Strawberry Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette | The Rising Spoon

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

An easy strawberry salad made with mixed greens, goat cheese, walnuts, and shredded rotisserie chicken, then topped with an addicting maple balsamic vinaigrette. The sweet, tangy, crunchy & creamy flavors are incredible together! Fix this for a quick lunch or dinner during the spring & summer months while strawberries are in season. (gluten-free & grain-free) 

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Guys, this salad is SO FRIGGING GOOD. Clean plate club approved & if you happen to be feeding a picky eater who doesn't finish their portion, no problem...you'll happily do it for them.

Because all the flavors & textures pair beautifully together. It's like a symphony in your mouth. I know that sounds cheesy, but think of the scene in Ratatouille when the main character is combining certain foods together and has a light bulb moment. It's like that!

Easy Strawberry Chicken Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette


Strawberry Salad with Chicken, Goat Cheese & Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Strawberries + Balsamic Vinegar = Sweet & Acidic Heaven.

Goat Cheese + Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette = Creamy, Tangy, Semi-Sweet Goodness.

Combine all that together with the other ingredients and you get mixed bites of:
  • soft, juicy, sweet strawberry
  • bitter greens
  • crunchy toasty walnut bits
  • crisp spicy red onion slices
  • savory protein-packed chicken (you can omit & it's still amazing as a vegetarian salad)
  • creamy, tangy goat cheese
  • sweet + tangy maple balsamic vinaigrette

And if you toss the salad well once the dressing's on, the goat cheese softens and mixes with the balsamic vinaigrette to coat the leafy greens and make them taste even better.

It's so good you'll want to lick the plate clean.

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

How to Make Strawberry Chicken Salad

  • Make a quick & easy batch of homemade maple balsamic vinaigrette. This'll give the green onion a bit of time to seep into the dressing while you prep the rest of the ingredients. (Note: you can totally make this the day before or even several days ahead of time & store it in the fridge until you're ready to eat.)
  • Shred or chop your cooked chicken (I prefer rotisserie chicken since I can use the meat for chicken hummus naan wraps, chicken wraps with chimichurri saucechicken nachos, or creamy chicken noodle soup but grilled chicken would be yummy during the warm months). If you want to do another protein, now's the time to fix it. Or, just leave off the meat and serve this as a vegetarian dish with a bit of crusty buttered bread.
  • Toast the walnuts. This is totally optional but only takes about 5-7 minutes on the stovetop. You can set a timer and let them toast on medium heat in a dry skillet, stirring a few times, while you prep the rest of the salad.
  • Prep the fruit, veggies & cheese. I like to soak my fresh strawberries for a few minutes in a bowl of water with a few glugs of distilled white vinegar. It's a good way to clean them and extend their shelf life.
  • Assemble the salads (everything EXCEPT the dressing). You can do this a few hours ahead of time & keep the plates or bowls covered in the fridge until mealtime.
  • Toss the salads with homemade vinaigrette right before serving and eat the same day (the dressing will make the leaves wilt).

Can You Make Strawberry Salad Ahead of Time?

Yes! You can prepare this leafy green salad hours before the meal, a day ahead of time, or several days in advance if you want to do meal prep for the week. 

However, ripe strawberries have a pretty short shelf life in my experience, so you'll probably only want to make this salad 3-4 days out. Cut, ripe strawberries also get pretty juicy so your best bet for meal prepping a mixed greens strawberry salad several days in advance is to either:
  1. store the strawberries separately & add them the morning you plan to eat the salad or
  2. prep the salad using the mason jar method with the wet ingredients placed at the bottom of the jar (strawberries, goat cheese), followed by the other toppings (chicken, nuts, red onion), then finally the salad greens on top.
And as with any leafy green salad, only add the salad dressing right before serving. That way the greens and toppings don't get soggy! 

Ingredient Swaps (When You're Trying To Use Up What's On Hand)

I hope you get to try this recipe exactly as it's written at least once. However, I also like to craft meals out of things I already have on hand in the pantry, fridge & freezer so I can save money on food & prevent food waste

You're probably the same way. So, here are some swap ideas for you in case you in that exact situation:
  • Fruit: Try blueberries, raspberries, cherries, or even watermelon instead. 
  • Leafy Greens: I like mixed greens (50/50 blend) but baby spinach, arugula, chopped romaine lettuce or butter lettuce would be awesome. 
  • Cheese: Crumbled goat cheese is my absolute favorite, but this would be yummy with blue cheese, feta cheese, or mozzarella cheese (especially burrata). 
  • Nuts: Pecans, almonds, cashews & pistachios all work. Even better, if you like sweet things, is making a small batch of candied nuts on the stovetop or in the oven. 
  • Protein: Instead of chicken, try pan-seared salmon, sauteed shrimp, or cast-iron skillet steak.
  • Dressing: Balsamic vinaigrette is perfect for the salad, in my humble opinion, but strawberry salads are also popular with creamy poppyseed dressing, citrus vinaigrette (like my coconut lime dressing), apple cider vinaigrette, and fruit vinaigrette like raspberry or strawberry. 


spinach, green, lettuce, easy, how to make
main course
American
Yield: 2 main course salads or 4 side salads
Author:

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

prep time: 15 Mcook time: total time: 15 M
An easy strawberry salad made with mixed greens, goat cheese, walnuts, and shredded rotisserie chicken, then topped with an addicting maple balsamic vinaigrette. The sweet, tangy, crunchy & creamy flavors are incredible together! Fix this for a quick lunch or dinner during the spring & summer months while strawberries are in season.

ingredients:

  • 4 ounces of organic spring mix (baby greens like spinach, arugula, red lettuce, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts (raw or toasted)
  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups of hulled & quartered organic strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
For Serving

instructions:

How to cook Strawberry Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the maple balsamic vinaigrette in a glass jar with a lid. Shake several times to dissolve the ingredients & emulsify the oil, then set aside to let the flavors develop. 
  2. (Optional): Place the nuts in a dry skillet on medium heat, set a timer for 5 minutes, check on them every few minutes to stir, then remove from heat. 
  3. Meanwhile,  prep the chicken, strawberries, red onion & goat cheese. For the berries,  let them soak for a few minutes in a bowl filled with water and several glugs of distilled white vinegar. This does a great job of cleaning the strawberries and helping to extend their shelf life. Rinse and dry them well (they shouldn't smell or taste like vinegar) before hulling & slicing.
  4. Assemble the salad by layering the greens onto two large plates or shallow bowls (or multiple small plates for side salads), and top the greens with walnuts, chicken (omit for side salads), red onion, goat cheese,  sliced strawberries, and a few sprinkles of cracked black pepper (optional). 
  5. When you're ready to eat, either drizzle the tops of the salads with balsamic vinaigrette, toss the salad in a large bowl with the dressing, or serve the balsamic vinaigrette on the side for folks to add themselves. 

NOTES:

If you're making this strawberry salad in advance, keep the dressing and salad ingredients separate and store both (tightly covered) in the fridge until mealtime. For meal prep tips, see the post above.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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An easy strawberry salad made with mixed greens, goat cheese, walnuts, and shredded rotisserie chicken, then topped with an addicting maple balsamic vinaigrette. The sweet, tangy, crunchy & creamy flavors are incredible together! Fix this for a quick lunch or dinner during the spring & summer months while strawberries are in season.

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