Berries in a salad? Yes, please! And so patriotic don’t you think?
Those of you who know me by now it’s probably no surprise that I like to follow trends. My current trend is a salad one. They are so easy to throw together, healthy and have endless flavor possibilities. I can’t get enough.
My local grocery store had fresh organic strawberries and blueberries on sale yesterday which motivated this dish’s existence. I also had crumbled goat cheese, mixed greens and pecans in my fridge. That’s what so great about salads, you can pretty much raid your fridge and pantry to come up with a delicious creation.
I love the fresh, sweet berries with tangy balsamic dressing, creamy crumbled cheese and rich toasted crunch from the pecans. It has every flavor and texture you could imagine. After the pictures I added some chopped red onion, which was a welcomed addition. What a beautiful and tasty 4th of July recipe too.
Healthy bottled vinaigrette can be hit or miss, but I love the Annie’s and Maple Grove Farm of Vermont brands. Most are gluten free (some dairy free) and those I’ve tried are delectable. Added bonus the Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette variety has only 15 calories per serving! Yes… and it does taste good. A poppy seed dressing would also be excellent as well.
SUMMER BERRY CHICKEN & PECAN SALAD
gluten free & dairy free option
serves 4 (as main dish)
• 1 lb CHICKEN BREASTS, BONELESS, SKINLESS
• SEA SALT & PEPPER, to taste
• 10 large STRAWBERRIES, quartered
• 1 cup BLUEBERRIES, FRESH
• 1 oz PECANS HALVES, toasted (about 20 broken into pieces)
• 8 cups MIXED BABY GREENS or SPINACH
• 1/2 cup GOAT or FETA CHEESE, crumbled
• 8 tbsp LIGHT BOTTLED or HOMEMADE BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE (my homemade BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE recipe)*
*Adjust calories accordingly (I used Maple Grove Farms of Vermont brand dressing – 15 calories/2 tbsp).
Gluten free option: use homemade or GF bottled vinaigrette and cheese.
Dairy free option: omit cheese or use goat cheese if tolerated.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Season chicken with sea salt and pepper; cover and bake 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through. Let cool and chop into pieces.
2. In a small, dry skillet toast pecan halves over low heat stirring occasionally until fragrant, about 6-8 minutes (optional step). Let cool and break into pieces with hands or roughly chop.
3. Layer greens on a platter or plate and top with chicken, fresh strawberry quarters, whole blueberries, goat or feta cheese, pecans, sprinkle of sea salt, pepper and drizzle with balsamic (or serve on the side). Garnish with kiwi slices if desired. Serving size, 1 salad or 1/4 of recipe.
VARIATIONS: Add thinly sliced red onion, walnuts or almonds for pecans. Omit chicken for a meatless side. Top with avocado, cucumber or other fresh fruits.
NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 280 calories, 12g fat, 3g sat fat, 70mg cholesterol, 16g carb, 5g fiber, 11g sugar, 28g protein