Pan-Seared Chicken with Balsamic Tomato Salad


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crispy chicken with balsamic tomato salad in a white bowl

Inspired by Italian Caprese Salad, Crispy Chicken with Balsamic Tomato Salad stands up as a meal all on its own. Top warm, parmesan-crusted, chicken cutlets with cooling balsamic tomato salad, pearls of mozzarella cheese, and fresh pesto. Serve it over a simple arugula salad and dinner is served!

Meet Your New Favorite Summer Meal

It’s late summer and that means you want to be at the pool, sipping dewy drinks on a screen porch, visiting with family and friends, soaking up every moment of these long days and warm nights but you still need to eat! This colorful meal delivers big summer flavor with plenty of options for shortcuts (see below for ideas). 

I serve this to the adults in our household as pictured here – a big salad with everything layered together. For the kids, I keep the parts separate – breaded chicken + tomatoes and mozzarella + lightly dressed arugula. It’s a meal that wins with everyone. 

This meal is:

  • Fresh
  • Colorful
  • Fast
  • Guest-Worthy
  • Full of Summer Flavor

tomatoes and mozzarella in a clear glass bowl

Shortcuts for Crispy Chicken with Tomato Salad

  1. Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs (add flavor)
  2. Pre-grated Parmesan cheese
  3. Pre-sliced chicken cutlets or tenderloins
  4. Use store-bought pesto (look for it in the produce section to get the freshest product)

Want to make it even easier? Buy frozen breaded chicken cutlets / tenders and just bake them as directed. (I love the Applegate Farms Chicken Tenders and they’re gluten-free!)

adding breadcrumbs to a square baking dish

Homemade Pesto

If you have access to a lot of fresh basil, it makes sense to make your own pesto at home. Just get out the food processor and combine fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese. Find my go-to recipe here

Leftover pesto? Freeze it. Whether store-bought or homemade, you can freeze pesto for up to 6 months. 

basil, parmesan and pine nuts in a food processor

More Fresh Summer Salads

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crispy chicken with balsamic tomato salad in a white bowl
5 from 3 votes

Pan-Seared Chicken with Balsamic Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Salad meets main dish in this summer meal that is hearty enough for dinner but would make a fun outdoor lunch to serve to guests. Balsamic tomato and mozzarella salad and some fresh pesto balance the heat and crunch of the crispy chicken.
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Meat Tenderizer
  • Shallow Bowl or Dish
  • Skillet
  • Mixing Bowl


Crispy Parmesan Chicken

  • 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (look for pre-sliced chicken tenderloins or chicken cutlets to save time)
  • 3/4 cup Seasoned Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp Cooking Oil (I use any neutral oil like avocado, grapeseed, or canola)

Balsamic Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

  • 2 cups Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 6 oz Mozzarella Pearls (these are small and don’t need any prep, but you can also chop a larger ball of fresh mozzarella into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 10 leaves Fresh Basil, chopped

For Serving:

  • 8 oz Arugula (or use any salad greens)
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Basil Pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • Black Pepper


  • If using boneless, skinless, chicken breast, slice in half to thin. (Skip this step if using chicken tenders or cutlets.) If, after slicing, the chicken pieces are still quite thick, pound them with a tenderizer to about 1/2” thickness.
  • Season chicken on all sides with salt and black pepper.
  • In a shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
  • Heat cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
  • Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge it in panko mixture, pressing firmly to help the breadcrumbs stick. Sear chicken pieces on both sides until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes total.
  • When chicken is done cooking, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Stir together all ingredients for tomato and mozzarella salad. Season salad with some salt.
  • Toss arugula with lemon juice and 2 tsp olive oil.
  • Divide arugula between salad bowls or plates. Top with chicken and serve tomato salad and pesto on top. Finish each serving with some fresh-cracked black pepper.


Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 963mg | Potassium: 884mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2843IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 489mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00
Calories: 545
Keyword: easy salad, Entree Salad, summer, summer salad
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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