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I know a lot of people who don’t think salad can be a satisfying meal.  They think of it as fine for a first course or a side dish, but never a main course.  If you’re one of those people, make this salad.  It will change your mind.  There are so many different flavors and textures going on…the tender, nutty chicken…the crispy, sweet banana chips…the tang from the yogurt-based poppy seed dressing.  It all works together amazingly well. 

img_9727-smallUnsweetened, desiccated coconut was the one thing I wanted to add to this salad but in my haste forgot (it’s so hard to be patient when something smells as good as this chicken does when it’s cooking).  I’ll take this as an excuse to make this salad again.  And it will give me a chance to pick up some King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread, since I think it would be a fantastic pair.


Not only is this salad a fabulously delicious and satisfying meal on its own, but there is something interesting about its main ingredients.  Coconuts, mango, and bananas grow abundantly in Haiti, which happens to be this month’s focus for Regional Recipes.  (For more on Haitian food, see here.)  I’m sending this salad to Joanne of Eats Well with Others for her Regional Recipes round-up of Haitian dishes! 

img_9728-smallTropical Chicken Salad


(Yield:  4 servings)


Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing (see below)

4 (4-6 oz) chicken breast cutlets

1/2 c macadamia nuts, divided

1/2 c Honey Nut Cheerios

1 large egg, beaten

Olive oil (to lightly coat the pan)

8-10 c lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces

1 ripe mango, diced

1/4 c banana chips

1/4 c unsweetened, desiccated coconut

Salt and pepper

King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread (optional, for serving)


Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing:

1/4 c low-fat plain yogurt

1 TB canola oil

1 tsp each lemon juice and poppy seeds

1/2 to 1 tsp honey (depending on your taste)

Pinch salt and pepper


Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.


Crush 1/4 c of the macadamia nuts and Cheerios to a coarse meal (a few larger pieces are ok).  Season the chicken with salt and pepper; dip the chicken in the beaten egg and let the excess drip off.  Coat the chicken in the crushed macadamia nut/Cheerio mixture.


Heat a large pan over medium to medium high heat and add enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan (about 2 TB).  When the oil starts to ripple, add the chicken and cook about 3-4 minutes on the first side or until golden brown.  Flip the chicken over and cook another 3-4 minutes, or until golden.  Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.


Arrange the salad in each of 4 large bowls:  put the lettuce on the bottom, then top with the mango, banana chips, remaining macadamia nuts, coconut, and a drizzle of the Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing.  Place the chicken on top and serve.


Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. I was just looking around for something do make with some macadamia nuts and found your chicken salad. It sounds like such a great combination, but one I would never have thought of. Very summery!

  2. Sounds yummy!!! Im gonna try this recipe but fry the chicken in coconut oil ;)

  3. This is one of the most appetising dishes I’ve seen in ages. This looks fantastic. what a great mix of flavours! Great Blog!

  4. That salad looks fantastic! What a scrummy combination!



  5. I knew I picked up poppy seeds for a reason this weekend ;) I admit, I am one of those people who doesn’t find a salad appetizing as a meal itself, but I am going to try this…it looks fantastic!

    I also bought everything to make your spaghetti quiche this week! Can’t wait! <3 your recipes!

  6. This looks like the perfect lunch to me!!! What a delicious salad, Faith!

  7. I have no problem eating a salad as a main! Especially one as tasty as this with all the fresh ingredients. I can’t wait to make the poppy seed dressing!

  8. I love the word “tropical” so if I see a recipe with that word in it, I will stop and look! :) This salad looks so delicious. I bet it tastes great.

  9. This is absolutely a satisfying salad. I love its dressing.

  10. I love salads as a main course. This salad looks delicious! I love the addition of Cheerios!

  11. Ooooh…this look very delicious. I would enjoy that as a meal. I love that you add bananas and mangoes into this salad. Coconut will add extra flavour. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I love all the tropical ingredients in your salad! I’m definitely NOT one of those people who thinks a salad isn’t a meal (double negative??). This is a delicious, hearty salad that would make a great meal! I bet coconut would be really good with it, too, like you said.

    Have a great weekend, Faith!

  13. I totally agree, salads can be great for dinner especially when paired with some nice protein like chicken or seafood or even beef or bread. And ooh that Hawaiian sweet bread sounds amazing Faith!!! :D

  14. Mmmm, this sounds great. I will have to keep this in mind for a side this spring/summer when we’re grilling all the time!

  15. I love banana chips, even though I don’t particularly care for bananas. Have you tried Trader Joe’s Plantain Chips? They are delicious!

    Love the Cheerios idea…brillant.

  16. Veronica M. says:

    I normally don’t find salads with fruit in them appealing (unless it is a fruit-only salad), but this is an exception! The combination of flavors here is inspired. How int he world did you think of using honey nut cheerios? Brillant.

  17. That is one gorgeous piece of chicken. Wonderful post. Cheers!

  18. Boy, does that look good! I love salads that are chock full of “goodies,” though I could see myself hunting for and eating all the macadamia nuts before starting the salad.

  19. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Terrific salad and sounds wonderful with the creamy poppy seed dressing!

  20. That salad looks absolutely delicious! I’ll be dreaming of that chicken faith!! yummmmm

  21. banana chips in a salad, eh? that’s a pretty terrific idea, as is the use of cheerios. i think the coconut would be a great addition too. yep, this is pretty outstanding, faith–bravo!

  22. I love everything about this salad from the banana chips to the honey nut cheerios in the chicken breading (HOW FUN!) to the yogurt poppy seed dressing! Thanks so much for this submission. I really am going to have to try this!

  23. Heavenly Housewife says:

    What a fabulous salad. I am loving all those tropical ingredients and the cheerios :D
    have a fab weekend ahead.
    *kisses* HH

  24. How cool! I would never have thought to use Cheerios this way. I would love to try this yummy salad!

  25. I love your combination of flavors here!! How unique with the honey nut Cheerios and those dried bananas & macadamia nuts too! I love salads, and of course they can be a full meal. xo

  26. Faith

    I think this salad is “royale” fit for a king! Love the macadamia nuts (I haven’t had those in ages!) I would love to eat it!

  27. This is a wonderful salad by the seashore. Love your creative take on the salad with cereal. :)

  28. You know why I don’t think salads are fit for a main meal? Because most salads are sorely lacking in carbs. And this one? It’s got ALL components, and more. Amazing, Faith, I’m truly impressed. And I WANT that salad in a menu, right now.

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