Monday, May 5, 2014

Grilled Chicken Salad with Balsamic Dressing


Grilled Chicken Salad with Balsamic Dressing

My family will be seeing more of this salad in the refrigerator now that mild weather is FINALLY here. It is the time of year when heavy, rib-sticking meals make way for leaner, healthier dishes. This chicken salad makes a lighter fare a satisfying and filling option. 

If you look at the recipe you will notice one missing ingredient in these pictures—olives. I had every intention of using them but discovered that there were none in the house when I started to make the salad. As I had a busy morning and was running short on time and was trying to beat the clock before I lose adequate natural light for my photo shoot (which can still take an excrutiatingly lengthy amount of time), I opted not to run out to the store to get olives. Please do me favor and pretend they are there.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Balsamic Dressing



The Parmesan crisps in the center of the salad are an optional garnish which I highly recommend. They are crunchy, cheesy, nutty, and have a kick. They are also easy to make. I will show you how I made them in next week’s post. Come back then to check out the recipe!

Grilled Chicken Salad with Balsamic Dressing



Grilled Chicken Salad with Balsamic Dressing:

For the Salad: 
3 skinless and boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp.black pepper
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
10 cups chopped mixed greens ( I use about 50% Romain & 50% spring mix)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or whole
1 avocado, seeded and chopped
1 large (about 1 1/2 cup) cucumber, sliced and quartered
12  Pepperoncini peppers
1 cup pitted kalamata olives (optional)

For the Dressing:
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra light tasting olive oil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning


Pound chicken to an even thickness, about 1/2-inch or so. Combine the next 5 ingredients in a large zip lock bag. Add chicken. Refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.

Preheat a grill pan on medium high. Brush with vegetable oil. Drain the chicken marinade. Grill chicken breasts for 4 minutes on the first side to get dark grill marks. Turnover and cook for about 2 minutes on the second side or until cooked through (internal temperature of 160 degrees F). Remove from pan. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Cut into half-inch strips.
  
In a large mixing bowl, combine mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, pepperoncini peppers, and olives. Chicken may be mixed in or layered over the salad. Garnish with Parmesan Pepperoncini Crisps, optional (recipe to be posted next week).

Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight lid. Shake vigorously to blend. Serve with salad.



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