This simple, satisfying salad is the perfect way to use up leftover chicken. Top it with a zingy buttermilk dressing and a wedge if garlicky toast!

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

In this recipe, chicken transforms salad from a side dish into a meal by itself.

That leftover chicken in the fridge? Whether it’s poached, baked, or grilled, give it a home in this salad!

You won’t find dainty croutons here. I adore serving this salad with big slices of garlic toast. Pick a hearty, crusty artisan-style bread, cut it into thick slices, and toast it in the oven. This makes toast that’s crunchy on the outside but still a little chewy on the inside (my favorite). If you like a lot of crunch, cut thinner slices and toast them in a toaster.

This is my go-to salad for when time is short and chicken is lingering from another meal. As a bonus, romaine lettuce is easy to prep: just roughly chop, give it a rinse and a spin in the salad spinner, and you’re ready to make your salad.

No fuss no muss!

Chicken and Avocado Salad with Buttermilk Dressing Recipe

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If you’re looking for an easy chicken recipe to make for this salad, try Easy Poached Chicken.

Ingredients

For the buttermilk dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives

For the garlic toasts:

  • 4 slices of crusty artisan-style bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled

For the salad:

  • 2 hearts of romaine, leaves torn in half, or any other crunchy leafy salad green
  • 2 cups shredded or sliced leftover chicken
  • 2 medium ripe avocadoes, sliced
  • A small piece of Parmesan (about 1 ounce), shaved with a vegetable peeler

Method

1 Make the dressing: In a small mixing bowl or a jam jar, combine the shallots, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add the mayonnaise and buttermilk, and whisk to combine (or put the lid on the jar and shake). Add the chives. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

This dressing can be made ahead and kept refrigerated for about a week.

Chicken Avocado Salad

2 Make the garlic toasts: Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Brush the bread slices with oil and place on a rimless baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden and crispy on the outside. Remove from the oven and cool them on the pan. Rub the garlic clove over each slice.

Chicken Avocado SaladChicken Avocado Salad

3 Assemble the salad: Divide the romaine between 4 bowls or plates. Top each with avocado, chicken, and Parmesan. Drizzle with the dressing. Serve with the garlic toasts.

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