Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Parmesan-Dill Vinaigrette

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Parmesan-Dill Vinaigrette Is it just me or does spring time = salad season?  It does in our house anyway.

I like salads but I don’t crave them until this time of year.  So many fresh veggies available all over.  The days are longer, which means I’ll go out for a run or walk after work and when I get back inside, I really don’t: a) feel like cooking a big meal, and b) feel like ruining my exercise with pasta and heavy cream.

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Parmesan-Dill Vinaigrette

So I asked Paul what sounded good for dinner on one of said nights and he replied, “we haven’t had anything buffalo chicken in a while.”  So I, being the attentive wife that I am, pulled up my buffalo chicken Pinboard (yes, it’s real, and yes, it’s necessary.)  But there was one problem: buffalo chicken recipes are so heavy. 

Let me clear this up: they all look wonderfully fantastic.  And I’ve made some of them and they are wonderfully fantastic.  But for a warm spring night after an energizing run, I was just not in the mood for buffalo chicken pizza, burgers or mac and cheese.

I was, though, in the mood for a big, fresh salad.   Paul is the brains behind the chicken and sauce for this recipe and it is perfect, and could be used for lots of buffalo chicken recipes.  I did all the chopping, slicing and dicing and whipped this dressing together since, you know, I’m not a fan of ranch or blue cheese (I know!)

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Parmesan-Dill Vinaigrette

I took the herbs and basic flavors of a creamy ranch dressing and forced them into a healthier vinaigrette that I ended up absolutely falling in love with.  I’ve eaten it three more times since we ate these salads.  It was a perfect way to cool down the kick of the chicken.  I also chose crumbled feta cheese versus blue cheese.

Paul dressed his with blue cheese dressing and blue cheese crumbles and he was happy as a clam.

PrintPrint Recipe

Buffalo Chicken Salads with Parmesan-Dill Vinaigrette Recipe

Yield: 4 entree-size salads

Total Time: 30 minutes

Spicy buffalo-style chicken atop fresh greens and veggies, reminiscent of buffalo wings.


for the chicken:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. honey

for the salads:
8 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs. sunflower seeds
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

for the dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper


for the chicken:
Brush one side of the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, seasoned side down to a preheated skillet. While the seasoned side cooks, oil and season the other side. Cook the chicken for 4 minutes on each side, or until the outsides of the chicken breasts are browned and the juices run clear.

While the chicken cooks, combine the hot sauce, butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over low heat until heated throughout.

Remove the chicken from the pan and slice or cube. Return the chicken to the skillet and cover with the heated sauce. Keep the skillet over low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the salads are served.

for the dressing:
Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake well until blended. Refrigerate until ready to use. The dressing will last two-three days in the fridge.

for the salads:
Divide the greens among large serving bowls. Add desired toppings (carrots, celery, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, sunflower seeds, blue cheese, feta cheese, etc.) Add chicken and any extra sauce, as desired. Serve with prepared dressing.

Cassie's Notes:
This is a very versatile recipe so feel free to use any veggies, cheese, or dressings that you have on hand.

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Parmesan-Dill Vinaigrette


73 Responses to “Buffalo Chicken Salad with Parmesan-Dill Vinaigrette”

  1. #
    Tina@flourtrader — May 2, 2012 @ 6:34 am

    The vinaigrette recipe here is a perfect pairing with the Buffalo chicken. So often it is that thick ranch, or blue cheese that it paired with it, but I think a light vinaigrette is a better choice. Very healthy with lots of flavor-well done! Have a great day!

    • Cassie replied: — May 2nd, 2012 @ 8:59 am

      Thanks so much, Tina. That was my thought exactly…I had to have something a little healthier than creamy dressings!

  2. #
    Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) — May 2, 2012 @ 6:55 am

    I love that this is unlike any other buffalo chicken salad I’ve seen. I’m all about variety, especially when it comes to something like salad. Super excited you shared this one, for sure! Definitely trying it out on my family next week. 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — May 2nd, 2012 @ 8:59 am

      Thanks Kim! Your comments make me smile! I hope you enjoy this one!

  3. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — May 2, 2012 @ 7:05 am

    I’m so with you – I don’t usually crave salad when it’s below 40 degrees 🙂 Yay for yummy salad season.

    • Cassie replied: — May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:00 am

      Yay for sure!

  4. #
    Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — May 2, 2012 @ 7:07 am

    So glad salad season is here!! This looks awesome buffalo chicken anything has my name all over it…and I love the idea of the parmesan dill vinaigrette!

