There are salads that you eat on the side, maybe just some greens tossed with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. And then there are salads that are the main event, loaded salads that are robust enough to be a meal and satisfying enough that you won’t find yourself wandering around the kitchen for something to eat an hour later. This recipe is the latter, a dinner salad that’s so easy, quick, and delicious, you’ll want to make it again and again.
Start with chicken, add fresh fruit, veggies, and some (optional) assertive cheese and you’ve got a dinner salad that fires on all cylinders. It’s full of nutrient-dense foods and jam-packed with fruity, savory, earthy, and refreshing flavors and textures. It’s also nice enough to serve for company, but simple enough for a weeknight meal.
This is the kind of dinner we like to make, over and over again. Make it once or twice, commit it (mostly) to memory, and then riff on it. Here are a few ideas.
Dinner Salad Variations (to Take or Leave)
1. Mix up your protein.
Don’t love chicken breasts? Use chicken thighs instead; we find them to be juicier, and they’re usually more economical, too. Or, instead of pan-frying your chicken, why not grill it for extra flavor? Salmon would also work well here, or even steak.
2. Change your cheese.
Don’t like blue cheese because it gives you headaches or it’s just too stinky? Try another creamy, assertive cheese, such as goat or feta.
3. Try another green.
Arugula not your fave salad green? That’s a-ok. It can get pretty peppery, especially if you’re buying it at the farmers’ market in the high heat of summer. If you can find sorrel, which has a lemony taste, try that. Baby spinach is probably the easiest and most accessible substitute. And the sweetest.
4. Go nuts!
Out of almonds? Try walnuts or pecans, also lightly toasted in a dry pan, and then let them cool. Slice them and toss them in with everything else.
Arugula Salad with Chicken and Blueberries
PREP TIME00 min
COOK TIME00 min
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
Fine sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1 medium shallot, minced
2 teaspoons raw honey
12 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
1 1/2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, optional
1/2 cup raw almonds, sliced and toasted
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and cook until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest, covered loosely with foil, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the vinegar, shallot, honey, and the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil.
In a large bowl, combine the arugula, blueberries, and optional cheese with the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the salad on plates or a platter. Slice the chicken and arrange it on the salad. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve.