Summer Berry Salad with Grilled Citrus Garlic Chicken

You guys, it has been the summer of chicken over at my house.  If you ever feel a yearning for some chicken, stop on by, because I can guarantee that we will have some form of chicken in our refrigerator. The chicken obsession started when I was pregnant with Octavian and all I wanted to eat was Costco rotisserie chicken and chocolate cake.  My carnivorous child must have liked what I was giving him in-utero because ever since he could chew, chicken has been his all-time favorite.  

Since we tend to have a lot of the chicken chillin' out in the refrigerator, I've had to get creative in how we eat the stuff.  I've always loved salads, but always failed to create a salad that is filling, delicious and healthy.  The delicious part was easy, but keeping it healthy was impossible.  One night, I was taking stock of what we had in the refrigerator and hoped there was enough to get by without making a trip to the market.

Leftover super citrus and garlic grilled chicken, zucchini, wilted greens, berries and other salad appropriate vegetables.  

Salad it would be.

Now, up until this point, the thought of putting fruit on my salad freaked me out.  But, at the moment, it sounded like a pretty good idea.  I know, I know, there is nothing unusual or new about throwing some fruit in a salad.  But, to me, it forever changed the way I look at salads. This simple, sweet addition has replaced my need for loads of cheese or creamy dressing every time I feel like eating a salad.  

Since we also needed to get rid of the zucchini, I chopped that up into cubes, warmed it up, and tossed it on top.  The warm zucchini with the cold berries, so good.  After that, I just threw on whatever else we had on hand- grape tomatoes, cold cucumber, slivered carrots, the leftover chicken and slivered almonds.  I paired my salad with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette and my husband paired his with his favorite miso tahini dressing.  

And here started my berry chicken salad obsession.  Octavian happily eats his chicken while throwing his zucchini on the floor, and Aaron and I enjoy super healthy salads.  Leftovers never go to waste (blasphemy in our house) and eating chicken never feels boring.

Summer Berry Salad with Grilled Citrus Garlic Chicken

For chicken marinade see this recipe, or use your own family favorite grilled chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes  /  Cook time: 20 minutes  /  Total Time: 35-40 minutes  /  Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 zucchini, chopped
4 large chicken breasts (or thighs) marinated at least 2 hours in this marinade
8 cups lettuce of choice
2 cups carrot, shredded
2 cups cucumber, chopped lengthwise into quarters
3 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup almonds, slivered
salad dressing of choice

Method:

First things first- chicken and zucchini.
Chop zucchini into quarters lengthwise.  Cook zucchini on grill (medium-high heat) for approximately 12 minutes, rotating half way through.
Grill Marinated chicken breasts on medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes, turning once.  Grill longer if the middle is still pink.
Remove the zucchini and chicken and set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Build your salad with the rest of your ingredients (don't forget the berries!)
Grab that zucchini and chicken and chop it into cubes.  Toss it on top.
Drizzle with your favorite dressing and viola! Summer in a bowl.

One thing I have never done is make my own salad dressing and I have no idea why.  I think I need to push this to the top of my must-make list.  Any must-make dressing recipes I should try?

Italy: Corniglia, Cinque Terre

Holding onto Summer