    • Cassie replied: — May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:00 am

      Me too! Thanks Carrie!

  5. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — May 2, 2012 @ 7:11 am

    ahh! this is great! i like that you decided to go light instead of heavy with buffalo..i agree with you that most buffalo dishes are HEAVY! this is a great combination of light and delicious (since we all know how much we both LOVE buffalo dishes!!). yay for salad season — finally here and time to get healthy! 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:01 am

      Yes, yes, buffalo chicken is where it’s at! So glad you like this one! 🙂

  6. #
    sally @ sally's baking addiction — May 2, 2012 @ 8:01 am

    lettuce wraps and now buffalo chicken salad?! best week ever on Bake Your Day! 🙂 Every time i see buffalo chicken salad on a menu, I order it (unless of course they have lettuce wraps!)

    PS: I love the addition of both bleu & feta cheeses. I can never decide which I like better on my buffalo chix salads!

    • Cassie replied: — May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:01 am

      Thanks Sally! My husband liked the combination too. I don’t like bleu cheese so I left it out altogether and chose feta!

  7. #
    Steve @ the black peppercorn — May 2, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    I am not a big salad person, but my wife is. I would enjoy a salad with buffalo chicken flavour in it though! This looks awesome Cassie

    • Cassie replied: — May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:02 am

      Thanks Steve, I hope you give this one a try!

  8. #
    Kathryn — May 2, 2012 @ 8:54 am

    I love how you lightened this up and that dressing sounds just perfect – I’m not a fan of heavy/creamy dressings either.

    • Cassie replied: — May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:02 am

      Thanks, Kathryn, hope you enjoy it. The dressing is my new favorite, especially with the added parmesan cheese!

  9. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — May 2, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    I feel the same way about buffalo recipes and that’s exactly why I hardly ever make them. This salad is the perfect solution! great idea, Cassie!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:27 am

      Thanks, Gina, glad you like it!

  10. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — May 2, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    Whoa mama! Now this is my kind of salad! This looks totally mouthwatering, Cassie. Great recipe and I LOVE the glaze for the chicken you made!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:27 am

      Thanks Georgia. It is a new favorite of mine, simply because there are so many flavors that you don’t always get in a salad. Definitely not boring! 🙂

  11. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — May 2, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    I’m definitely craving salads this time of year too. I don’t care for ranch or blue cheese either, so the parmesan-dill vinaigrette sounds great for this salad or any other!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:28 am

      Hope you enjoy the dressing, Laura!

  12. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — May 2, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    Buffalo chicken is my JAM. I would eat this up in a second. Great recipe, Cassie!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:28 am

      This made me laugh, I needed that today. Thanks, friend!

  13. #
    Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin — May 2, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    You’re so right – buffalo chicken is always so heavy. Such a smart idea to lighten it up by serving it over a fresh salad. This is just my kind of recipe 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:28 am

      I’m glad you like it, hope you enjoy, Jen!

  14. #
    Alana — May 2, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    I’m not entirely sure what buffalo chicken is (I’m from Australia) but regardless this looks fantastic – I love that it’s been cooked with honey! And the cheese in the salad! YUM!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:29 am

      Hi Alana, no worries. Buffalo chicken is usually in the form of chicken wings with a spicy, vinegar and cayenne based sauce. But it’s very popular flavor for many other dishes. If you are on Pinterest, I have a board devoted to buffalo chicken that has a lot of great recipes on it!

  15. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — May 2, 2012 @ 10:34 am

    I love buffalo stuff! This look great!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:30 am

      It’s a very regular occurrence in our house too. Thanks, Lori!

  16. #
    Anna @ hiddenponies — May 2, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    “Being the attentive wife that I am” – I totally giggled 🙂 You were sending him buffalo chicken signals, I’m sure! This looks great – I totally crave big dinner salads at this time of year!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:30 am

      You are so right. I will never be disappointed when he asks for a buffalo chicken meal. 🙂

  17. #
    Holly — May 2, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    This salad sounds divine! I love all the colors! 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:30 am

      Thanks Holly! 🙂

  18. #
    Jennifer | Mother Thyme — May 2, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    You had me at Buffalo Chicken! 😉 This salad looks great and like you I love whipping up salads this time of year. They are so light and refreshing.

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:31 am

      I was thinking you’d like this one! 🙂

  19. #
    Tracey — May 2, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

    Darn my husband and his refusal to eat salad! Next time he’s out I am SO making this for myself. It just looks perfect!! Oh, and don’t worry, I’m not a fan of blue cheese either 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:31 am

      Bummer! My husband has been eating salads more than me lately so it works for us. Regardless, this chicken and sauce is good on anything! Glad to hear I’m not the only blue cheese hater!

