Grilled Ginger Chicken Salad

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

There are only a few tablespoons of grated ginger in this main-course salad, but what peppery zing they impart! Ginger offers a great opportunity to let the market speak to you; you might decide to make this dish by spotting a basket of superior ginger and thinking, “That’s what I want to celebrate tonight.” Or you might have ginger left over from another recipe and be looking for a way to use it today. When shopping for fresh ginger, find a piece that looks and feels firm to the touch with no spots or blemishes. On the West Coast, you might be lucky enough to encounter young, pink ginger-probably grown in Hawaii-which has almost no fiber; don’t pass up, the chance to use it in this recipe. You could make this at any time of year, using a grill pan or broiler in the colder months, but it’s really meant for summer, when you can grill the chicken outdoors and enjoy the surprisingly cooling effect of the ginger.

NotesChoose the freshest ginger available, recognizable by unblemished skin that is smooth and not torn. Ginger’s cut end will show its age; if it appears fibrous, the ginger has been sitting around too long. To peel ginger use a teaspoon to scrape the papery skin off; a vegetable peeler removes too much of the ginger itself.

Cut the avocado in half from top to bottom, running a large knife around the pit. As if you are striking with an ax, drive the heel of the knife (the sharp end of the knife nearest the handle) into the pit, wiggle the knife to loosen the pit, and pull the pit out. Use a large spoon to scoop out the avocado in one piece.


Cooking Methodbroiling, grilling



Total Timehalf-day

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, tree nut free

Equipmentgrill, grill pan

Mealbrunch, dinner, lunch

Taste and Textureherby, juicy, light, savory, spiced, tangy, umami, winey

Type of Dishmain course salad, warm salad


  • 2 tablespoons peeled, grated ginger (see Note)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice wine
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, skin intact
  • 1½ cups assorted small tomatoes such as small heirloom, cherry, or grape, halved or quartered if necessary to a uniform size
  • 8 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 pink grapefruit, segmented
  • 1 medium avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise (see Note)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise


  1. Stir together the ginger, soy sauce, rice wine, oil, lime juice, chile, and cilantro in a bowl. Pour half the marinade into a container; cover; and refrigerate. (This will be the dressing for the salad.)

  2. Put the chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish or other vessel. Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate, refrigerated, for 6 hours, or overnight.

  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan.

  4. Gently stir the tomatoes, radishes, and grapefruit together in a bowl. Set aside.

  5. Remove the chicken from the baking dish and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken breasts until the juices run clear when pierced with the tip of a knife or fork, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Set the chicken aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Add the chicken to the tomato salad and drizzle the dressing over the salad. (To prevent contaminating the food, do not under any circumstances use the marinade that dressed the raw chicken.) Toss gently.

  6. To serve, arrange a few slices of avocado in the center of each of 4 plates. Spoon some salad over each avocado base and scatter some scallions over each serving.


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