Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

The combination of flavors in this salad is incredible: Sweet strawberries, salty feta, savory chicken breast, and tangy balsamic. I'll be making this all spring and summer long!

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During spring and summer I love to make salads.  We often have them with dinner, especially when I can go right out to my garden for some lettuce and greens.  

The day I made this salad, it was our main dish.  With plenty of protein from the chicken, fat from the avocado, and lots of spinach and other goodies, it was the perfect spring dinner.

You can choose to add chicken and make it a meal, or serve as a side salad without it. Either way I think you're going to love it!

I need to point out that not pictured are WALNUTS! They were a great addition to the salad after I had taken the photos - oops!

This is a simple salad to throw together, and the vinaigrette couldn't be easier!

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Here is my recipe for Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette, adapted from here.

 

Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Salad:

  • 5 oz spinach
  • 1 - 2 chicken breasts (depending on size and how hungry you are!), cooked and chopped (see Note) 
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 5 large strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • a few slices red onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:

  1. Make the vinaigrette by combining the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, dijon, salt and pepper.  Whisk until blended.
  2. Add spinach to a large bowl and top with most of the vinaigrette. Toss well to coat the spinach. Then add chicken, avocado, feta, strawberries, red onion, and walnuts. Pour on remaining vinaigrette and lightly toss combine, and serve.

Note: You can cook the chicken any way you like: on the grill, in the slow cooker, or use leftover cooked chicken.  Here is my new favorite way to prepare chicken breasts for salads: 

  1. Place chicken breasts in a large ziplock bag and pound lightly, just to get the thicker part to be the same thickness as the thinner part.
  2. Liberally add salt and pepper to both sides of the chicken.
  3. Cook in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Cook for about 3 minutes on one side to sear it, then flip chicken breasts over.  Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes to sear the other side, then turn down to low.  I have a digital thermometer that will beep when the chicken gets to 165.  So I put that in the thickest part of the chicken breast, cover the pan, and wait until it's ready.  I flip it a couple more times before it is finished, and it should take about 15 minutes.  Every time they turn out flavorful and juicy!

Since I'm on a salad kick now I'm trying to think of different combinations to try. What are your favorite salad ingredients?

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