It is the berries that first draw your eye in this plate of greens, but the chicken salad and vinaigrette dressing more than hold their own flavorwise. Sweet and savory tastes, varied textures and a vivid visual pop all combine to make this lunch salad an appealing winner.
It's the berries...
"Master Chef’s are fond of saying, “We eat with our eyes first”, but did you know there’s research to back it up? A study in the late 1970’s showed that, when we find food more appealing, not only do we enjoy it more we also absorb more nutrients from it. Subsequent studies have validated this finding."I have taken that saying to heart lately as I try to focus on healthy lunch plates that will satisfy my appetite and not feel like the dreaded "diet food" of old. Bright colors and attractive plating can make a dish look so invitingly delicious that you just know it's going to be terrific, even before the first bite. So far, it's working.
Add some fresh herbs to the mixture of torn greens. I love the surprise flavor pop added by fresh mint, basil and parsley leaves. Change up the fruit for different flavor combinations. Tired of chicken? add tuna salad or chunks of salmon instead. Just remember, it's a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
Chicken Salad with Grapes
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1/3 cup pecans or almonds, chopped
In a bowl toss together lightly the above ingredients with the dressing. Let the mixture marinate for 15 minutes for the chicken to soak in the flavors.
Curry Dressing for Chicken Salad
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or lime juice)
2 Tablespoons lite Best Foods mayonnaise (or sour cream)
1 heaping Tablespoon Major Grey's chutney
3 Tablespoons oil
2 to 3 drops of Cajun Sunshine or your favorite hot sauce
Fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
Fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Salt and white pepper to taste
In a small bowl whisk together the mustard, Garam Masala, cumin, vinegar, mayonnaise and chutney. Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified. Add the remaining ingredients; taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Vinaigrette for Mixed Greens Salad
3:1 ratio olive oil to white balsamic vinegar
dried basil & mint leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper
Whisk together to blend thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add sparingly to a bowl of cleaned torn greens and fresh herbs; toss to coat.
The Main Event
Cover a salad plate with a fluffy bed of lightly dressed mixed greens and herbs. Add a generous scoop of Chicken Salad with Grapes. Scatter 1/4 cup of fresh raspberries and 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries over the greens. Enjoy.