Pittsburgh salad with grilled chicken

Intriguing topping makes this a hearty meal!

I am always intrigued when I learn of dishes that are associated with a specific place. I’ve never been to Philadelphia, for example, but I have eaten my share of Philly cheesesteak sandwiches (and even made a pasta casserole version of this famous delicacy). I have been to Boston, however, and am a big fan of Boston Cream Pie (which is actually a cake – go figure; I prefer it in donut form). Recently I read about something called a Pittsburgh salad which, curiously enough, is not called by that name in Pittsburgh. Popular in many restaurants there, it is usually listed on menus as either a chicken salad or steak salad, and features crisp greens, chopped vegetables, cheddar cheese and slices of grilled meat, topped with piping hot French fries and creamy Ranch dressing. I prefer the chicken version and these scrumptious homemade fries, though frozen grocery store fries (especially if cooked in an air fryer) are great also.  


Ranch dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) milk, warmed to room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) mayonnaise
  • Few pinches each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs (I used chives, dill and thyme)

Grilled chicken:

  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 6 oz / 170 g)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • 6 cups (280 g) chopped lettuce (I like Romaine for this)
  • 1 cup (180 g) sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup (120 g) sliced English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 oz (170 g) hot cooked French fries (about 30)


  • Make the dressing by putting the milk in a 1 cup (250 mL) jar with a tight lid. Add the rice vinegar and stir to combine; the milk will curdle (which is good). Add all remaining ingredients then place the lid on the jar and shake to blend well. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Refrigerate until needed (up to 3 days).
  • Cook the French fries per your method of choice. If air frying, you can start them once the chicken is on the grill as they will cook quickly.
  • While the fries are cooking, prepare the chicken. Brush the oil on the chicken breast and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken (or pan-fry in a skillet) until it reaches an internal temperature of 170F. Transfer to a clean plate and let rest for 3 minutes before slicing thinly.
  • Divide the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber between two broad bowls. Scatter cheddar over top. Arrange chicken slices over the salad then top with French fries and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

Serves 2. 

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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