Easy Recipe for Strawberry Salad with Grilled Chicken
Imagine delicious summer strawberries, candied pecan or walnuts, sweet mandarin oranges, just-ripened tomatoes, and a light, oil and vinegar dressing over a bed of fresh green salad mix. To turn it into a meal, add diced chicken, grilled with a small amount of light olive oil and Italian seasoning.
A couple years ago, a friend brought a big bowl of strawberry salad to a party. At first I was not sure I would like strawberries or any type of fruit mixed in a green salad. But to my surprise, it has become my favorite type of salad! During the summer season, I started seeing strawberry salad in restaurants. There was some variation in how people made it, so I decided to try making it myself.
And don’t forget the bread! My favorite type is a thin baguette loaf, sliced and topped with my homemade brushetta, then just lightly toasted in the oven.
There are many different varieties of strawberry salad, so you can get really creative with the ingredients. I’ve combined all my favorite ingredients here to create my favorite type of strawberry salad.
- 1 head of green leaf or iceberg lettuce (or spring mix greens if desired), chopped in small pieces
- 1 cup of diced strawberries
- 1 cup of diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup of pecans or walnuts (candied if you can find them)
- 1 package of Perdue Chicken Shortcuts (see Step Two below on Preparing the Chicken)
- Seasonings for chicken: dried basil, parsley, salt and pepper
- Salad Dressing (I use Seven Seas dressing; however, one restaurant used a rasberry vinegarette dressing, which was also delicious and gave it a extra sweet taste!)
Other optional ingredients:
- ½ cup of canned mandarin oranges, drained (optional)
- ½ cup of finely chopped red onions
- small bunch of baby spinach leaves
Step One - Salad Dressing:
My favorite type of Italian dressing is Seven Seas Italian dressing packets. I love to make my own dressing in the Seven Seas cruet. I used red wine vinegar, light extra virgin olive oil (I like the light kind, which is light colored and doesn’t have a strong odor, either Berillio or Bertolli). The cruet is so easy to use, and there’s no measuring. Just pour in the vinegar up the V-line, then add some water (for low-calorie version, add a little extra water), then add the seasoning packet, and finally, add the oil. Place the cap on the cruet and shake. Refrigerate leftovers and use within a week to 10 days. I eat a lot of salad, so I make at least one cruet a week.
You can substitute with any other types of dressing, preferably light Italian, or vinaigrette.
Step Two - Preparing the Chicken:
Add a small amount of extra light virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan (3-5 tablespoons).
Add the pre-cut, pre-cooked chicken in the pan and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes. I like to add a large pinch of basil as well as parsley, a dash of pepper and a small pinch of salt. I cook the chicken until the edges are a little brown.
Step Three - Preparing the Bread:
I like to buy either a thin french bagelette loaf, or loaf of Italian bread (pane italiano!) and have them slice it at the bakery while it’s fresh. If I’m not going to use the bread right away, I freeze some or all of the bread in an air-tight bag.
Using a baking sheet, I line it with foil and then spray with non-stick spray. I fill the baking sheet with slices of bread, then prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, mix 1 large finely diced tomato, 2 teaspoons of basil, a dash of salt and pepper, a sprinkle of garlic powder, and a couple tablespoons of extra light olive oil. I carefully spoon out the mixture, placing a small amount on each slice. For family members who don't like tomato, I leave the tomato mixture off of some of the bread, and sprinkle a little garlic powder for added taste. Bake in a preheated over, about 325 degrees, for about 5-10 minutes. If you prefer the bread to be a bit more toasted, leave it in just a little longer, about another 5 minutes.
Step Four – Put it All Together:
While the bread is cooking, carefully mix all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. I usually like to dish out the salad in round flat dishes, then top with some grilled chicken, then add salad dressing. Don’t forget to take the bread out of the oven.