Recipe Review

I Tried Gisele Bündchen’s Favorite Chicken Salad, and I Get Why She Makes It “All the Time”

published Jun 3, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Chicken and arugula salad.
Credit: Kris Osborne

Gisele Bündchen has been a household name for decades for her work in fashion and activism. I’ve admired her for years and admit to reading countless stories about her. But when I first heard that the Brazilian supermodel was releasing Nourish, a collection of nutrient-packed recipes focused on balanced living, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. 

Turns out — there was no need for skepticism! I was instantly struck by Gisele’s warm voice and refreshingly straightforward and down-to-earth attitude to nourishing her body. I found her approach as a mom for finding joy in simple, wholesome meals and enjoying everyday things like pizza night with the kids refreshing. I’m still making my way through the book, but let me tell you — the arugula and chicken salad recipe alone is worth the price of the entire cookbook.

Credit: Kris Osborne

How to Make Gisele Bündchen’s Arugula and Chicken Salad

Start by cutting two chicken breasts in half horizontally, so you end up with four thin breasts. Place them, one at a time, between two pieces of parchment paper and, using the dull side of a mallet, pound until they’re about 1/4-inch thin. Once the chicken is ready, make the simple marinade by whisking olive oil and lemon juice together. Then, place the chicken cutlets into the marinade and set them aside for 30 to 45 minutes to tenderize and absorb the flavors.

When ready to cook, heat a grill pan or heavy skillet over high heat. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper, and cook until each piece is beautifully golden and releases easily from the pan — just a few minutes max. Then flip and repeat on the other side. 

Assemble your arugula and thinly shaved fennel on two plates. Drizzle with more olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and season with salt. Place the cooked, sliced chicken on top and garnish with thin shavings of Manchego or Parmesan, if you’re using it. Pro tip: If you can find real Parmigiano Reggiano, it’ll be extra delicious.

Credit: Kris Osborne

My Honest Review

When I first saw this recipe, I thought it sounded a little boring. But I’m glad I decided to try it because I’m convinced that the super-simple marinade is pure magic. I was amazed at how much flavor the cutlets packed after just a short time in it. I was only able to marinate my chicken for 20 minutes and found it incredibly flavorful. Even my kids asked for more bites of those crispy, lemon-kissed edge pieces. I still don’t know if it needs all that marinade, though. I know that fat equals flavor, but there was a lot left over. I’m tempted to try it with half or one-third of the amount (reserving the rest for the salad) to see if it turns out as well. 

While the chicken is undoubtedly the star, the arugula and thinly sliced fennel shouldn’t be overlooked. The cheese was also a must for me. With very few ingredients, it benefited from the added texture and flavor of the salty cheese. While the salad was delicious, I’m a carb person through and through. To make it more filling, I’d probably add some homemade croutons, a slice of sourdough bread, or a small scoop of leftover grains like brown rice or quinoa. And this is unnecessary, but a little extra crunch from toasted nuts or seeds would also be lovely. I’ll definitely be making it again. It’s fresh and flavorful and couldn’t be easier to throw together! 

Tips for Making Gisele Bündchen’s Arugula and Chicken Salad

  • Get your pan really hot, but not so hot that the oil is smoking. It will help to sear the chicken quickly and evenly. Because it’s pounded so thinly, it’ll cook in just a few minutes. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to check it with a meat thermometer. For food safety purposes, you’re looking for an internal temperature of 165°F. 
  • Wait to flip the chicken until it easily releases from the pan or grill. This is a good rule when cooking any protein; if it sticks, it’s not ready.
  • If you don’t have a grill pan, try cooking it in a cast iron skillet. Cast iron heats up evenly and helps the chicken get that perfect crust (thanks, Maillard reaction!).
  • Use a mandoline to slice the fennel into paper-thin pieces. They’ll curl into the salad better, and the flavor will be more subdued while maintaining that crunch.
  • Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing. This helps if you want better flavor distribution.