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Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad with Fried Goat Cheese

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This recipe for Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad features tender, grilled chicken, marinated in a luscious balsamic blackberry vinaigrette, that doubles as a dressing; bright, sweet blackberries, pistachios, avocado, pickled red onions, crisp bacon on a bed of spring lettuce, and the piece de resistance are the creamy, crispy discs of fried goat cheese.

If you love bright, fresh spring recipes you need to try a couple of these: Fresh Orange Scones, Strawberry Rhubarb Salad or this delicious Chipotle Chicken Marinade.

white plate on sliced wood charger with a bright salad with greens, avocados, chicken, blackberries and a luscious blackberry vinaigrette along with two discs of fried goat cheese

Why I love this recipe

Oh my goodness, ever had fried goat cheese??

Crispy outside crunch, oozing with creamy delicious goat cheese inside, it’ll melt in your mouth. Inspired by Closet Cooking’s recipe.

Close up of blackberry balsamic chicken salad with dressing, fresh blackberries and fried goat cheese.

Once a month a group of girlfriends get together and we spend the day scrapbooking.

Taking turns hosting, laptops in tow; we spend the day creating beautiful memory books for our families and even better, we are creating memories with one another; we laugh, we cry; sometimes we laugh until we cry.

Most importantly we share our fears, hopes, failures and dreams…and we eat, we always eat. This blackberry grilled chicken salad seemed perfect!

Blackberry chicken salad with gooey blackberry dressing, sliced avocados, pistachios and friend goat cheese.

Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette and Marinade Recipe

This salad might sound complicated, but it’s not, it just takes a little pre-planning.

And your friends will thank you! Let’s start by making this fresh, tangy, berry-licious blackberry balsamic vinaigrette and marinade!

In a medium bowl (or blender), place your blackberries in a bowl and pour your white balsamic over the berries (give regular balsamic a try too).

Suggested substitutions:

  • Sub walnuts, sweet pecans, slivered almonds or toasted pine nuts in place of pistachios or a mixture!
  • Instead of blackberries, try strawberries, raspberries or blueberries or maybe go crazy and try fresh cherries.
Pouring vinegar in small bowl for Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad |
Pouring olive oil for dressing Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad
  • And then honey, reduce honey if desired.

PRO TIP| If you use the same measuring device used for your olive oil the honey should slip right out!

pouring honey into Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad

Now the Dijon mustard…

Adding Dijon to Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

A teaspoon and a half of tamari or soy sauce or soy alternative.

Tamari into Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

One large clove of garlic; sometimes I mince, sometimes I use my garlic press.

Adding garlic to the Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

Add in some sea salt and pepper to taste, I used about 1 teaspoon of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper.

Adding salt to dressing for Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

Toss in a blender or an immersion blender, blend until well combined. A few chunks of blackberries are just fine!

blending dressing and marinade. Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

Lay chicken breasts in a shallow glass dish and pour about 1/3 of the marinade (vinaigrette) over the chicken, lifting to marinate on all sides.

Reserving the rest of vinaigrette in the refrigerator for the salad dressing. Marinate chicken at least 30 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD TIP | Make the dressing the day ahead, marinate chicken and store both in refrigerator. 

Pouring marinade over chicken breasts for Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

Refrigerate leftover dressing in a container until ready to use.

Small vase of blackberry balsamic vinaigrette.


Over medium-high heat grill the chicken until slightly charred and cooked. Want grill marks? Make sure your pan or grill is slightly oiled and pretty hot! Rotate slightly about 2 minutes into grilling to get the “hashmarks”.

TIME SAVING TIP | Grill your chicken the night before or in the morning, slicing thin when ready to assemble.

I used my favorite grill pan, I’m terrible about burning things when I grill outside, probably because I’m running around doing 18 other things at the same time. You can also just use your grill of course!

Grilled Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

Once cooked through about 6-8 minutes per side if they are thick breasts like these were! Slice thin once cooled. (Here’s my favorite, most used knife)

sliced grilled chicken for Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

Once you are ready to assemble your salads, start with a generous handful of baby spring mix lettuce on the bottom.

How to slice an avocado like a pro

Cut through skin around the pit, twist gently to separate the halves. Carefully smack your knife (sharp edge) into the pit, twisting and pulling to remove pit, slice through the skin and gently peel back the skin revealing the flesh of the avocado. Watch this video if you’re not quite following me.

Sprinkle some blackberries, sliced chicken, a little crumbled bacon if desired and a good handful of pistachios (or other nuts).

Don’t forget those delicious pickled red onions, or just slice some fresh red onions if preferred.

Sweet Pickled Red Onions in a jar with a fork.

Fried Goat Cheese {+Gluten Free Option}

Lightly beat one egg and in two separate bowls measure your flour* (optional) and your Panko bread crumbs. Use Gluten Free Panko and Gluten Free flour if desired.

*I’ve since made these several times and realized that the flour is optional; I’ve used just the egg wash and the Panko and they turned out just as lovely. 

Ingreds for fried goat cheese for Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

Slice the goat cheese into 1/4 in discs; it will crumble on you, that’s okay, press together, nobody is going to care if the discs aren’t perfect!

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat.

Working quickly, dip goat cheese disc into egg wash, then flour*, then Panko.

Dipping goat cheese in egg wash for Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

Carefully lay them in the hot oil and fry until golden and crispy, repeating the process with all of your discs.

Laying panko crusted goat cheese in hot oil in pan for Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

Flip gently when they are golden brown.

Grilled goat cheese Blackberry Grilled Chicken Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com #freshsalad #springsalad #blackberrys #friedgoatcheese

Lay on paper towels for a minute to absorb some of the oil, then gently lay on the salad; drizzle with reserved blackberry balsamic vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Pin for blackberry balsamic chicken salad with close up of fresh blackberries, crispy fried goat cheee and sliced chicken.

Oh my, not only are the fried cheese discs beautiful to look it, they are a mouth watering sensation! Try this recipe as well as be inspired to host your own luncheon, this salad is perfect for Spring and Summer! And the chicken—gah! 

Like this recipe?
Don’t forget to give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and comment below the recipe!

Spring Luncheon Menu

Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. 5 stars
    We loved this salad! I’m really picky when it comes to a salad and this one was a delicious complete meal with loads of flavors and textures!

  2. 5 stars
    While I was drooling over your photos I also thought, this is a great salad to share with my girlfriends! In the meantime, I made this just for me and the hubs to enjoy for lunch for the past week. Super flavorful and love the double use of for the vinaigrette and marinade! This is a keeper. Thank you.

  3. The dressing was a bit too sweet for my taste so I remade it with no honey and then mixed the two batches together. That was perfect for my taste. I think my balsamic was a bit on the sweeter side to begin with. The next day I did add a bit of fresh basil since I had some on my counter. It was a good addition.

    I love the pickled onions. I think I’ll have to make some pork carnitas to help use them up. I might even toss a couple of cloves of garlic in to infuse their flavor in the onions.

    I love serving fried goat cheese on a roasted beet and greens salad but it was even more decadent with the berries. I will definitely make this again.

  4. This dressing is out of this world. My parents are here for a week and my mom is a great cook, so I wanted to make something different and special. I didn’t have time to do everything in this salad, but I did what I could and my parents pretty much licked the plate clean, dipping bread into the extra dressing left after the salad was eaten. Incredible.