Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad with Spicy Pineapple Dressing

Salads have to be one of my favorite foods.  First, and foremost, they are delicious.  They are light, healthy and can be topped and adorned to fit any taste.  Even the tastes of the pickiest eaters.  They can even quench the hunger of those "meat and potatoes" guys, aka my husband.  Although, I can have a salad filled with plenty of vegetables, and sometimes, fruit, Spencer needs a little more heartiness to bed of veggies.  So to give him the same healthy benefits of a salad with a little more heartiness, we'll typically add a grilled chicken breast. 
We have been on quite the salad kick lately, and each salad has been out of this world.  Now that I am incorporating more salads in our weekly menu, I and finding more and more recipes that are an intruiging mixture of flavor combination and textures.  My archive of salad recipes is rapidly growing and I now have a plethora of recipes I can't wait to try.  This recipe is one of the first recipes I came across that really wowed me.  Chunks of fresh fruit and vegetables, which is right of my alley, topped with a seasoned, grilled chicken breast which is perfect for Spencer.

This salad starts out with chicken that is flattened to desired thinness; seasoned and then grilled to perfection.  The dressing is a combination of fresh pineapple, pepper, garlic, orange juice and vinegar and is blended to create a beautifully vibrant and flavorful dressing.  This dressing hits all notes; sweet, spicy, tangy and savory.  The vegetables and remaining pineapple are given a light toss in this delicious dressing to make sure every ingredient is evenly coated.  Once plated the chicken is then placed on a bed of lettuce and given an additional drizzle of the perfectly sweet and spicy dressing.  This salad has something for everyone and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  This salad is perfect for utilizing all the fresh fruits and vegetables summer has to offer.  It's also perfect for a hot, summer day.  Plus, all the vibrant colors make for one beautifully plated meal! 
Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad with Spicy Pineapple Dressing

1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper
1 1/4 Cups fresh pineapple, cubed (about 8 oz) and divided
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 Tbsp orange juice
4 Tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 Serrano pepper, seeded and diced
1 Large garlic clove, minced
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 Cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 Cup sliced red onion, thinly sliced
1 (5oz) package baby spinach (about 8 cups)
Non-stick cooking spray


Preheat grill pan over medium heat.  Place chicken between 2 pieces plastic wrap and lightly pound with a meat tenderizer or heavy pan.  Season chicken with salt, pepper and chili powder.  Spray heated grill pan with non-stick cooking spray, place chicken on the hot pan.  Cook chicken 3-5 minutes per side, until cooked through.  Once thoroughly cooked, set aside.

Combine half of the pineapple, cilantro, orange juice, cider vinegar, serrano pepper, and garlic in a blender or food processor.  Pulse until mixture is combined and smooth.  With blender, or food processor, on slowly stream in the olive oil until combined and blended.

Cut, diagonally, across the grain into thin pieces.  Place the remaining pineapple, red onion, bell pepper, and spinach in a large bowl.  Drizzle with 3/4 cup of the dressing and toss to coat.  Divide evenly among 4 plates, top with equal amounts of sliced chicken.  Drizzle the salad evenly with the remaining dressing.

Recipe source: slightly adapted from Cooking Light, July 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The colors in this salad are so beautiful, Lynsey! I just love fruit in salads and this dressing sounds incredible. And it's Cooking Light? Bonus!

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