Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Grilled Chicken Salads with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Recipe updated May 2015

There’s so much more to do with fresh fruit in the kitchen than filling pies and topping cereal. Sauces, salsas, and salads come to mind. The simple vinaigrette in this recipe is made with fresh strawberries complemented by the sweetness of a little maple syrup and balanced with tangy-sweet balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. It’s easy, fresh, and loaded with flavor.

Lean, grilled chicken breast keeps the salad light and deliciously smoky, while crunchy fresh vegetables and nuts along with tart, chewy dried cranberries round out this wholesome dinner salad that’s as satisfying as it is refreshing.

Tip: The easiest way to toast the cashews (or any nut) is in a hot, dry skillet. It takes only a couple minutes, so keep an eye on them and shake the pan several times to prevent scorching. Allow them to cool completely before tossing with the other salad ingredients.

Toast the nuts in a dry skillet
Serves 4


For the Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
For the Salads
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, cut lengthwise in half (including stalk end)
  • olive oil, for rubbing
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 8-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 1 inch in thickest part
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow wax or green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted cashews
Cut Romaine
Salad Ingredients

For the Vinaigrette
  1. Combine the strawberries, maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, and shallot in a small food processor.
  2. Pulse until the berries and shallot are pulverized to a thin, liquid consistency. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Ready to Process 
Processed Vinaigrette
Strawberry Vinaigrette
For the Salads
  1. Light a grill for medium heat. 
  2. Rub the cut sides of the romaine with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until just beginning to char, 1 minute or less. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
Ready to Grill 
Romaine Beginning to Char 
Charred Romaine 
Coarsely Chopped Romaine
  1. Rub the chicken breasts with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until just cooked through, 5-6 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
  2. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Slice across the grain into bite-sized strips.
  3. Place the lettuce, pepper, celery, cranberries, and cashews in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss lightly to coat. 
Chicken Beginning to Grill 
Grilled Chicken
Sliced Chicken 
Salad Mixture
Divide the salad among 4 plates and divide the chicken on top of each. Spoon the remainder of the vinaigrette over all and serve.

Grilled Chicken Salads with Strawberry Vinaigrette

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