This delicious grilled chicken salad with a homemade strawberry vinaigrette is the ultimate summer salad as the weather warms up. Albertsons® sponsors this recipe, but all opinions are my own.
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It’s time to fire up the barbecue! I partnered with Albertsons® to create a healthy chicken salad using their fresh, seasonal produce for this recipe. If you’re looking for more ideas, check out their Summer Starts Here content hub. There are easy-to-shop recipes and culinary tips and tricks to make purchases simple. Plus, there are even Virtual Cooking Classes with celebrity chefs that you can sign up for.
Ripe and juicy strawberries are a summertime staple. I always grab them when I’m shopping at the market. To highlight their sweet flavor, I use them as a salad topping and to make a tangy vinaigrette dressing, which comes together in under a minute in the blender. To make it a heartier entree, tender grilled chicken breast complements the crunchy elements like cucumber, pecans, and red onions. Then, everything comes together with a sprinkle of feta cheese for creaminess.
Select boneless, skinless chicken breasts for a quick cooking, lean protein option. My top choice is the exclusive O Organics® chicken from Albertsons®. I keep the seasoning simple with salt, pepper, and a little oil. The olive oil distributes the flavor of the seasonings and provides a protective layer that prevents the chicken from drying out on the barbecue. If desired, you can use chicken thighs, but just make sure to trim off the excess fat.
Grill the chicken
To achieve golden brown sear marks on the chicken, preheat the grill. I use medium-high heat, between 400 to 450ºF (204 to 232ºC). Clean and lightly grease the grill grates to prevent sticking. Once you add the meat, I like to give it a light press to ensure a better contact with the grates.
Resist the temptation to move the meat. Let the flavorful crust form, then flip once you see the lines appear. It will take about 5 to 7 minutes per side. Target an internal temperature of 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC) in the thickest part. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes while preparing the rest of the salad to let the juices redistribute. Slice the meat about ¼-inch thick against the grain for the most tender bites.
Make the dressing
I’ve taken inspiration from my classic balsamic vinaigrette and added fresh strawberries to the mixture. The key is to pick ripe berries to have the right balance of sweetness with a hint of acidity. Frozen defrosted strawberries should be used if the berries are not at their peak.
I use a blender to break down the fruit into a super smooth mixture quickly. Balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard add tanginess, while the shallots provide a delicate onion and garlic taste. Honey balances the sour notes, which can be adjusted once you taste the dressing. Depending on the fruit’s ripeness, you may want it a little more sweetener. Olive oil is slowly drizzled in while the blender is running to create a creamy, emulsified dressing.
I use crisp and refreshing romaine lettuce as the leafy green for this summer salad. My top pick is Albertsons®’ exclusive O Organics® romaine hearts. The outer leaves have already been removed, making prep faster. Slice them into ¾-inch pieces and give them a good rinse and dry. Other types of lettuce or leafy greens can be used, like spring mix or baby spinach.
Add salad toppings
When recipe developing, I like to browse the aisles at Albertsons® to look for ingredients that will add interesting textures. I chose a mix of fresh produce, cheese, and nuts for crunch and creaminess for this recipe-diced English cucumber, sliced avocado, red onion (you can pickle them), strawberries, pecans(try them candied), and Primo Taglio® feta cheese crumbles.
Serve this with
Yes! Trim off the excess fat so that the dish isn’t greasy. Grill until fully cooked, as it may take a few more minutes for dark meat.
Yes! You can use a stovetop grill pan or any type of skillet. Preheat the pan over medium heat and grease the surface to prevent sticking. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes per side.
For the smoothest, and thickest vinaigrette, use a blender or food processor to make the dressing. The agitation level helps break down the fruit and shallots until they puree for a velvety consistency. The high-speed blades break the oil into tiny droplets for a more stable emulsion.
Strawberries help to thicken the dressing
Strawberries not only add a sweet berry flavor to the vinaigrette it also helps to add additional viscosity. The cell walls of the fruit contain pectin for structure, which is released when pureed in the blender. When combined with the sugars in fructose and honey, and the acid in the balsamic vinegar, you’ll notice the dressing gets thicker as it sits for a few minutes, similar to making a berry compote sauce.
Grilled Chicken & Strawberry Salad
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, [O Organics® brand]
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- 8 cups romaine hearts, sliced ¾” thick [O Organics® brand]
- 1 cup English cucumber, ½” diced
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 medium avocado, ¼” thick slices
- ⅓ cup feta cheese crumbles, [Primo Taglio® brand]
- ⅓ cup pecans
- ¼ cup sliced red onion, ⅛” thick slices
- Season the Chicken – Evenly season both sides of each chicken breast with salt and pepper. Drizzle a ½ teaspoon of olive oil on both sides, rubbing onto the surface to evenly coat.
- Grill the Chicken – Preheat the grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Oil the grill grate or pan. Place the chicken on the grill and close the lid if using a barbecue. Cook until the internal temperature reaches between 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
- Slice the Chicken – Rest the chicken for 10 minutes. Cut into ¼-inch thick slices against the grain. Set aside.
- Make the Dressing – In a blender, add sliced strawberries, balsamic vinegar, water, shallots, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Blend on high speed until smooth, about 10 seconds. With the blender running on medium-low speed, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until thickened—season with salt, pepper, and honey to taste.
- Assemble the Salad – In a large serving bowl, add romaine, cucumber, strawberries, avocado, feta cheese, pecans, and red onion. Top with the sliced chicken.
- To Serve – Drizzle some dressing on top of the salad or serve on the side.
- Recipe Yield: About 10 cups salad and 1 ⅓ cups dressing.
- Serving Size: About 1 ¼ cup salad plus 3 tablespoons salad dressing.
- Storing: Store salad in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Dressing can be prepared 3 days in advance.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Albertsons®.
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