Grilled Chicken with Garden Panzanella

A simple summer chicken recipe to easily whip up any night of the week when you’re craving something light and healthy: grilled chicken with garden panzanella. The chicken is marinated in a simple mix of olive oil, lemon, and garlic…then grilled until charred and juicy. Served with a panzanella salad full of garden vegetables, charred bread, vinegar, and basil. It’s one of those recipes you can make over and over again all summer long.

Grilled Chicken with Garden Panzanella

After a long day of testing lots of summer desserts (very excited to bring them to the blog soon), I needed a quick & healthy meal. I threw some chicken I had on hand in a quick marinade, mixed up a panzanella salad with what I had on hand, grilled the chicken, and called it dinner.

I loved the flavors and how quickly it all came together too much not to share. I know a lot of you are looking for weeknight dinners, so figured this would be the perfect recipe to have in your back pocket!

Grilled Chicken with Garden Panzanella

grilled chicken with garden panzanella – the details

The beauty of this chicken is that after just 1 hour of marinating with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper, it’s ready to go. You of course could marinate it longer, but I think one hour gives it just enough time to soak in the flavor. After grilling, the chicken is juicy and tender, with hints of lemon and garlic.

If you haven’t heard of panzanella, it’s a traditional Tuscan salad with the main base ingredients being stale bread, onions, and tomatoes…usually flavored with olive oil and vinegar. I’ve added some cucumbers to mine, plus lots of fresh basil from the garden, and subbed charred bread instead. Since the grill is going for the chicken, there’s nothing better than throwing a couple slices of crusty bread onto the flames for a nice smoky flavor. Such a great addition to the fresh summery salad.

I’d say this is the perfect light weeknight dinner. If you want to serve something alongside, I’d suggest this corn chowder. And maybe an almond peach crisp for dessert to complete the summer feast!

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Grilled Chicken with Garden Panzanella

Grilled Chicken with Garden Panzanella

simple marinated grilled chicken with lemon & garlic, served alongside a fresh summer garden panzanella salad 

servings: 2

Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • kosher salt 
  • freshly cracked black pepper 
  • 2 large skinless + boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 large ½” slices crusty bread (about 4 oz total)
  • 4 oz cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1 spring onion (or scallion), thinly sliced 
  • 1 baby cucumber, thinly sliced 
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 
  • 4 large basil leaves, torn
  • flaky sea salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add a ½ cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, grated garlic, 1 tsp of kosher salt, and about 20 cracks of black pepper to a bowl. Whisk well to combine. Submerge the chicken in the mixture. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Transfer the bowl to room temperature and let sit for about 20 minutes before grilling. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat the grill over high heat. Once hot, drizzle the bread with olive oil and quickly grill on both sides until charred and crisp. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. 
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes, spring onion (or scallion), cucumber, red wine vinegar, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a mixing bowl. Season with a good pinch of salt. Toss well and let sit while you grill the chicken. 
  4. Place the chicken onto the grill and cook for about 2 minutes on each side over high heat until charred. Lower the heat to medium, cover the grill, and continue to cook the chicken for about 10-12 more minutes, or until cooked through (cook time will vary depending on your chicken size). Flip the chicken halfway through cooking.  
  5. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for about 5 minutes. Cut the grilled bread into ½” pieces and toss with the tomato mixture. Slice the chicken against the grain into ¼” slices. Plate the chicken with the panzanella alongside. Garnish with the torn basil, a drizzle of olive oil, flaky sea salt, and more freshly cracked black pepper.

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Grilled Chicken with Garden Panzanella

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