Crispy Chicken Salad with Fresh Mixed Berry Vinaigrette.
A hearty summer salad packed with just about everything from juicy berries and crunchy almonds to creamy blue cheese and crispy baked chicken. Finished off with homemade sweet ‘n tangy mixed berry vinaigrette!
First. What did you do this weekend? I celebrated my sister-in-law’s graduation from her masters program, dropped off my camera and lenses to be cleaned and detailed (oh, is that dried up frosting in the teeny tiny crevices of my canon? so embarrassing.), ran a 5K— 4th girl to finish!– followed by a wine tasting, and decided 5Ks followed by wine tastings are the only types of races I want to run going forward in life.
In other news, I made summer-y salad. Don’t get too excited!
But really, you should. I don’t post too many salads on my blog because, well, next to crumb cake and cheesecake… it’s salad. Whoomp whoomp. But this is the real deal. A real, satisfying, summertime meal packed with lean, green machines like spinach and edamame. Juicy berries for a little sweetness, breaded and baked crispy chicken, almonds for crunch, blue cheese crumbles of creaminess, and the freshest vinaigrette around.
This recipe is totally random, but I couldn’t NOT share this meal with you.
This is the salad for people who typically get bored by salads. It has EVERYTHING!
I’ll start with the dressing. It’s completely homemade, free from any of the weird unrecognizable stuff in bottled dressings. In fact, it’s made from convenient simple ingredients like fresh berries, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, and dijon mustard. The honey and dijon mustard flavors = perfection with that crispy chicken!
I love pairing sweet berries with the tart, complex flavor of balsamic vinegar. (Throw blue cheese into the mix and my knees are weak.) Fruity vinaigrettes are my favorite dressings and I was originally only going to throw raspberries into the mix but those vibrant strawberries were begging to be used up. The dressing is sweet, zesty, and easily one of the highlights of the entire salad. Plus, it’s hot pink.
Crispy chicken rounds out the bowl. It’s baked, not fried. I breaded some chicken the same way I make my honey BBQ chicken fingers. Only I left out the honey BBQ marinade and added more flavor in the breading. The chicken is then baked until the coating is toasty and the chicken is juicy inside. Perfect addition to a salad.
I like the chicken to be warm when topped on the salad. So so so good.
The best part! This salad is filling. For me, it’s rare to find a dinner-sized salad that fills me up longer than 5 seconds. Well, this is a hearty salad that can stand its own. Something about the term “man-approved” irks me, but Kevin actually really enjoyed this. I don’t know the last time I made a salad and he didn’t cook up something on the side because “it’s just salad.” So yes. This salad is man approved. Ugh you know what I mean.
Crispy, fruity, homemade, satisfying, healthy weeknight meal. Let’s eat!
Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. ♥
PS: Since there are a couple homemade components to the recipe, I like to prep the chicken and dressing ahead of time. See my make ahead tip!
Crispy Chicken Salad with Fresh Mixed Berry Vinaigrette
A hearty summer salad packed with just about everything from juicy berries and crunchy almonds to creamy blue cheese and crispy baked chicken. Finished off with homemade sweet 'n tangy mixed berry vinaigrette.
Yield: serves 4, 2 if you're very hungry!
Mixed Berry Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
Crispy Baked Chicken
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup Panko1
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
- 6 cups spinach or favorite greens
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 3/4 cup shelled edamame2
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles (gorgonzola or goat cheese work too!)
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, such as Diamond of California
- Make the vinaigrette: Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend on high until fully combined and the dressing is smooth. Pour into a glass jar or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the chicken: Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or coat heavily with nonstick spray. Combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a shallow dish. Beat eggs in another shallow dish. Pour Panko breadcrumbs into a third shallow dish. Coat each chicken strip in flour, shaking off any excess. Then, dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then generously roll in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess. Add more Panko to the dish if you are running low. Place the chicken strips on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the chicken lightly with olive oil or spray lightly with nonstick spray. This helps "seal" the coating. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each piece over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the centers are cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Baking times may vary, just make sure yours are cooked through. If you like them more brown, bake longer. Slice the warm chicken.
- Make the salad: Place the spinach, strawberries, raspberries, and edamame in a large bowl. Top with blue cheese, almonds, and warm chicken. If there is too much chicken for the salad, store extras using the make ahead instructions below. Drizzle with salad dressing and serve. Leftover salad keeps well for a day or two in the refrigerator.
- Make ahead tip: The vinaigrette can be prepared up to 3 days in advance. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. Its flavor really heightens after a few hours! The chicken can also be prepared ahead of time, though it is crispiest right from the oven. Store prepared chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days, then warm in a 300°F (149°C) oven until crisp. Or freeze the prepared chicken for up to 2 months. Bake frozen for about 18 minutes (flipping once) in a 300°F (149°C) oven.
- Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for fried or baked foods. It's available in major grocery stores near the stuffing. Panko is heavily preferred opposed to regular bread crumbs because they tend to stay crispier longer. You can buy seasoned or unseasoned and then add more/less seasonings to your breading if preferred. I use unseasoned.
- Edamame is a little random in this salad, but I loved it paired with the berries and blue cheese and I think you will too! You can try sliced cucumber, avocado, or peppers instead.
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Another favorite: Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad
I’m working with Diamond of California to bring you today’s recipe.