calories; 20.7 g total fat; 3.4 g saturated fat; 64 mg cholesterol; 652 mg sodium. 680 mg potassium; 7.4 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 26 g protein; 3787 IU vitamin a iu; 23 mg vitamin c; 164 mcg folate; 121 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 59 mg magnesium; 1 g added sugar;