Monday, April 29, 2013

Summer Chicken Salad

You guys.

You guys, you guys, you guys!

I am so excited to share this salad with you!

This salad is my idea of salad perfection. Salad Nirvana, if you will. (And I will.)

It comes from Cafe Zupas, as restaurant chain in Utah. We used to go often, as there was a location not too far from my office back in the day. This was my standard order. (But everything there is great -- if you get a chance you should go!) But since there's no Cafe Zupas out where we live now, I am delighted to be able to recreate this in the comfort of my own kitchen.

If you know me well, you can be no stranger to the fact that salads are not usually my cup of tea. I'll endure them, but given the choice I'll usually go a different direction. Not so with this salad. I could eat this every day and be a pretty happy camper.

It's a sweet salad -- sweet berries, sweet grapes, slightly sweet cashews, all covered in a sweet, fresh strawberry vinaigrette. But it's also well balanced, somehow. Springtime in a bowl. We served ourselves gigantic helpings with a side of toothsome bread to sop up any vinaigrette lingering at the bottom of the plate, and ate until we were stuffed full!

At least half the charm is the incredible dressing. So perfectly tangy and sweet. It uses fresh strawberries and red wine vinegar -- it is amazing. You can easily double the recipe and make enough to have on hand all the time, but even with the measurements I've included, you'll, happily, have some to spare. I have great plans for the remainder still stashed in my fridge.

But there's no need to take my word for it when you can make it yourself so easily!

And just in case you need an excuse, I hear it's "National Salad Day" on Wednesday, kicking off "National Salad Month" the entire month of May. So make this for "Dole National Salad Day", or any day, really.

Summer Chicken Salad
from Cafe Zupas


for the salad
1 bag salad mix of your choice, or two heads lettuce, washed and cut into bite-size pieces -- we used one head romaine and one head butter lettuce, but anything fresh and crisp will do. Spinach would be great in this!
1 1/2 c. sliced strawberries
1 c. red grapes, sliced in half
1 c. cubed cooked chicken
1/4 c. finely chopped cashews

for the vinaigrette
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. canola or other mild-tasting oil
2 strawberries, sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar

In a large bowl, toss together salad greens. Top with strawberries, grapes, and chicken. Sprinkle over cashews. (If desired, you can also layer the strawberries, grapes, and chicken with the lettuce, so things are a bit more evenly distributed, but it's prettier if they sit on top.)
For dressing, combine all ingredient in a blender or food processor until well mixed and emulsified. Pour into vessel of your choice, and serve alongside the salad.

Serves 4, generously

1 comment :

  1. Yum the vinaigrette sounds divine! Can;t wait to try this :)


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