During the week, there are few things that are more of a favorite staple lunch than our chopped chicken salad. It has tons of great flavors, textures, and enough substance to fill you up for hours. We start by chopping the lettuce. Romaine heads are perfect and add lots of crunch to your salad. Shred the lettuce finely, and wash thoroughly. We like to put it through a salad spinner to make sure the lettuce is very dry. Wet lettuce won’t hold on to your vinaigrette dressing, so spin it once, dump out the water, and spin it a second time. This way you’ll have perfectly dry and clean lettuce every time! If you don’t already have a salad spinner this OXO Good Grips Green Salad Spinner is amazingly simple to use.
Once the lettuce is ready, we prep the tomatoes. Slice them in half, and pull out the seeds. Then you can dice them up into small cubes. Next, take your kalamata olives, and slice them, about 3 slices per olive. Lastly, slice up your sun dried tomatoes into thin strips. If the tomatoes are dried, and not packed in oil, let them soak in some hot water for 20 minutes to soften up before using. Our last vegetable prep is a handfull of fresh basil. Layer a bunch of leaves on top of each other and roll them up tightly. Then cut across the roll to make very thin ribbons. This is called a chiffonade of basil, and it’s perfect for topping salad and anything else you want fresh basil sprinkled on.
With all our vegetable prep done, we move on to the grilled chicken. We love using our Lodge Cast-Iron Grill Pan for all of our quick grilling indoors. Get the pan hot by putting it on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Season the chicken breast liberally on both sides with salt, pepper, garlic powder, some dried basil and oregano. Then, grill the chicken, about 6 minutes per side. After the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and wrap it in foil for 5 minutes. This lets the meat rest and will yield a more moist and juicy piece of chicken when you cut into it. After resting, cut the chicken up into cubes.
Plating for this salad couldn’t be easier. For lunch we just put everything into a bowl, with a cup of dressing on the side to toss it all before eating. If you’re making it to display, start with a base of the shredded lettuce. Then add the fresh and sun dried tomaotoes. Next, sprinkle the olives followed by the grilled chicken. Lastly top with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.
Right before serving you can spoon over the simple red-wine vinaigarette. It’s ¼ cup of each red-wine vinegar and olive oil, seasoned well with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, sage, and sweetened with a couple drops of honey. Whisk all the ingredients together, or shake them in a container, and spoon over your salad.
- 2 heads of Romaine Lettuce, Chopped
- 1 Boneless-skinless Chicken breast
- 2 Tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 handfull Shredded Mozzarella
- ¼ cup pitted Kalamata Olives, sliced
- ¼ cup Sun dried tomatoes, sliced into strips
- 1 handfull fresh Basil, Chiffonade
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- ¼ cup Red Wine vinegar
- 2 Teaspoons honey or sugar
- salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried herbs to taste (basil, oregano, sage are all good here)
Whisk together before serving