Meat Lite: Grilled Apple and Chicken Salad with Cider-Maple Vinaigrette Recipe

Meat Lite

Mostly vegetarian dishes with just a touch of meaty accent.

Meat Lite: Grilled Apple and Chicken Salad with Cider-Maple Vinaigrette Recipe

Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by their book, Almost Meatless.

I can skip the usual preface observing the seasonal bounty, endless variety, and countless purposes of apples, because that propaganda is well-covered by all food publications this time of year already. This recipe, though, suggests grilling apples, which may be a less common approach to cooking our fall favorite. And if nothing else, it certainly makes an argument for extending grilling season way into autumn, because it's definitely more pleasant to stand around a red hot grill when it's 50 degrees out, than when it's 90 degrees, no?

I prefer crisp, sweet and tart apples for this recipe and for munching in general, but feel free to experiment with your own preferred and/or local varieties. The salad is full of texture, easy on the meat, and light without lacking any flavor- particularly with a generous drizzle of the cider maple vinaigrette.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or safflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 large apples (Gala, Honeycrisp or your favorite variety)
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 12 ounces)
  • 5 ounces mixed baby greens
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 2 ounces hard, salty cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Manchego, or Pecorino, shaved


  1. 1.

    Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Core the apples and slice them into 1/4-inch wedges. Brush both sides of the apple pieces with a bit of oil. Sprinkle each piece with a pinch of sugar. Brush the chicken with oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.

  2. 2.

    Put the apples and chicken on clean, well oiled grill grates. Grill the apple pieces 2 minutes per side, until grill marks form. Remove from grill and set aside. Continue grilling the chicken until cooked through, 5-7 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly before slicing into 1/4-inch pieces.

  3. 3.

    While the chicken cooks, prepare the vinaigrette. Whisk the mustard, salt, pepper, maple syrup and cider vinegar together until combined. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking briskly to form an emulsion.

  4. 4.

    Toss the almonds and raisins with the mixed greens. Top with apples, chicken and shaved cheese. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.