Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cranberry-Walnut Grilled Chicken Salad

I was really shocked when, as we were cleaning up after dinner, my husband said this was one of his favorite things I've made. He's typically a meat and potatoes kind of guy (although he does appreciate anything that tastes good), so I was really happy to hear that he really enjoyed one of the healthy meals I made him eat, instead of just tolerating it for my sake. Honestly, I'd like this salad just as much without the chicken. The salty cheese, rich walnuts, and sweet-tart cranberries hit all the taste buds and make for meal that is balanced and filling, without being at all heavy. Even with the cool fall weather, I still crave salads, but ones with more fall-like ingredients as opposed to the massive piles of vegetables I consume on a regular basis during the summer. After putting this together, I'm already envisioning more new creative combinations of ingredients for main-course fall salads.

Cranberry-Walnut Grilled Chicken Salad
serves 2

1 T. maple syrup
1 T. grainy mustard
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (approximately 1/2 pound)
4 oz. mesclun or other salad greens, in any combination (I used salad mix from Harmony Valley Farm)
1/4 c. sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 c. chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 c. crumbled blue cheese
Salad dressing (suggestion: balsamic vinaigrette)

1. Preheat a cast iron grill pan over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk maple syrup and mustard together until thoroughly combined. Brush both sides of the chicken breast with maple-mustard mixture and let marinate for at least 15 minutes. Grill chicken breast until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F. Let rest at least 5 minutes and slice into bite-size pieces.

2. Divide salad greens between two large plates. Top each pile of greens with half of the grilled chicken, cranberries, walnuts, and blue cheese. Drizzle with your favorite salad dressing and enjoy!

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