Sometimes you just need a good chicken salad and this is it.
Baby Lady and I really like salads. More often than not, however, the salads are typically green salads with a protein served on top with an accompanying vinaigrette. Periodically, we do something different but not often. We’ve done shrimp and mango tropical salad, shrimp salad with squash ribbons, watermelon and shrimp salad and a smoked turkey salad, not to mention a few tater salads, and a veggie salad or two. Oddly enough, we have never posted a chicken salad. Now, I’m not talking about a mayonnaise based chicken salad which are great on sandwiches and stuffed in tomatoes. I’m talking about a chicken salad you can really sink your teeth into. One full of soft, moist, flavorful strips of chicken with a few veggies, some nuts and a dressing that is absolutely delicious. So, this recipe is the result of our dearth of protein salads, chicken salad in particular. Be warned, however, this recipe does take a while to prep and is best suited for the weekends when you have some time. Regardless, it is definitely worth the time and the little effort it requires. The result is a sweet but savory chicken salad with a little tang from the vinaigrette, the freshness of the bell peppers and crunchiness from the toasted walnuts. Give this a try. I assure you it won’t disappoint.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
- 1 cup toasted walnuts pieces
- 1 red pear, sliced into 3/4 inch slices
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1-1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup walnut oil
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Tbsp fresh basil chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 tsp sea salt
First things first, add the brown sugar,
and pineapple juice to a mixing bowl.
Whisk together to dissolve the brown sugar and incorporate all of the favors.
Put the chicken breasts in a sealable plastic bag or baking dish and pour the marinade over the chicken.
Seal the plastic bag or cover the chicken and marinate the chicken overnight in fridge.
While the chicken is marinating, add the parsley,
and garlic to a blender.
Blend on a medium high speed to puree and incorporate all of the ingredients. You can puree on the highest setting but I like a little texture in this type of vinaigrette.
Put in a jar, place in the refrigerator and allow flavors to meld overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place chicken breasts in a proper baking dish along with the marinade.
Place in oven and bake chicken for 30 minutes or until done.
Remove chicken from oven and allow to cool. When cool, slice chicken into strips and put in bowl along with the leftover cooled juices from the pan – strain the juices first.
Add the sliced pear
the red & yellow bell peppers
and toasted walnut pieces.
Dress with the vinaigrette.
Cover and refrigerate until cold, roughly 1 -2 hours. Serve & enjoy!
NOTES: The vinaigrette makes roughly 3 cups so there will be leftovers but this vinaigrette is perfect with simple garden salads, chicken salads, seafood salads, pork salads, you name it. It is a wonderful dressing and really deserves a post of its own but it is part of this recipe because it is truly perfect with this chicken salad.
Also, this salad is enough to feed 6 – 8 people depending upon whether it’s a lunch or a dinner. Inasmuch as there are only the 2 of us, it lasted several days and the flavors really developed after we had this salad for dinner and it sat in the fridge overnight to more fully meld and develop the flavors.