Mediterranean Chicken Salad

There are lots of uses for this basic salad. Try mixing some cooked pasta in with it.

Or placing a spoonful into boats of endive lettuce. Endive tastes particularly good with this salad, so it would also work just to chop some up and add it to the chicken salad.

You could also stuff an avocado half with it, or stuff fresh tomatoes.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • 2  Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 3/4 cup mixed pitted deli olives, sliced
  • 1 pinch of red chile flakes
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or basil (or both!)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Black pepper to taste


  • Endive lettuce for appetizer boats, or chopped to add to the salad
  • Butter lettuce for lettuce cups
  • Fusilli pasta, about 1/4 pound dry for one batch of the salad (use gluten-free pasta for gluten-free option)


1 Marinate the onion in vinegar: Mix the minced onion with the vinegar in a bowl and set aside. This quick pickling will take the edge off of the onions.

2 Poach the chicken: Bring 1 1/2 quarts of water to a boil and add about 2 tablespoons of salt. Cut the chicken breasts in half crosswise and place them in the water. Reduce the heat to low and let the chicken cook very gently, at barely a simmer, for 10-15 minutes, until just cooked through.

3 Combine the other salad ingredients: While the chicken is cooking, mix the olive oil, capers, olives, chile flakes, and oregano in a large bowl.

4 Dice or shred the chicken: When the chicken is done, place it on a cutting board to cool. Add the onions to the bowl with the olives. Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, cut it into dice or shred it.

5 Combine chicken, parsley, with other salad ingredients: Gently mix the chicken and parsley in with the olives. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

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  • Steve

    Outstanding. I followed the recipe to the letter and it rocked. Perfect chilled on a hot day!

  • mohammad

    yummy yummy yummy……
    i will try but with grilled chicken.
    Thanks for the inspiration

  • Jack

    I made half the recipe a few hours ago, but left out the pasta. This was tasty, but rather dry. For leftovers, I may try adding more olive oil or even some yogurt.

  • anna

    I cheated and used rotisserie chicken and it was FANTASTIC! I’ll pickle the red onions longer next time. This will be a summer favorite. thanks!

  • Danielle

    Oh my. this is tasty! I grilled the chicken and ate it with avocado. Awesome!

  • Heidi

    Wow, this was deceptively good. Simple ingredients that blend together perfectly. I followed the directions, using dried basil since that’s what I had on hand. Quality chicken is essential since there is no mayo to cover it up! Will make again.

  • Jackie

    This is delicious! Instead of poaching chicken breasts for this, I made some Avgolemono, Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup, using skinless but not boneless thighs. Then I used the cooked thigh meat for this salad the next day. Paired both of them with a Greek salad made with spinach…and yum!

  • Melissa

    That sounds light and lovely. In answer to your question, I do have a favorite chicken salad, although that’s subject to change every few months. The current favorite is diced chicken with dukkah (almonds, coriander, cumin, sesame, black pepper) and either olive oil and red wine vinegar or yogurt. I add chopped apples and celery to it. I love the crunch of the apple and celery, as well as the citrusy tang of the coriander. And the almonds, cumin, and sesame give just a little earthy balance.

  • Lisa

    Looks yummy, but I would definitely leave out the red pepper flakes. Tossed with pasta, this would be a huge hit with my family!

  • Sues

    I love chicken salad, too! I like putting avocado in mine, but now I want one with olives! And capers! This looks delicious!

  • Sean

    Definitely sounds good but without the capers, can’t stand the things :-/

  • mantha

    Light and tasty looking. That’s a really pretty presentation in the endive boats for an outdoor patio “buffet” — I wouldn’t have thought of that.
    Summer’s here!

  • Aggie

    Chicken salad is probably my favorite way to eat chicken, and the options are endless. This one is right up my alley with all it’s Mediterranean add ins – delicious!! Thanks so much for linking to my Chicken Greek Salad – another favorite ;)

  • Michelle

    This is great – I’m always on the lookout for good non-mayo salads to take to the pool in the summer. Unfortuantely, my favorite chicken salad has mayo – it’s a Persian Salad Olivieh – which pretty much combines chicken salad, egg salad, and potato salad all into one, with pickles, onions, peas, and lemon juice to boot. It sounds crazy but it is to die for.

  • Dunja

    Hi Elise,
    you asked and I felt compelled to answer! I have followed your site, commented on recipes, and cooked my heart out to your recipes for many years, you are absolutely my favorite food blog out there. Just to prove my point, yesterday I made three BBQ sauces from recipes on your site, the Kansas City Style, the South Carolina Mustard, and the Dr. Pepper, I served them all at today’s Memorial Day cookout and each was a huge hit, with the South Carolina sauce being the favorite, I also made the Antipasto Salad and it was simply divine. So when you asked which chicken salad was my favorite, I did not have to think about it, because it is hands down your Circassian Chicken Salad, which is so incredibly good I make it often and it’s always a hit. This salad looks wonderful as well and I am sure I will try it, but the one above is just my absolute favorite. Just thought I let you know. Keep up your wonderful work, you are always my first go-to when I need something new and delicous to cook or bake, I also love that Hank is contributing such delicious stuff, you guys rock! :)

  • Grace @ Perpetual Nomming

    I’m thinking about adapting this to be vegetarian! Although recipes like this make me consider eating meats again. Yummy yummy!

  • Sandy S

    Looking forward to trying this chicken salad! Sounds very tasty. I usually add almonds and dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries or currants) to regular chicken salad with celery and mayo. Which I do like. But, this recipe is a whole new take and I appreciate the suggestion of GF pasta!

  • Elke Sisco

    I liked this one recently, from a recipe from – chicken salad with parsley-walnut pesto and sun-dried tomatoes:

  • Pamela R.

    Looks and sounds fantastic! I will make this weekend with grilled veggies.

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    So simple but delicious, a good choice :)

  • Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    Love this, so simple….

  • Chad McKenna

    Perfect choice for a treat to surprise my wife. Thanks