Key West Grilled Chicken Salad

Key West Grilled Chicken Salad

It was purely coincidental that I developed this salad recipe, inspired by the flavors of Florida. I’m a huge chicken fan, especially in salads, so when I happened across a marinade titled Key West Grilled Chicken I knew there was something in the making. There’s a perfect balance of sweet and savory, juicy and crunch. An ideal salad I’ll definitely make again and again.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladFor a long, long time I’ve wanted to go to Florida, specifically The Keys. When I was in high school everyone went to Florida for spring break, except for me. My parents were divorced and we simply couldn’t afford a lavish family vacation like the kids I went to school with. So each year they would all return tan and rested and I vowed that one day I would be able to mark Florida off of my Bucket List.

You’ve probably seen my post about Food Blog Forum, the food blogging conference I attended in March. Thanks to the generosity of Disney World and various other sponsors, I was finally able to make the trip down to Florida for the first time in my life.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladThere is someone else I have to thank as well. My dear friend Jodi opened up her home and her heart to my family, all 7 of us! After the conference we hopped in the rental van and drove the 3 1/2 hours to Jodi’s where we stayed for 2 more nights. It was amazing being able to meet Jodi finally. I’ve been working with her online (we work for the same company) for over 4 years and have become great friends. I love her to pieces.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladAs you can see, my kids completely took over her living room. Because of Jodi’s generous hospitality, we had a little extra time before we had to head back to Wisconsin.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladWhen we first arrived Jodi and her husband Mike fed us all.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladAnd believe me, that was a feat in itself, there are a lot of us!

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladThe rest of the evening was spent kicking back in the backyard, checking out the canal that ran through the back, and just enjoying time with good friends.

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Key West Grilled Chicken SaladWe even had a lizard stop in for a visit!

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladDid I mention that Jodi has Muscovy Ducks? It’s really an amazing tale. In fact the name of her blog is My Muscovy Ducks Tale. Her blog tells all about how the humane society said the best thing to do with abandoned eggs is put them in the freezer as they wouldn’t survive without their mother. Jodi proved them wrong! It’s a great story with happy endings. :)

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladThanks to Jodi opening up her home to us, we were close enough to be able to visit Key Largo, only a little over an hour’s drive away. Had it not been for her, our trip would have ended in Orlando and we would have missed more of Florida’s beauty.

Our first stop in Key largo was to ride the glass bottomed boat. The video is noisy from the wind, and a little shaky from the bumps on the water, but what a beautiful day!

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladSeeing the fish and coral reef through the bottom of the boat was fabulous, and being able to just enjoy the ocean was outstanding.

We were going to snorkel but the winds were really whipping around, so we decided to just take a drive and see what we could find. Unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time to drive all the way down The Keys, so we’ll save that trip for another time. We didn’t happen across a small parking lot that held about 6 cars. It was called “Annie’s Beach”.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladIf you’ve ever driven down to Key Largo toward The Keys you know that basically it’s ocean on both sides and a bit of land and that’s about it. So if you happen upon an empty parking space, it’s best you grab it!

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladHere there was a wooden bridge walking path that went for who knows how far.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladAlong the path were entrances to the water, like this one.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladWhich lead to something beautiful like this.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladI wanted to stay forever. I knew that wasn’t possible and that eventually I would see Chicago again out my window. Goodbye Florida, until we meet again. Especially now that I know I have a place to crash. ;-)

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Key West Grilled Chicken SaladI’ll drift back to Florida now and again by making this salad filled with mandarin oranges, cashews, dried tropical fruits and marinated chicken. The marinated chicken is actually from this recipe — Key West Grilled Chicken on Grocery Budget 101. Good stuff, though I think mine needed a longer marination time. Poking the chicken with a fork a couple of times prior to marinating would have been helpful too.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladI found a great dressing for the salad at my local market. I’m not a big dressing person, so just a few drizzles is all I added.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladSo if you’d like to take a trip down to The Keys with me, the recipe is below and we can wish and dream about ocean paradise together.

Key West Grilled Chicken SaladWhile I didn’t want to leave Florida, I have to say that we have some pretty spectacular sunsets in our sleepy little lake town in southeast Wisconsin. So I’ll enjoy the beauty I have around me, until I can visit the ocean again.

5 from 1 reviews
Key West Grilled Chicken Salad
There are no real measurements in this recipe. Use as much or as little of each item as you like. Enjoy.
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Iceburg lettuce, chopped
  • Sliced avocado
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Tropical trail mix
  • Cashews
  • Grilled chicken, sliced
  • Lime, squeezed
  1. Tear or chop lettuce leaves and toss together. Top with remaining ingredients and drizzle a little freshly squeezed lime juice over the top. Add dressing of your choice and enjoy!



  1. says

    Wow, gorgeous salad – so refreshing both the colors and the flavors! I certainly have to try this one!
    And I love Key West – such a magical place. That must have been a dream vacation :-)

  2. says

    What a gorgeous salad, Amanda! Just packed with some of my favorite ingredients. I know I’ll definitely try this one very soon.

    Also – I’m so glad that you finally got to visit Florida and that we got to meet! So nice to put a real, live face to people that you’ve only known online. Hope our paths cross again :-)

  3. says

    Your photos are just beautiful, and this salad is one that I really must try, I’ve always loved cilantro in salad, but the tropical fruit and the chicken look like they give it a lot more depth.

    Thanks for the share!!!
    Tracy Lawson

  4. says

    This is exactly the kind of salad that I love Amanda! Your photos are wonderful too!

    The last two times that we have BBQ’d chicken we marinated it for 24 hours first in a good marinade. That seems to be the key for moist and flavorful chicken.

  5. April @ Angel's Homestead says

    I have only been to Florida once on a short, two day visit to Daytona. I couldn’t really enjoy it though, because me and my husband went with another couple, who went there on business. It has been my dream to go back again ever since, just me and my family.

    Your salad is beautiful and delicious looking, and I pinned it to try soon.

  6. says

    I am so glad you had a wonderful trip to Florida. I have lived in Florida ll my life and I can truly appreciate the experience.

    Your salad is amazing-definitely represents the colors and the flavors.


  7. Jane says

    Amanda, I so loved the salad, crisp, light and brought back the memories of my childhood living in long key. Your photos grabbed my heart, thank you.


  1. […] This is me and Jodi. I had worked with her online since 2007 and we became close friends. She is one of my best friends on earth and I am very grateful to have met such a funny, kind-hearted and generous person. The world needs more Jodis. :) Love you girlfriend. If you would like to see more pictures of our trip to Florida, and get a great recipe too, head over to this post on my food blog – Key West Grilled Chicken Salad. […]

  2. […] For a long, long time I’ve wanted to go to Florida, specifically The Keys. When I was in high school everyone went to Florida for spring break, except for me. My parents were divorced and we simply couldn’t afford a lavish family vacation like the kids I went to school with. So each year they would all return tan and rested and I vowed that one day I would be able to mark Florida off of my Bucket List. Quoted from my food blog, Amanda’s Cookin’. […]

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