I’ve been working on what can only be described as a massive Spring Cleaning session with my bookmarks. I must have over 1,000 recipes saved, from appetizers to desserts and everything in between. When you have that many recipes, I’ve found several things: 1) there are bound to be duplicates – different bloggers all posting the same chocolate chip cookie recipe, a slew of chicken marsala recipes that may only differ by 1 or 2 ingredients, etc.; 2) a ton of the links don’t work anymore at all; and 3) I used to save a lot of “recipes” that I probably don’t need anymore, like one that I just found for roasted cauliflower that called for cauliflower, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and went through the same set of instructions I’ve been intuitively using to roast vegetables for the better part of 2 years now. Needless to say, I’ve been deleting saved recipes left and right, and condensing even more.
Another new habit that’s forming as a result of this is to take several similar or at least complementary recipes and piece them together into one meal, and that’s exactly how this Grilled Chicken Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette came about. I needed a last minute dinner when plans fell through, and I didn’t have time to go to the store. There was a recipe for a Spinach Salad and Raspberry Vinaigrette, and another for a Spicy Orange Chicken Salad. Neither was exactly what I was looking for, but I found bits here and there that sounded fantastic. So, with a little tweaking, this Grilled Chicken Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette was born, and aside from a total lapse in judgment when I added the salad ingredients to the full bowl of dressing instead of adding the dressing to the salad a bit at a time, it lived up to its expectations. I tried to drain the excess salad dressing, but it wound up being more trouble than it was worth – I only managed to salvage maybe a few tablespoons. So if you like salads dressed more lightly, simply do what I intended to do and add the dressing a bit at a time. I’ve calculated the nutrition information for the salad and dressing separately, so you can figure out what works best for you.
One Year Ago: Baked Spinach & Eggs
Two Years Ago: Black Bean, Chicken & Red Pepper Stew, Sophisticated Stuffed Mushroom Caps, Savory Baked Eggs with Mushrooms
Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Overall, this salad is light in flavor but still manages to be filling and satisfying. It’s perfect for this time of year and will continue to be a welcome addition to the dinner or lunch table as weather continues to get warmer.
Yield: 2-3 servings
Active Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: 20-25 minutes, minimum
¼ cup dry quinoa, rinsed well
2 chicken breasts, butterflied
½ red bell pepper, sliced
1 orange, chunked
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup citrus champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
chili powder, to taste
Heat a grill pan, lightly greased, over medium and start a pot of water (about ¾ cup) along with the dry quinoa to boil. Once it boils, reduce to a simmer and cook until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Ideally set aside to cool.
While the quinoa cooks, add the chicken to the heated grill pan and cook, 8-10 minutes per side, until lightly browned and fully cooked through. Remove from the pan and cool 5-10 minutes, then slice on an angle and, ideally, allow to cool completely.
While the chicken and quinoa cool, prepare the salad ingredients. Toss the pepper and orange pieces along with the quinoa with the spinach and add the desired amount of dressing (start with 1-2 tablespoons per person and go up from there). Arrange the chicken slices on top to serve.
Nutrition Information, Salad (per serving): 387 calories. 7.5g fat (1.5g saturated). 151mg cholesterol. 276mg sodium. 23g carbohydrates (3.5g fiber, 7.5g sugar). 54g protein.
Nutrition Information, Dressing (full yield, at least 4-6 servings): 674 calories. 75g fat (11g saturated). 0mg cholesterol. 7mg sodium. 5g carbohydrates (0g fiber, 4g sugar). 0g protein.
Do you tend to follow recipes to the T, or do you mix and match based on what you have on hand and how you’re feeling? I’m definitely the kind of person who’s constantly tempted to tweak, even when I probably shouldn’t - I definitely get curious in the kitchen!