Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries, Feta, & Balsamic Vinaigrette

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I opened a carton of organic strawberries the other morning and actually had to stop to admire how carefully packaged and beautiful the strawberries looked. There was not one tarnished berry in the batch. Don’t they look amazing?

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Since strawberries aren’t in season and shipped in from warmer states, they’re still relatively expensive. So sadly, my daughter is the only one currently eating them on a regular basis over here. It did, however, get me thinking of all the yummyย things ย I could make with strawberries once they wereย in season. Then I remembered this salad and I had to have it.

The first time I had this salad was almost 16 years ago (yikes!). I was a recent college graduate at my first “real” job in Minneapolis. I worked for the now defunct regional department store chain Marshall Field’s. (Sadly, Target Corporation sold the chain off shortly after I left. Now they’re either a Macy’s store location or closed. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )ย The corporate offices were located right above the original Dayton’s store location downtown.ย It was this huge, rambling store where I spent way too many hours after work shopping. ๐Ÿ™‚

As with all traditional department stores, the basement contained all things home – housewares, appliances, bedding, home decor, etc. It also housed the most amazing little collection ofย specialty eateriesย which served food that was about 1000x better than your average mall food court.

So it was there, in the basement of the downtown Minneapolis Marshall Field’s store, that I first tried this incredibly delicious masterpiece called “Strawberry Fields.” Very few non-dessert items make me smile inside, but this does. Here’s why: strawberries + balsamic vinegar = special/amazing/yummy combination which makes me smile inside. It’s an incredibleย pairing and the feta cheese just sort of complements it all. It’s that good and so simple. It really is a shame I spent the first 20+ years of my life without it.

I hope you enjoy my version as much as my husband and I do.

Ingredients (for the salad):

  • 1/2c strawberries (5-6 medium sized), sliced
  • 1/4c purple onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3c feta cheese, cubed
  • 1 grilled chicken breast, cubed*
  • approx. 5-6c mixed greens, rough chopped**

Ingredients (for the dressing)***:

  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4c of balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4c of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2tsp white sugar, honey, or sweetener of your choice
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. The dressing is best left to sit over night and even better after a couple of days. Combine the first five ingredients in a covered container and shake. Taste and adjust seasoning with the sugar, salt, & pepper. Ideally, refrigerate over night.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, onions, feta cheese, grilled chicken, and mixed greens
  3. Toss with desired amount of dressing and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Enjoy!

Notes:

*I previously shared this new-to-me technique for grilling the perfect chicken here. For this salad, Iย kept the seasoning super simple – a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder – so as not to overwhelm the salad.

**I like to rough chop salad greens into smaller pieces so that they’re easier to eat, therefore eliminating the need for a knife or unattractively stuffing your face with too large greens. The smaller leaves also helps more efficiently distribute the dressing. You’ll end up using less of it.

***The dressing should keep in the fridge for aย couple weeksย and in my opinion, tastes better over time.

This salad generously serves 2 adults.

 

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