May is National Salad Month and I want to share with you a new Mediterranean salad recipe. You can use any kind of base for the salad greens that you want. I chose romaine – because I had some in the fridge that I needed to use up, and spinach – because I adore spinach in a good salad. It adds color, flavor, and is a rich source of nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin A (as beta carotene), iron, and folate to name a few.
I topped the greens with some sliced green onion and chopped artichoke hearts (canned). It looked like I was headed toward a Mediterranean flair with this salad so I added some chopped cucumber along with tomato slices and roasted red pepper. To finish it off I sprinkled on feta cheese crumbles and tossed in a few Kalamata olives – some sliced, but others left whole.
This salad would have been wonderful left as is with homemade creamy pesto vinaigrette. But when you’re on a roll, why stop? So I cut up some chicken into small chunks and marinated them in a herb and lavender balsamic vinaigrette, threaded them onto some skewers with a few shitake mushrooms, and had my husband start up the grill. A little later we had a delicious Mediterranean salad with grilled chicken.
There are three parts to this salad: the vegetables and greens, the chicken, and the dressing. Start with the chicken since it needs to marinate for at least 30 minutes, though longer should make more it even more flavorful. While that’s marinating get the rest of the salad and vinaigrette ready. Serve it all up as soon as the kebabs are done.
May is a month for salads, and while I lean toward tossed salads with all kinds of different toppings, there are many, many more around. Spinach and Orzo Salad is one of my favorites. What’s your favorite? Share with us in the comments below. Check back often for more healthy ideas.
Mediterranean Salad with Grilled Chicken and Creamy Pesto Vinaigrette
- 3 chicken breasts cut into 1-2 inch chunks
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. lavender balsamic vinegar *see note
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp. dried red pepper
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms
- 3 c. fresh Romaine lettuce
- 3 c. fresh spinach leaves
- 1 cucumber diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
- 1 c. canned artichoke hearts chopped
- 1/2 c. sliced roasted red pepper
- 12 Kalamata olives
- 1/2 c. sliced green onions
- 1/2 c. feta cheese
Creamy Pesto Vinaigrette:
- 4 tsp. pesto
- 4 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. plain nonfat yogurt
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil extra virgin
- Prepare marinade for chicken by mixing together the lemon juice, lavender balsamic vinegar, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, basil, garlic, parsley, onion powder, kosher salt, and red pepper. Pour over chunks of chicken and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Soak wooden skewers in water before threading on chicken and mushrooms or use metal skewers.
- Build the salad for each plate by laying down a bed of fresh romaine and spinach leaves. Top that with diced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, chopped artichoke heart, roasted red pepper, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.
- Prepare creamy pesto vinaigrette by shaking together the pesto, white wine vinegar, and lemon juice in a small jar. Add in the yogurt and oil and shake once more till all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Build the kebabs by threading on the chicken and mushrooms. Grill over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, turning frequently, until chicken is done.
- Drizzle vinaigrette on salad and top with a chicken kebab. Serve immediately.