Recipe: Zucchini Buffalo Chicken Salad
We’re going trendy with this salad and embracing playful spiralized zucchini noodles aka “zoodles” and pairing them with poached chicken breast, a creamy blue cheese dressing, and Buffalo-flavored croutons.
The Sunday Night Salad
This is the salad you put together when you’re meal prepping for the week. Each recipe in this series makes four entree-sized portions, which you can pack up for a week’s worth of work salads or just dinner throughout the week.
Because we wanted these salads to last, all the major elements — the salad base, the topper, and the mix-ins — can be stored in the fridge anywhere from three to five days or longer without showing signs of fatigue. This is how you do Sunday salad prep right!
The Base: Zucchini Noodles
There are plenty of reasons to get in on the fun of twirly, swirly zucchini noodles, but perhaps the most convincing is how well this preparation of zucchini works as a salad base. Zoodles take to dressing very well, giving it more areas to cling to without the risk of going mushy or limp. And they’ve got staying power; when stored in an airtight container, zoodles last up to five days.
The Topper: Poached Chicken Breast
Poached chicken breast, whether prepared on the stovetop or cooked in the slow cooker, is one of the easiest ways to add protein to your salad. Here, we seasoned the chicken breast with no more than salt and garlic because we’re getting a ton of flavor from the croutons (more on those in just a second) and the blue cheese dressing. Of course, you could double down on the Buffalo flavor in this salad and toss the cooked chicken with a mixture of butter and Frank’s hot sauce, but we really enjoyed the clean taste of the lightly flavored chicken in this mix and liked keeping it neutral so we could use it to prep other meals during the week.
3 Ways to Use Shredded Chicken Breast
The Mix-Ins: Blue Cheese Dressing & Buffalo Croutons
This salad makes use of one of my absolute favorite dressing tricks to date: You take a favorite soft cheese — be it goat, feta, or something like cotija — and whirl it into a dressing with a liquid like milk or water until smooth. That’s how we made the world’s easiest blue cheese dressing for this salad. To bring in the Buffalo flavor that gives this salad its name, we used stovetop croutons seasoned Buffalo-style. And to keep things fresh, this salad gets a generous scattering of snipped chives.
If you want even more veggies in this salad — and want to really run with the Buffalo angle — you can add in shredded carrots and chopped celery.
Pro tip: To pack this salad, simply ensure each component gets its own compartment in a travel container. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week.
- 8 ounces
- 1/4 cup
- 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds
zucchini (about 4 medium), spiralized
poached boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes (see Recipe Notes)
- 2/3 cup
shredded carrots (optional)
- 1 cup
Buffalo stovetop croutons (see Recipe Notes)
- 1/4 cup
finely chopped fresh chives
Place the blue cheese, milk, and olive oil in a blender and process until smooth. Stir in the black pepper; set aside.
Divide the spiralized zucchini into 4 bowls, then divide the chicken and carrots over the zucchini.
When ready to serve, divide the croutons over the bowls, drizzle with the dressing, and garnish with the chives.
Make ahead: The zucchini can be spiralized and the carrots shredded and stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to five days. The chicken can be poached and stored in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. The dressing can be made and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days; let sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes, then whisk or blend again before serving.