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Bear with me, people. I know I frequently publish recipes for salads – Summer, Fall, Winter or Spring… it doesn’t matter to me. I enjoy eating salads, whether they are vegetarian, lettuce-based, grainy, quinoa-y, fruity – you name it and I usually can’t get enough of it! I write about what foods I love to make and to eat and, as you’ve likely learned by now, one of the things I never tire of is hearty salad. That said, I’m not the kind of girl who can live on a meager, lettuce-y, no dressing type salad. In fact, I am so hungry after eating a tiny portion of lettuce with minimal calories that I often come home and have a sandwich or several cookies. A hearty, filling salad, though, keeps me satisfied for hours, and in the summer this is often our dinner.
More vegetable-based than lettuce-centric – Summer Garden Chicken Salad came into my repertoire because I wanted to utilize what was growing up in my rooftop garden. As I often do – I was also foraging through my kitchen and wanted to incorporate extra vegetables from my fridge and the end of a baguette from the farmers market. We had this as a main dish for dinner the day after the 4th of July, when the thought of having leftover noodles, potato salad and beans kind of turned my stomach. I was craving something “clean.”
This salad is summery, seasonal, filled with texture, pretty and very tasty. Don’t overdress it because garden lettuce is soft and fragile. The hubby pronounced this “better than good.” So I knew I had to share it!
Summer Garden Chicken Salad
Serves 3 large eaters
Ingredients for the salad:
- 1 ½ cups fresh garden lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¾ cup English Cucumber, diced into 3/8 inch pieces
- 1 cup leftover grilled or cooked chicken, skin and bones removed and cut into pieces the same size as the cucumber
- Kernels of one ear fresh corn, cut off the cob
- 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, cut or torn into small pieces
- 1 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
- 1 tsp fresh parsley leaves, cut roughly
- 10 grinds of fresh black peppercorns
- ½ cup baguette croutons (cube bread and put it on a foil lined tray in the toaster oven. Drizzle with two teaspoons olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees.)
- ½ avocado, peeled and diced into squares the size of the cucumber
Ingredients for the Dressing
Makes ¾ – 1 cup
- ¼ cup White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 ½ Tbsp Honey
- 3/4 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp shallots, finely diced
- Pinch sea salt
- Pinch fresh ground pepper
- 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dump all the dressing ingredients into a tall, narrow vessel and use your hand blender to combine until thick. Taste and adjust – it should be like honey-mustard dressing with a little “bite”.
Note – this makes about double what you need so save the remaining dressing for another salad or another day
Combine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, chicken, corn, herbs and pepper in a 3-quart glass or stainless steel bowl bowl. Toss to fully combine.
Drizzle dressing along the sides of the bowl and toss – add more dressing on the bottom of the salad bowl or along the sides rather than putting directly on the salad greens so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy. At the end, add the croutons, toss lightly and top each serving with the avocado pieces as a garnish.
And for your information, this makes a terrific Salad in a Jar!