Maple-Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad

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Maple-Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad is a flavor-packed salad topped with crispy chicken, chopped apples, dried cranberries, feta cheese, and sliced green onions. Filling and fabulous!

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you had a lovely weekend!

For once the weather totally cooperated around here, setting the perfect stage for a good ol’ fashioned baby shower and Father’s Day BBQ. Saturday morning my friends and family assembled from near and far to help celebrate the little man’s arrival in just 6 weeks (hopefully no more, no less!) Umm, can you say brunette power? BaHA!

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I was so happy that Ben’s Mom and Dad were able to come to town to join the fun, and especially thankful for two of my besties for putting on such a wonderful shower. It was so great to catch up with all my girls.

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These two were the matrons of honor at Ben’s and my wedding, so it only seemed fitting that they’d throw us a baby shower. You know you’re close when you can pick and poke at each other for no apparent reason!

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Most of the girls at the shower have little ones of their own, so it was awesome to stock up on Mom-approved essentials. Can’t deny the squealing power of adorable baby clothes though.

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Ben was also thrilled with the thoughtful gifts, though he complained the onesies came 10 sizes too small. And there was’t enough beer. What do you do.

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Sunday we all gathered at my parent’s house to celebrate this guy…Dad!

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My niece and nephew were in rare form. Cute overload all day long.

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My brother, father of said niece and nephew, grilled us up a feast for lunch.

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Let’s see, what do we have here…grilled brats, roasted asparagus, Grandpa’s Pasta Salad, and a fresh garden salad from my sister-in-law’s epic garden.

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Angel Food Cake + berries and whipped cream for dessert. Say it with me…summahtime

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After lunch we all sat under the sun, some of us playing bags while others lounged. The women killed it!

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Happy Father’s Day to my one and only, super-crazy-special Dad, Father-in-Law…

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and favorite Dad to be! (Forgot to snap a photo of his gift – got him some awesome Glen Cairn whiskey glasses that we’d found in Charleston. Better enjoy ‘em while he can! J/k. Kind of. ; ) )

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Although it doesn’t feel like a Monday, it’s back to reality which involves whipping up yummy dishes like Maple-Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad for a satisfying and fresh meal. I am obsessed with the crust on this chicken!

Last week I saw a recipe for pecan-crusted salmon, which reminded me of my favorite pecan-crusted chicken salad that I used to order at TGI Fridays back in the day…when I wasn’t ordering kid’s chicken fingers with a cup of French Onion Soup, that is. What? They’re delicious!

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Anyway, in my version, lean chicken breasts are brushed with a mixture of real maple syrup and dijon mustard then smothered in toasted pecans and breadcrumbs before being quickly roasted. After cooling slightly, the chicken is sliced then served over a bed of lettuce with lots of crunchy and sweet toppings including dried cranberries, chopped apples, crumbled feta, and sliced green onions.

I. Heart. This. Salad! Sort of fall feeling, but a total winner nonetheless.

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Start with the pecans, which form the base of the maple-pecan crusted chicken. Toasted nuts taste especially delicious on breaded chicken or fish, as the flavor really pops and they get even more crispy when cooked, so I toasted 1/2 cup pecan pieces in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees then cooled completely. Easy.

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Pop the cooled pecans into a food processor then process until fine. NOT until the pecans start to turn into pecan butter, but just until they’re like fine crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the pecans up as small as you can. The smaller the ‘cans the easier they’ll stick to the chicken!

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Pour the pecan crumbs into a shallow dish then add 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper then mix to combine and set aside.

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Next stir together 3 Tablespoons real maple syrup (not pancake syrup) and 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard in a small dish.

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Brush 1lb chicken breasts with the maple-dijon mixture then dunk into the pecan crumbs, making sure everything’s covered well.

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Place the chicken onto a nonstick sprayed cooling rack set atop a baking sheet then bake for 18-20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Let the chicken cool slightly then slice and place over a bed of mixed greens. Add crumbled feta cheese, dried cranberries, chopped apple pieces, and sliced green onions, then devour!

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Maple-Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1lb chicken breasts (3-4 chicken breasts)
3 Tablespoons real maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
9oz mixed greens
2 red apples, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles (or bleu cheese crumbles)
2 green onions, chopped

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees then spread pecans out on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes until pecans are toasted and fragrant, shaking pan halfway through. Remove to a plate to cool completely.
  2. Place cooled pecan pieces into a food processor then process until they resemble fine crumbs. Pour into a shallow dish then add panko bread crumbs, salt, and pepper and mix together. 
  3. Stir together maple syrup and Dijon mustard in a small dish then brush chicken breasts with the mixture and dunk into pecan/panko mixture, covering both sides well. Place onto a nonstick sprayed cooling rack set atop a baking dish then spray tops with extra virgin olive oil or nonstick spray. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Cool slightly then slice.
  4. Divide lettuce between plates then top with apples, cranberries, feta cheese, green onions, and maple-pecan crusted chicken.

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

Like I said – OBSESSED with this chicken! The pecan coating gets nice and crispy on the outside, while the chicken stays juicy and tender on the inside. That sweet maple and tangy dijon flavor totally sings too. I could have eaten the whole pound of chicken!

