Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad

Who wouldn't welcome this waiting at their desk for lunch?
I eat salads at least four times a week during a summer, ranging from simple vegetable-only side salads to more elaborate main course salads. Although it does mean I spend quite a bit of time chopping vegetables, I find the time and energy well worth it, especially when I make a special salad for lunch at work. When the work day is long and hectic, having a lunch that is filling, healthy, and delicious goes a long way towards helping me power through the afternoon until I get to go home. Although my lunch salads are often vegetarian, when I'm grilling up some chicken or steak for dinner, I'll often make extra for lunch the next day, particularly when I've gone to the trouble of firing up the grill.

This salad is packed with flavor from a harmonious combination of creamy goat cheese, toasty almonds, and sweet, ripe strawberries, all accented with a light balsamic vinaigrette. The chicken makes the salad a bit more filling and hearty, so if you're going to vegetarian route, I recommend doubling up on the goat cheese and almonds. As summer progresses, trying swapping out the strawberries for raspberries and the balsamic vinaigrette for a raspberry vinaigrette for a delicious late-summer variation on this salad. Go ahead and take a little extra time to make your lunch a little more special-you deserve it!

Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad
serves 1

4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces mixed salad greens
2 ounces baby spinach
1 cup halved strawberries
1/2 ounce toasted sliced almonds
1 oz. crumbled goat cheese
Balsamic vinaigrette, for serving (I like Newman's Own)

1. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook chicken breast until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F, remove from heat, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice evenly into thin slices.

2. Meanwhile, wash and dry greens and spinach and chop, if necessary. Add greens and spinach to a large plate or bowl and top with the strawberries, almonds, goat cheese, and sliced chicken. Drizzle with vinaigrette and enjoy!

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