I’ve been craving fresh vegetables. Longing for them, really. I swear I come out of winter with withdrawals for good, healthy food like spinach, carrots, radish and kale. It’s so satisfying to the soul (and to the stomach) to be able to prepare meals with food grown right from your own soil.
Salads are a big part of our warm season meal prep. Sometimes we use them as a side dish, and sometimes they’re the main dish. There’s so many ways to prepare a salad, and I think we often take them for granted. I’m not talking about just throwing some bagged lettuce in a bowl and smothering it with ranch dressing. That’s just gross.
Get creative! And get fresh!
Here’s a simple salad dish that I think you’ll enjoy. It’s satisfying, delicious and full of nutrition. The main ingredients are kale, spinach, butterhead lettuce and grilled chicken. I’ve thrown in a few other things to compliment the flavor, and then topped off with Vidalia onion dressing.
The scoop on leafy vegetables
Pick your kale and spinach when they’re baby sized. The smaller leaves will be tender and packed with sweet flavor. Kale especially tends to get a little bitter with age, and often gets a bad reputation in general because of the woody texture some of the larger leaves can have. Butterhead lettuce is best when picked young as well, and blends well with both the kale and spinach to create a balanced leafy spring mix.
Chop the kale, spinach and lettuce coarsely and mix together in a large bowl.
Grill the chicken
I like chicken best when its grilled over briquettes. This is another reason I love warm weather (although I’ve been known to bbq in the snow…you gotta do what you gotta do). Grilling over briquettes gives your chicken a nice, rich smoky flavor, which is why I prefer this method to using a gas grill. Believe me, it’s worth the time and energy it takes to heat up the coals.
I used a bold chipolte dry rub on the chicken, and we used chicken tenders for this recipe. Once the briquettes are ready, it takes less than 12 minutes to grill the chicken. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce to each tender, sprinkle with the dry rub and let the chicken cook with the lid on for roughly 6 minutes on each side (should be golden brown). When done, slice diagonally in long strips and set aside.
Adding the other ingredients
Radish – Fresh radish is a great addition to salad. If you don’t like the peppery taste of radish, make sure you pick them young and early in season (before the heat comes on). Slice your radish thinly and add to the kale, spinach and lettuce.
Cherry Tomato – Fresh is best, but outside of summer months we will use organic cherry tomatoes. My favorite are the mixed medley packages, which includes different varieties (yellow pear, red and chocolate) Slice these in half and add to the salad mixture.
Walnuts – Great source of protein and Omega-3 and super good in salad. Chop up coarsely and add to salad mix.
Dried Cranberries – Sweet and delicious! We sprinkle these generously on top!
Vidalia Onion Dressing – One of my favorite salad dressings, especially with spinach. I’d like to make my own one day soon. Add to the salad and toss.
Ready to serve
Serve with bread sticks, grilled potatoes or as a standalone main dish. This will make plenty to serve (and fill) our family of 6.
Kale and Grilled Chicken Salad
- 6 oz Kale
- 6 oz spinach
- 6 oz butterhead lettuce
- 10 tender cut chicken (grilled)
- 12 cherry tomatoes (sliced)
- 12 radish (sliced)
- Handful of walnuts (chopped)
- Handful of dried cranberries
- Vidalia Onion Salad Dressing