Souvla San Francisco Chicken Salad Recipe

San Francisco will always have a special place in my heart. I spent my first honeymoon there, weekend trips with my parents, and even got to take our kids there many times too.

It’s a place that has also broken me. Tested me. And helped me rise from some of life’s hardest difficulties. It was here my first husband and I thought we would make a home. It is also where I would find our dreams of living there…months away from happening would be shattered I had avoided coming here until a chance layover on my second honeymoon would land me right back.

And through it all I’ve come to realize that I’m okay allowing San Francisco to hold a bittersweet place in my heart. While it will always be tainted by some of those more bitterish memories, I also came to realize on my last trip that I can’t allow this beautiful city I’ve grown to love become defined by the more unpleasant memories.

Besides, the good memories outweigh the bad infinitely. The runs I’ve taken along the beautiful city and coastline, the history, architecture, character and charm far outweigh anything else. It never gets boring here. And one of my favorite parts of San Francisco is definetely the food! I love coming here because I can always find something that I can eat here. It’s the mecca for everything from fusing various genres of food together to make something new to enjoying classic coastal favorites like seafood and sourdough.

Souvla is one of my favorite places to go when I go to San Francisco. At first glance you would think that there is NOTHING about this recipe that should go together. Pickled onions? Fennel? Oranges? Kale? Greek yogurt? WHAT?

I can only tell you that all the ingredients and spices combined just pulls together and tastes absolutely incredible. Every bite is full of flavor. If you are looking for some new salad ideas, this one is a must try!

Souvla San Francisco Chicken Salad Recipe

Yogurt Dressing:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp oil (preferably olive oil)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried chives
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • Dash of lemon juice


  • 2 chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp oil, for cooking

Pickled Onion:

  • 1/2 red onion, halved then finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar
  • (See notes for quick pickling below)


  • 3 cups kale, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt


  • 1 grapefruit or orange
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, torn or cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried fennel
  • 1 cup snow peas (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Directions for Making Salad:

To Make the Dressing: Mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Place dressing in refrigerator until ready to eat. (The dressing can be made the night before. Store the dressing in an airtight container or mason jar for several days).

To Make the Chicken: Mix together the lemon juice, garlic and oil. Pour the mixture into a Ziploc bag. Add the chicken, seal the bag and toss to coat. Allow the chicken to sit for 1 hour and up to 24 hours before cooking.

To Make the Pickled Onions: Place the onions and salt, sugar and vinegar and let it sit for up to one hour to soften the onions. For quick pickling, place all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on low heat for several minutes until onion is softened.

Kale: Place the kale in a Ziploc bag and drizzle with the oil and salt. Seal the bag, toss the oil and kale together until all the kale is covered in oil, then allow to sit for 30 minutes.

To cook the Chicken: Place the chicken in a skillet. Heat skillet and chicken to medium high heat, cooking for several minutes until cooked and slighly charred, then flip the chicken and cook on the other side until cooked thoroughly, Remove chicken from skillet, allow to cool for several minutes, then slice into strips.

To Assemble the Salad: Place the lettuce in a large bowl. Sprinkle lettuce with fennel seeds then arrange the kale on top. Peel and segment the grapefruit or orange and arrange in the salad. Place the chicken on the salad, then the sprinkle with snow peas (if using) and parmesan cheese. Top with pickled onions. Drizzle the dressing over the top (dressing may thicken, use some water to thin to desired consistency if needed). Serve.

Makes Up to 4 Small Servings or 2-3 Large Servings

Recipe adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

See this recipe in our San Francisco Favorites Recipe Lineup

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