Balsamic Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Pecans, Cranberries, and Pears

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When we first got married, I never knew why my husband would have a slight panic attack every time I said, “Hey love, we are having chicken salad for dinner.” I didn’t grow up eating the mayonnaise/celery/mustard/etc kind of chicken salad, so when I said “chicken salad” it was referring to the kind you would find in a restaurant titled “Chicken Caesar Salad”, or “Thai Chicken Salad,” or “Southwest Chicken Salad.” My reaction when we finally realized our differences in definition was something along the lines of “You think I would feed you that chicken and mayo paste for DINNER??”

If you can’t tell, I am somewhat averse to mayonnaise. I would much rather have mustard slathered on a sandwich than a white semi tasteless goop of raw egg and oil, and “salads” that are held together with this…stuff… are not worthy of the name. (Of course I won’t admit the fact that I feel quite juvenile in not being able to stomach the stuff, and wish that I could because it seems like it’s the “adult” thing to do).

But until that happens, I will stick with “spinach salad with grilled chicken” since it is seriously the easiest meal ever.

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To combat end-up-eating-all-the-salad-dressing-first-because-its-sitting-on-top-of-your-salad-and-your-plate-is-too-small-to-mix-it-together-itis, I like to mix my greens and hearty veggies with dressing in a large bowl before serving. (Chopsticks work great as mixing tongs).

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Add the fixings. Meat, fruit, nuts, and cheese of all kinds are almost always great additions.

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What I used this time (serves 2, with some extra fixings left over):
– 1 6-oz bag of Baby spinach
– 2 Grated carrots
– 1 ripe pear, sliced
– 1 roma tomato, sliced
– 1 4-oz package goat cheese
– 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries
– 1-2 Grilled chicken breast

Balsamic Dressing/Chicken Marinade (just mix everything together):
– 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
– 1/2 cup pure olive oil
– 1/2 tsp garlic powder
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp sugar

1. Marinate the chicken the night before, morning of, or (like I do, since I usually forget) for at least 20 minutes.
2. Put said chicken on the grill.
3. Toss together spinach, carrots, and dressing in a big bowl.
4. Add fixings to the top, placing sliced, hot chicken on last (so it doesn’t wilt the spinach).
5. Enjoy a surprisingly satisfying bunch of green good-for-you stuff.

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2 responses to “Balsamic Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Pecans, Cranberries, and Pears

    • It was pretty fantastic if I do say so myself… even my husband was practically jumping with excitement when we had it for a second time in a week. It’s a great and delicious way to eat fresh veggies!

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