  20. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — May 2, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

    What a cool idea! Never would have thought about using buffalo chicken in a salad. And I like that you used a vinaigrette as opposed to a heavy blue cheese dressing. This might convince my husband to eat more salad! Ha!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:32 am

      I hope you can, my hubs loved it!

  21. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — May 2, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    Genius with the dressing! I do not like ranch or blue cheese, and I always wonder what I would put on a buffalo chicken salad. This is wonderful, I can’t wait to try it!!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:32 am

      I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who is not a fan of ranch and blue cheese. Hope you like it!

  22. #
    Kristen — May 2, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

    Boy does that salad sound good. My whole family would swoop down on that and lick that bowl clean.

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:32 am

      Haha, it is definitely a crowd-pleaser! Thanks Kristen!

  23. #
    katie — May 2, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

    YUM! This sounds divine! I can’t wait to give this a try–I absolutely LOVE making my own dressings!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:33 am

      Me too, we really have resorted to homemade all the time. They are just so much better. Thanks Katie!

  24. #
    Bev Weidner — May 2, 2012 @ 2:37 pm


  25. #
    amy @ fearless homemaker — May 2, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

    mmmm, this sounds fantastic! i love buffalo anything, so this looks wonderful to me.

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:33 am

      Thanks Amy!

  26. #
    Emily — May 3, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    This looks SO delicious and I love the vinaigrette idea, too. YUM!

    • Cassie replied: — May 3rd, 2012 @ 8:33 am

      Thanks Emily! The vinaigrette was just perfect for me!

  27. #
    Amanda — May 3, 2012 @ 8:54 am

    Cassie – this looks amazing! Looking forward to trying it soon.

    • Cassie replied: — May 4th, 2012 @ 9:39 am

      Thanks Amanda, hope you enjoy!!

  28. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — May 3, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Ohhhhhh heck yes! This sounds absolutely amazing!

    • Cassie replied: — May 4th, 2012 @ 9:39 am

      Thanks Laurie!

  29. #
    Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — May 3, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    So many flavors going on here – I love the unexpected combos. Spring time is definitely salad season!!

    • Cassie replied: — May 4th, 2012 @ 9:40 am

      Yes it is. Hope you enjoy this!

  30. #
    Rachel — May 3, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

    Oooooohhh! I love buffalo chicken salads!!! Yours by far looks the best of all the ones I’ve seen! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — May 4th, 2012 @ 9:40 am

      Thank you so much Rachel!

  31. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — May 3, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

    I’ve never wanted a salad so bad in my life!! DELISH!

    • Cassie replied: — May 4th, 2012 @ 9:40 am

      Haha, I love it!

  32. #
    Katie @ Epicurean Mom — May 3, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

    Oh my word! I NEED THIS NOW!

    • Cassie replied: — May 4th, 2012 @ 9:40 am

      You will love it. Thanks Katie!

  33. #
    Deborah — May 5, 2012 @ 10:11 am

    I think you are a little crazy, because blue cheese is one of my favorite cheeses! 🙂 But regardless, this salad sounds perfect – especially for the warm days up ahead!

    • Cassie replied: — May 5th, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

      I know I am crazy! I want to like it so bad, and I keep trying! Someday I will but for now I can only take it in very small doses! 🙂

  34. #
    Tessa — May 7, 2012 @ 12:00 am

    Love the idea of not using a heavy blue cheese dressing on this. Sounds right up my alley!

    • Cassie replied: — May 8th, 2012 @ 11:16 am

      I hope you enjoy it!

  35. #
    Tanya — May 14, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    Will be making this, thank you for the wonderful recipe and photos are great. I am a new reader, 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — May 14th, 2012 @ 10:38 am

      Hi Tanya, glad you are here. I just looked around your blog, looking forward to reading more. Have a great day!

  36. #
    Samantha — May 20, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

    EXCELLENT! I hate ranch and blue cheese dressings too and found this recipe by looking for buffalo chicken with vinaigrette. I cannot wait to try it! Thanks for posting this.

  37. #
    Kari Tedesco — February 1, 2017 @ 11:00 pm

    I have made this recipe and altered a few ingredients. I did not use Feta or Blue cheese and used a different crumble cheese and did not use the sunflower seeds I used another item that added a crunchy aspect and it was great. I also did not add as much brown sugar. I did the chicken a bit differently as well but the recipe was awesome:)


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