- Brianna Rhodes, RD, CD
Chicken Nuts & Berries Salad
If you are loving all the fresh berries in season right now, this is a perfect meal for you. Fresh, flavorful, colorful and cool, this salad is delicious. Chicken, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and pecans on a bed of chopped spinach and romaine, drizzled with a simple Red Wine Vinaigrette. This meal screams summer!
Summer fruit season is wonderful! I’m in a produce group and we have had loads of incredible strawberries and blueberries lately. Plus I happen to have a beautiful raspberry forest in my backyard. I often put them in yogurt or eat them over cottage cheese, but I’m always looking for new ways to use them.
This recipe is great because it’s simple. This is the kind of meal you can throw together at the last minute if you forgot to think about dinner before dinner time. You can also save time by pre-cooking the chicken and mixing the dressing ahead of time too.
Typical “Nuts & Berries” type salads use candied nuts. While this is tasty, I decided to use plain pecans. This has a few benefits—
Candied nuts are a little tricky, as melting sugar requires really hot heat. One tip—never use a plastic spoon! It’s a rooky mistake, but the first time I attempted candied pecans, I thought they turned out great, until I realized that half my plastic spoon was gone!
Sugar is a dominating flavor. Pretty much it’s all you taste. Leaving the pecans plain allows you to taste the rich buttery flavor of the nuts and the natural sweetness of the berries—no flavor competition.
As for the vinaigrette, this is a modification of a family recipe. I reduced the total volume—I hate making homemade dressing and not being able to use it all up before it goes bad in the fridge. This is a small batch good for about 10 servings. I also reduced the sugar—again this allows the natural flavors to come out.
I didn’t get pictures of my kids plates this time, but I serve them chicken, berries and lettuce greens separate. They love it this way. I also let them choose their own dressing. Kids love ranch of course, but I invited them to try the pink dressing and they actually thought it was pretty good.
This is a fairly light meal, so if you need a little more, I recommend adding some cottage cheese. It adds protein and goes great with the berries. You can either add it right on top of the salad or on the side.
1 ½ cups chopped romaine
1 cup chopped spinach
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup raspberries
¼ cup pecans
3 ½ oz chicken
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
Recipe Used in this meal:
Chicken Nuts & Berries Salad
Serving size: 1 salad
Servings per Recipe: 4
1 lb chicken breast
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
4 cups chopped baby spinach
1 lb strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup pecans
¼ cup Red onion
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp salt
¼ cup Red Wine Vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Slice and cook the chicken in a large pan on the stovetop. Salt and pepper to taste.
Wash salad greens and berries. Coarsely chop the greens. Core the strawberries and quarter into bite-size pieces.
To make the dressing, coarsely chop the red onion. Place all ingredients into a high power blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Divide greens, berries, chicken and nuts between 4 plates. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of dressing.
Nutrition Facts Label for Chicken Nuts & Berries Salad with Dressing:
Nutrition Facts Label for Red Wine Vinaigrette: