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I finally found it.
This is my salad.
For nearly 22 years, I have thrown greens into a bowl, mixed up a seemingly-promising dressing, and tried to fall in love…but to no avail.
Until now, aside from my obsession with this salad several years go, I never had my salad - a salad that I just could not get enough of, and one that I would actually choose over pasta (okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but this is as close as greens can get).
On a cold December evening, instead of turning to my new favorite pizza recipe, I threw this salad together and - hurrah!
I think it’s the combination of the warm chicken atop the crisp greens that gets me.
I’ve never been a fan of cold meals. Which also explains my ambivalence to subs and my inability to jump on the smoothie bowl wagon.
When I sit down to a meal, I want something warm and comforting, and this salad is both.
It’s also incredibly versatile.
I change out the fruit and nuts depending on what I have on hand, but I always keep the sweet and tangy dressing my constant.
Apples are probably my favorite salad accessory. I pick up a few every week reserved especially for sprinkling over greens.
Have you discovered Envy apples yet? They are the new and improved Honey Crisp in our home and I’m kind of obsessed with their cheery golden hue.
While I switch out the components for variety, I try to stick to a pattern.
Two fruits. My current favorites being pomegranate arils and chopped apples.
Chopped nuts. While we like walnuts, I prefer them saved for brownies so pecans are my go-to here.
Finely grated cheese. Parmesan is a must, and please be generous. I use my microplane to grate the cheese super fine.
Protein. While a leftover N.Y. strip is a delicious addition, chicken breasts, simply cooked and sliced thinly, are our favorite.
A sweet and tangy honey lemon dressing is the blending factor for the separate components.
We are having this salad for dinner at least once a week right now. My infatuation with it has lasted over a month, which is pretty good considering that I get bored with most things after about thirty-six hours.
This, is my salad, let it be yours too. Who needs a juice cleanse when you can join this bandwagon and still have cheese?
Best of both worlds, I'd say.
Weeknight Winter Salad
for the dressing
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I like a light, fruity oil for this dressing)
In a small bowl or jar, use a fork to whisk the lemon juice into the honey. Stir in balsamic, salt, pepper, and parmesan.
Slowly whisk in olive oil, until the dressing is homogenous.
for the chicken
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt & black pepper
Pat chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and season liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in a medium, nonstick frying pan over medium heat.
When the oil begins to shimmer, add chicken. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until the breasts are crisp and the internal temperature reads 160*-165 degrees.
Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing thinly.
*I try to take my chicken off at 160 degrees because carry-over heat takes care of the extra five degrees. However, you should always stick to your comfort zone and buy your meat from a reliable supplier.
add-ins & assembly
- 4 cups spring greens
- 1/2 apple, cut into cubes (go for crisp apples like honey crisp, envy, or pink lady)
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
Divide prepared dressing between two bowls. Place two cups of greens in each bowl and top with chopped apples, pomegranate, pecans, and warm, sliced chicken. Toss to combine and sprinkle with parmesan. Enjoy!