My yard is covered in leaves and last night it got dark before 8 p.m. for the first time in months, but I refuse to accept that we’re in the tail end of summer. It’s 90 degrees outside and the berries are still fresh and delicious, so I’m not letting go of this season until I absolutely have to. If you’re also in denial about the impending fall season, check out this fresh, summery chicken salad with strawberries.
Start with the vinaigrette. With a lot of salads you make the dressing as the last step, but here you’ll want to do it first, because the salad dressing gives a great flavor to the chicken breasts that will go on top. To make the dressing, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, freshly minced garlic, and a bit of salt and pepper. Taste it to make sure you like it, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Add some of the dressing to a pan, and use that to sauté the chicken breasts on both sides until fully cooked through. The dressing should basically turn into a glaze in the pan as the chicken cooks. Once it’s done, take it off and cut the chicken into cubes or strips for the salad.
To make the salad, combine mesclun salad mix with sliced red onion, diced avocado, chopped walnuts, and sliced strawberries. Then just add the cooked chicken and toss gently to combine. Pour some of the vinaigrette around the sides of the bowl and toss the contents to dress the salad.
If you have feta or goat cheese, the author says they’ll only make this salad better. I’m a person who thinks every salad needs cheese, so I fully encourage the addition of one or both of those. You could even grate some cheddar over the top.
If you want to make this salad in advance, it’s best to prepare the individual components but leave them separate until it’s time to eat. If you mix everything together and dress the salad, the leaves will start to wilt after a couple of hours, so this is best dressed just before eating. But it makes a lovely entrée salad, or a perfect lunch salad. Just pack the dressing in a separate container and apply it when you’re ready to eat, and you’ll have a salad that will make you think summer will be around for another six months.
Get the recipe: Balsamic Strawberry Chicken Salad from A Saucy Kitchen
More Delicious Salad Recipes from Kitchn
- California Taco Salad
- Rotisserie Chicken Panzanella
- How To Make the Best Classic Cobb Salad
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