This fruity jerk chicken salad is a brilliant summer salad recipe, perfect for eating with friends and family. The spiciness of the marinated jerk chicken is balanced perfectly by the sweet homemade mango vinaigrette.
If you love spicy chicken recipes then this jerk chicken salad, adapted from my jerk chicken recipe, is a perfect option for summer. It's light, fruity and low in carbs and of course, full of flavour. Spice lovers, you won't be disappointed!
The jerk chicken is served with salad leaves, asaparagus, sugar snap peas and mango then drizzled with a homemade mango salad dressing. It's both sharp and fruity at the same time.
It's a great recipe for prepping in advance as the salad is great served with warm or cold jerk chicken. This means you can make it for picnic, barbecue or dinner party as well as for a simple dinner at home. Just keep the dressing separate until you are ready to serve it.
What ingredients do you need for jerk chicken salad?
To make this light and healthy chicken salad you'll need to make a marinade, a dressing and prepare the salad vegetables. For the jerk chicken marinade you'll need:
- Lime juice - I usually squeeze the juice of one lime. To add extra flavour you could even grate in some of the zest before squeezing it. You could replace it with bottled lime juice if you don't have fresh but fresh lime is better.
- Garlic - I also use fresh garlic but you can use a garlic paste or even garlic powder if you don't have any cloves of garlic.
- Scotch bonnet chilli peppers - If you can get scotch bonnet chilli peppers then do use them but if you can't, you can use any supermarket chilli peppers. It'll still taste great! Use 2 or 3 to make a more fiery marinade or just 1 if you don't want it to be too hot!
- Thyme leaves - If you have fresh thyme then use it. If not then just half a teaspoon of dried thyme is fine.
- Spices - Cinnamon and all spice. These warm Caribbean spices are so important in jerk chicken.
- Soft brown sugar - This adds sweetness to the chicken and also helps it to caramelize as it cooks.
- Soy sauce
For the mango vinaigrette you'll need:
- Mango - I always use fresh mango but you could replace it with canned mango puree if you need to.
- Honey - This adds a little extra sweetness but if you think it is sweet enough with the added mango then feel free to add a little less.
- White wine vinegar - You could replace with this cider vinegar.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Seasoning - Just a little salt and pepper
You'll also need some ingredients for the salad. I use salad leaves, sugar snap peas and asparagus as well as mango.
How to make jerk chicken salad
If you are organised it is best to prepare the jerk chicken marinade the day before. This gives the chicken longer to marinate and will add more flavour to it once it cooks.
Just mix up all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and then pour over the chicken. I usually use chicken breasts as that is what my family prefer and I butterfly them first. This means the chicken is thinner so cooks more quickly. There is also more suface area for the marinade to flavour the chicken.
You can cook the chicken in a griddle pan or frying pan or under the grill(broiler). You could even cook it in the oven or outside on the bbq.
To make the mango dressing, just put all the ingredients into a small blender and blitz until smooth. Make sure to taste the dressing and adjust any flavours if necessary. You can add extra honey to make it sweeter or extra oil to make it less sharp.
To serve divide the salad between the plates. Top with the jerk chicken and drizzle with the marinade.
Can you adapt the recipe?
Yes of course. There are so many ways you can adapt this recipe. You can swap the mango for apricots or peaches both in the salad and in the dressing.
You can use chicken wings, thighs or drumsticks instead of chicken breast. You'll just need to cook them for a bit longer and cook them in the oven rather than on the hob.
I have used a mixture of green salad ingredients as well as the mango in the salad. Feel free to vary the salad a little if you want.
Can you make this jerk salad without chicken?
Yes! This dressing is delicious on halloumi, paneer or tofu. All work well as an alternative to chicken if you are looking to make a vegan or vegetarian option.
What can you serve with this jerk chicken salad?
I often serve this salad just as it is but if you want to make it a little bit more filling you could add some kind of grain or serve it with bread on the side. You could add some couscous, rice or pasta to the salad to add a few carbs and to make it a bit heartier.
Or why not wrap it up in a taco or tortilla even?
Storing the leftovers
You can keep any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. It's best to store the mango dressing, chicken and salad separately and then just put them together when serving. The dressing and chicken will keep for at least three days once they have been prepared.
More spicy chicken recipes
If you like this jerk chicken salad then do also check out my spicy midweek meals posts. Or one of these spicy chicken recipes:
- Mango chicken with mango salsa
- Vietnamese rice and chicken salad
- Chicken with chamoy sauce
- Harissa chicken salad
You might also like my recipe collection of main meal salads.
Jerk Chicken Salad
- food processor or blender
- 500 g chicken breasts
Ingredients for the Jerk Chicken Marinade
- 1 lime juiced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 scotch bonnet chilli pepper use 2-3 to make it hotter!
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon all spice
- 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 spring onions
Ingredients for the salad
- 100 g asparagus
- 100 g sugar snap peas
- 100 g salad leaves
- 1 mango
Ingredients for the Apricot vinaigrette
- ⅓ mango diced
- 2 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- pinch salt and pepper
- Mix together all the ingredients for the chicken marinade and blitz in a food processor.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts and coat in the marinade. Put in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
- Boil a pan of water and blanch the asparagus for about 2 minutes.
- Heat a little oil in a griddle pan. Cook the asparagus spears for a couple of minutes on each side. Then remove.
- Put the chicken on the griddle pan and cook for about 8 minutes on each side or until cooked through. You can also cook it on the bbq.
- While you are cooking the chicken, make the salad dressing by putting all the ingredients in a small blender or food processor and blitzing. Taste and adjust the amounts of oil, vinegar, honey or seasoning if necessary.
- Arrange the salad leaves, asparagus and sugar snap peas on a plate. Top with the jerk chicken and sliced red onion. Drizzle with the dressing
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Do let me know if you make this jerk chicken salad. I love to get feedback from readers.
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Would you like to improve your food photography?
I have been a member of the Healthy Goodies by Lucia Member's Club for the past year and the jerk chicken salad photos in this post were taken as part of a food photography magazine tournament. I'll share the link to the magazine once it it is live.
In the meantime, if you are interested in improving all aspects of your food photography then do check out the club and feel free to contact me if you have any questions about it. There are loads of resources and courses that have really helped me.
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