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

I recommend dressing this salad with either a balsamic vinaigrette or honey-mustard vinaigrette. Annie’s makes both, which I really like. Hope you all enjoy! : )

Maple Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad | iowagirleats.com

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Comments

  1. Lindsey 06.17.2013

    Looks like a great shower and that salad looks yummy, it’ll have to get on next week’s meal plan!

  2. what a fabulous weekend! i love friends like the ones you described…they are the best.

  3. This sounds amazing! Kind of like a fun play on honey-mustard chicken. Also looks like you had a lovely weekend…I’m totally craving sausage with mustard now!

  4. Danielle 06.17.2013

    That chicken looks delicious; I love that it’s crunch without a carb-y coating. Also, it seems Ben has excellent taste in music/t-shirts.

  5. Do you think that this would work with tofu, also? I think that I might give that a try for a vegetarian version.

  6. Melissa 06.17.2013

    Oh yummy yummy. I thought of TGIFridays before I even read your comment! Such a nostalgic winner!

    Your shower and Father’s Day celebrations look perfect. Even though I know the time is passing, I still can’t believe Finn is a little boy now! I remember when he was born! (Not weird at all that I relate to you this way ;) ) Anyway . . . ! Glad you got to spend some quality time with the family and friends.

  7. My Father’s Day looked a lot like yours down to the bean bag throwing game! Nothing wrong with a little friendly competition! Glad you had a nice weekend! :)

  8. You and your bumps are too adorable!! I love it!! I’m also loving all of that brunette power going on at your shower ;) Enjoy the last few weeks of preparing before the baby arrives!

  9. You look gorgeous in that black top! You’re definitely glowing! Your niece is so freakin cute too, I don’t know how anyone says no to that face!

  10. Lea 06.17.2013

    I have a list of salads to make but this one is getting bumped to the top of the list. That chicken… yum!

    It looks like a picture perfect weekend. I hope I’m half as stylish as you continue to be when I’ve got a baby on board! You look radiant.

  11. I’m always on the hunt for new salad recipes, and this one seems perfect! Love the combo of sweet and savory. Congrats on your bundle of joy – you look beautiful :-)

  12. katie 06.17.2013

    In response to your bbq plate: Outdoor eating perfection.

    In response to your husband’s Rhymesayers t-shirt: Midwest represent. :D

  13. Lauren Williams 06.17.2013

    Looks like a great weekend! That is so funny that all your close friends are brunette..haha! The salad looks great! You are getting so close!!

  14. Samantha M. 06.17.2013

    New reader coming out of her lurking status to say OH MY GOODNESS that chicken salad looks so good – I’m lucky I didn’t drool on my keyboard!

    Congratulations on the new little one joining your clan soon! It looks like you had a wonderful baby shower and weekend.

  15. nicky 06.17.2013

    This looks delicious!! However, I’m weird in that I don’t like mustard…think it would taste OK without adding that or would it be too sweet?
    Thanks!

  16. Heather 06.17.2013

    Your dress! Love it. Where did you get it?

  17. Julia 06.17.2013

    I love the maple pecan crusted chicken! I must try this soon!

  18. Danielle 06.17.2013

    Where did you get that adorable dress from that you wore to your shower??

  19. Nessa 06.17.2013

    So glad you had a nice shower and Father’s Day :)
    Chicken looks really yummy!

  20. So delicious!!

  21. What a great weekend! :)

    Such a yummy looking recipe too!

  22. Tieghan 06.17.2013

    Looks amazing!

  23. Dream Mom 06.17.2013

    I LOVED that salad from TGIF-I order it every time. Can’t wait to try this recipe! I just did my grocery shopping today so I’ll have to try it next week (darn!). I have everything except the maple syrup!

    Shower looks great! Hope your move goes smooth this weekend. What a fun time in your life.

  24. Beautiful shower, beautiful salad! Congratulations!

  25. I love this salad! I am sure the crispy crust goes perfectly with the salad greens – Yum!!!

  26. Meghan 06.18.2013

    Your dad is wearing a DiCarlo’s t-shirt, which can only be found in my state (Ohio), around my old stomping grounds. Is he from Ohio originally? A Valley guy? That’s pretty cool, although I have to rib him a little and say that Giannamore’s is better! Nice seeing that t-shirt though!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.18.2013

      Steubenville! This weekend was Dean Martin Days there, which they try and get back for every year, so he was paying homage. :)

  27. Kerry 06.18.2013

    Looks like you got some great gifts at your shower! Baby clothes are just the cutest! I think I have seriously pinned liked all your recipes! I love your photog skills!

  28. Tracy 06.18.2013

    Fun family weekend. You’re getting so close! Exciting!

  29. Awwww what a fun shower and father’s day! You are glowing!

    And man oh man, that maple crust is pure genius.

  30. such a fun post! and that salad? the salads that have fruit always win with me :) and i absolutely loved placing the chicken on a wire rack – genius!

  31. Trisha 06.18.2013

    What a fantastic weekend! The baby glow becomes you. :)

  32. Megan 06.18.2013

    Omg i made this tonight and I can not stop eating the chicken. It is so so good! :) thanks for the wonderful recipe. I am a new reader but I’ve made 4 of your dishes now and love them all. (This ones my favorite)

  33. Kristi 06.23.2013

    Oh, this looks so good. Maple is my absolute favorite.

  34. Francis 06.24.2013

    lovely pictures..

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