Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans & Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans and Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans & Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Vegetarian Substitutes

Sweet, tart, savory, tangy, earthy, it’s all in there, and good for you too. The fig balsamic dressing will knock your socks off – so rich and creamy it’s hard to believe there’s only a tablespoon of oil in the whole batch! When you combine it with the other textures and flavors in this eye-catching composed salad, it’s really worth the steps it takes to get the finished dish on the plate. And truly, each step is easy and quick. If you’re pressed for time or like to prep things in advance, this is a great recipe to have on hand. Grilled chicken breast keeps for days in the fridge, as does the dressing and the spiced nuts when stored in airtight containers. Another time saver – buy crumbled goat cheese so that when you’re ready to serve you can put it all together in a snap.   ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 boneless skinless chicken breast – sliced into 2 cutlets
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
4-5 cups baby spinach leaves

1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons warm water
1/4 teaspoon each sea salt & ground black pepper

1 dried turkish fig, chopped into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water
sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Chicken: Brush the chicken cutlets lightly with olive oil, season with salt & pepper and grill just until cooked throughout. Cool and slice on the diagonal into thin slices.

Pecans: In a small bowl stir together the honey, water, salt & pepper. Toss the nuts well to coat in the mixture and toast in a 300F oven for just a few minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool. Time saver – use parchment paper on the baking sheet to make cleanup a non-issue.

Dressing: Put the chopped fig, balsamic and red wine vinegars, honey or agave nectar and water into the blender, cover and blend until nicely emusified. Add more water if you want it thinner. Season to taste with sea salt & plenty of fresh ground pepper and blend again.

Compose the salad: Arrange a bed of spinach leaves on 2 plates, top artfully with the chicken slices, crumbled goat cheese and spiced pecans. Serve the dressing on the side so each person can drizzle as much as they like.

Serving Suggestions:

Warm or toasted whole grain bread makes a nice accompaniment. If you’re really hungry, add a cup of soup too – carrot ginger, butternut squash, or mushroom soup would be good choices.

Substitutions:

Try ripe pear slices in place of the chicken breast, it’s fantastic!

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