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Pounded Chicken with Tomato, Olive, and Avocado Salad

This is an excellent way to cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Pound them thin and smother in a cumin and garlic marinade. They'll be suitably seasoned and ready for the grill by the time you assemble the salad that gets spooned over the finished chicken. Light, satisfying, and undeniably tasty, it's great for a weeknight supper or a simple summer dinner party. 

Course Dinner
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 320 kcal
Author katiemorford


For the chicken and marinade

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane or minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 boneless, skinlessless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lbs)

For the salad

  • 1 1/3 heaping cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 level cup castelvetrano or other favorite olives, pitted and torn in half
  • 1 small ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/4 roughly chopped cup fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon kosher salt


  1. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the marinade for the chicken: lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, cumin and salt. Set aside while you pound the chicken. 

  2. Lay a chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap that are about the size of a sheet of binder paper. Use a mallet or the side of a rolling pin to pound the chicken so it is about 1/3-inch thick across the surface of the breast. Add to the marinade and repeat with the second breast. Leave the breasts to marinate while you assemble the salad.

  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the cherry tomatoes, avocado, olives, scallions, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Taste and add more salt if needed. 

  4. The chicken breasts can be cooked on an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan or large cast iron skillet. Get your grill or pan piping hot, brush it with olive oil, and lay down the pounded chicken. Cook until you have distinct grill marks/browning and the chicken pulls away easily from the grill or pan, about 3 to 4 minutes. Cook the second side until the chicken is just cooked, another 3 to 4 minutes (you can make a little cut in the center to check and know that it will continue to cook once off the grill). Transfer to a platter or large plate and let rest for 5 minutes. 

  5. Stir the salad and spoon over the chicken. Drizzle any remaining juices over the top. Serve.