Spring is here and summer is just around the corner, so let's face it -- a healthy salad or two couldn't hurt as we get ready to hit the beach or pool. Salad seems to get a bad rap, especially when most people picture bland iceberg lettuce, a chopped tomato and a cucumber slice. But it doesn't have to be so boring.
Now, I'm no rabbit or pseudo-vegetarian by any means. I like meat and potatoes as much as the next guy, but a trip through the Garden of Eatin' isn't such a bad thing once in a while.
Salad can be a flavor-packed work of art that is both refreshing and nourishing. With the right combination of ingredients, a hearty salad paired with a juicy, grilled chicken breast can be plenty of sustenance for an afternoon lunch or dinner.
This featured salad recipe can include any of your favorite grilled veggies, but the dressing is the key -- with its peppery arugula and fresh herbs -- to creating the lively flavor that satisfies your taste buds.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Chicken Breast and Basil Green Goddess Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup fresh arugula
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 anchovy fillets
3 cloves fresh garlic
Kosher salt and pepper
1. Combine the garlic, anchovy fillets and herbs in a food processor and puree to a fine paste.
2. Add the arugula, lemon juice, and mayonnaise.
3. Blend until smooth.
4. Incorporate the buttermilk and season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
5. Chill the dressing until you are ready to serve.
4 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1. Marinate the chicken breast in a little of the dressing for about 1 hour.
2. Season the chicken breasts with kosher salt and pepper and grill until cooked through.
1 bunch medium-sized asparagus
2 red peppers, cut into large pieces
2 yellow peppers, cut into large pieces
1 zucchini cut into1/4-inch round slices
1 pint Crimini mushrooms
1 pint grape tomatoes
16 ounces baby mixed greens
1. Marinate all the vegetables in olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
2. Season with kosher salt and pepper and grill the vegetables until cooked.
3. Assembly: Place a bed of greens on the plate and arrange the vegetables on top. Add the grilled chicken breast (whole or sliced) and serve with the green goddess dressing.
Chef David Meador, executive chef at Renaissance on 9th, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org