I love salads, this is not a secret. I hit the salad bar quite frequently. I buy pre-made salads at the grocery store. And there's only one restaurant I request when a friend calls me for lunch because only this one restaurant can stake claim on one of my most favorite salads ever. (If you're local, it's the Turkey Ceasar with Honey Mustard Dressing from Caffe Tosi.) But lately, oh. There has only been one salad for me—I blame a fellow trainer. (If only you hadn't served this salad at my baby shower, Michelle!) It's a garlic, chicken and herb concoction that can be made within the comforts of one's own kitchen.
Seriously, it's delicious.
I drool just thinking about it.
Why? Fresh herbs. And a certain Garlic Expressions dressing. It just might be one of the best vinaigrette salad dressings I've ever consumed. And I typically only consume the vinaigrettes, so I've tested my fair share. Flavor aside, this stuff has nothing but recognizable (and healthy) ingredients. Just like the salad itself.
Note, if you make it exactly as I've listed it, you'll get an entire bowl full of goodness well-suited to at least eight people. Keep that in mind as you cut and chop. Also, I used a bagged Italian cheese blend in the essence of time (I had other things to prepare for today's Christmas lunch with Jason's family), but I've eaten this salad with a combination of freshly shredded cheeses. Take whichever route you'd like, obviously fresh is best. As for the lettuce, I used Romain and Iceberg. Again, it's totally up to you. Spinach would even work. The more you blend, the better. (That goes for the herbs, too. Feel free to use a wider variety than what's listed below.)
This recipe also calls for bits of bacon, which I've chosen to leave out (selfishly).
GARLIC, CHICKEN AND HERB SALAD
Source: Michelle, a personal trainer at my gym
• 1 head Iceberg lettuce
• 1 head Romain lettuce
• Fresh basil
• Fresh parsley
• 1 bag shredded Italian blend cheese
• 1 lb chicken breast cutlets
• Black pepper
• 1 bottle Garlic Expressions salad dressing
• Bits of bacon, optional
1) Cut the chicken cutlets into bite-size pieces. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Sautee in a pan over medium heat until cooked. Let cool.
2) As the chicken cooks, chop the lettuce and herbs. Mix in a decently sized salad bowl. Add the cheese, then the chicken.
3) When you are ready to serve the salad, shake the dressing and pour it right on top. Use your best judgement when pouring—no one likes a soggy salad!
4) Top with bacon, if desired. Perhaps some freshly ground black pepper, too.
I know, right? So easy! And so minimal. And, ahem...so healthy. The first time my mom made this at home, my dad couldn't believe she wasn't adding any tomatoes, onions, croutons...all those typical toppings. He understood why after he ate it, I'm fairly certain.
I think you will, too.
Give it a try next time you crave a salad.
Question: Do you have a favorite salad?