Thursday, November 29, 2012

Autumn Chopped Salad

This salad has quickly become a favorite in our house.  I'm not sure if it's the list of ingredients that comes on this salad or if it's the vinaigrette that makes is so good, or maybe it's a combination of both.  Whatever it is, I'm glad I made it. 

It is no surprise that I love salads.  Even more, I love salads with fruit on them.  I guess it's the whole sweet and savory thing that reals me in.  This particular salad has it all; sweet, salty, smokey and tangy.  I love it.  This salad is the epitomy of easy and delicious.  What more coud you want in a meal, especially one for the weeknight? 
The combination of apples, cranberries, and almonds just screams fall to me.  Take all of those things and sprinkle them on top of a bed of baby spinach and you have the perfect salald that is not only quick and healthy but delicious too.  To take it one step further and to make it that much more filling, top it with a warm, pan seared chicken breast.  Then to top it all off and bring all the flavors together it's drizzled with a fresh apple cider vinagrette that is truly out of this world! 

This salad was amazing, filling and incredibly simple to put together.  It's perfect for a quick meal yet fitting for entertaining guests, as well.   

Autumn Chopped Salad

For the salad-
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 Cups loosely packed baby spinach
1 Honeycrisp apple
1/3 Cup dried cranberries
1/3 Cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/3 Cup smoked blue cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the apple cider vinaigrette-
1 Shallot (or 1/4 cup sweet white onion) roughly chopped
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp apple cider (or apple juice)
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbsp honey
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh cracked black pepper and salt, to taste


Place a large saute pan over medium heat.  Slightly pound chicken until it's 1/2 inch in thickness.  Season chicken, on both sides, with salt and pepper.  Drizzle olive oil in the hot pan then place chicken in the pan.  Cook chicken on one side for about 5-6 minutes, until golden brown.  Flip chicken over and cook an additional 6-8 minutes, until golden brown and cooked thoroughly.  Remove from pan, place on plate and tent with foil.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette.  Combine shallot, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, mustard, lemon juice and honey in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine and to mince the shallot.  With food processor running, slowly stream in olive oil and continue to process until mixture is combined.  Taste, adjust seasonings and set aside.

To assemble-
Cut the apple in half and thinly slice.  Thickly slice the chicken breasts, on a biased.  Place 2 cups baby spinach on 2 plates.  Divide the apples, cranberries, almonds and blue cheese evenly between the two plates.  Place chicken on top of each salad.  Pulse the vinaigrette once more to combine all ingredients, if they separated.  Drizzle over the salad.


Recipe source: A Lynsey Original 


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