Chicken and Nectarine Poppy Seed Salad Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Chicken and Nectarine Poppy Seed Salad

3 reviews / 5 average

I'm going salad crazy.

Oh, wait, I said that already yesterday.

A chicken and nectarine poppy seed salad is basically this: sweet juicy nectarines, bursts of blueberry, delicate baby spinach, lightly spiced grilled chicken, nutty chopped almonds, and homemade sweet poppy seed dressing all in the same bowl.

Holy Salad. This is my summer right here. All 100 days. You’re lookin’ at em.

Chicken and nectarine poppy seed salad in a white bowl on a wooden surface.

I’m the kind of person who gets on a food kick and doesn’t stop. My most recent food kick is chocolate chip cookies. → lie. I am always on that kick.

I can remember a summer when I ate a spinach salad, shredded carrots, wonton strips, and Asian dressing every day for lunch. I don’t know why in the world I wanted to be so healthy for so long but that crunchy tang just spoke to me. Every year in the fall, I consume at least 100 bowls of pumpkin oats. It’s a guaranteed obsession. Last winter I made batch after batch the world’s easiest posole which was basically an excuse to eat Baked Doritos by the fistful. Kick after kick after kick.

To state the obvious, right now I’m kickin’ with summer fruits. Specifically nectarines and blueberries… and more nectarines and more blueberries. The fact that these little beauties grew out of the earth into something that tastes like dessert just totally blows my mind.

Bowl of blueberries next to nectarines.

So the elephant in the room: grilled chicken. I have this thing about grilling chicken. Well, I have this thing about grilling in general which is that I don’t do it. That’s Bjork’s domain out there.

Grilled chicken sliced on a cutting board.

Just plain chicken has never really been my thing, and my typical method of plopping it in a skillet and waiting for it to turn brown is not doing anyone any favors. Enter panini press! This is my new chicken technique – I cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap and pound each piece nice and thin. Then I rub salt, pepper, olive oil, and a few extra spices into each piece, and then I grill it on the panini press, George Foreman style.

It’s delicious, beautiful, and totally fool proof with bonus seductive brown grill marks. And you guys are like, yeah, welcome to the world.

Also, can I put in a quick plug for using yesterday's homemade poppy seed dressing? Not necessary if you're short on time, but delicious and feel-good if you have 15 minutes to spare. Yummay.

Homemade poppy seed dressing in a measuring cup.

My days of being a salad renegade are long gone thanks to this pretty baby. Addicting salads for the win!

Chicken and nectarine poppy seed salad in a white bowl.
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Chicken Blueberry Poppyseed Salad

Chicken and Nectarine Poppy Seed Salad


This chicken and nectarine poppy seed salad has grilled chicken, blueberries, nectarines, almonds, spinach, and homemade poppy seed dressing.


  • 2 large chicken breasts (plus salt, pepper, olive oil for seasoning)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 ripe nectarines
  • 6-8 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • homemade poppy seed dressing (or store-bought)


  1. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, olive oil, and any other seasonings you like. I happened to have a random raspberry chipotle seasoning blend in my cupboard, so I rubbed a little bit into the chicken breasts before grilling - it was SO good! Just use whatever seasonings you like and/or have on hand to give the chicken a little extra flavor.
  2. Grill the chicken - I used my panini press to get those really nice browned lines. It worked like a charm. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces or strips.
  3. Assemble individual salads or toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Top with poppy seed dressing.


Nutrition information includes dressing (about 3 tablespoons of the homemade stuff).

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: Lunch
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chicken salad, salad recipe, nectarine recipe, poppyseed salad

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I use my panini press as a grill too! Grilling meat is a job for the men in my family…not to say I never use it, but at any family party that’s just where the men seem to congregate. So we let them be useful. And that salad looks sooo yummy, I know what you mean about getting on a food kick…I do that too. Maybe we have addictive personalities? If that’s the case, there are worse things to get hooked on!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Panini press the chicken! Genius! Why have I never thought of this?
    This salad looks divine

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Great tip about the panini press! I always manage to somehow dry my chicken out when trying to grill it or spend hours waiting for it to turn brown (ok, maybe not hours…) and then curse myself for not having thought of a different method.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    LOVE THIS! Looks beautiful and I am sure tastes delish. Great idead with grilling the chicken too…I totally agree that I am doing no one any favors with plain, grilled on the stovetop chicken. I will have to try this! Happy Summer (salad-style!) to you!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love nectarines in salad. My current favourite is a roasted red pepper and nectarine one with pumpkin seeds and apple cider vinegar dressing.

    Wish blueberries were cheaper though!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    This reminds me of my favorite salad from Panera! Every summer, I eat my weight in their Strawberry Poppy Seed and Chicken Salad. No joke. I had it both Saturday AND Sunday for lunch last weekend. So I totally get the food kick thing! 🙂

    And that’s a brilliant idea about the panini press!! I get bored cooking chicken in a pan, but since I don’t have a real outdoor BBQ grill, I didn’t know what to do. I’ll have to try this soon!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    This salad tho! Such a perfect summer meal. I made it two nights ago and cant stop thinking about it. Thank you for all your amazing recipes. They’re always winners!