Spinach & Chicken Salad with Strawberry Mint Dressing

A spinach and strawberry salad isn’t exactly revolutionary is it? It’s one of those classic dishes that a lot of people make, which is why I haven’t made it on the blog before now.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 1

But I love when I can take a familiar dish and take it up a notch, which is exactly what the olive oil and vinegars from Olive Us does to a classic spinach salad.

This local business has two locations, one downtown Vernon and one in Lake Country. Their product speaks for itself, but the people who run the business are pretty awesome too. Janet seems to be lending a hand at every community event in this town and she is a fantastic cook, so I am the first one to line up for sample if she is offering them!

Spinach and Chicken Salad 2

The other thing is that this salad really lets local flavour shine. Strawberries and Spinach are two of the first spring crops that come in season in the Okanagan… so they really are a natural combination.

We don’t grow Spinach ourselves, but Zelaney Farms does and they always have great quality veggies.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 3

We buy all our spinach from them for our sandwiches and salads in the café. You can find them at the Vernon Farmers Market as well as the Kelowna Market. Davison Orchards is also starting at both farmers market this week, so you can make one stop and get your strawberries while you are at it.

Now that you have gathered all your ingredients you are ready to start cooking.

Start by marinating your chicken in the Persian Lime Olive Oil. It doesn’t take much oil – I used about ½ TBSP per breast. Make sure all the pieces are well covered and set the chicken aside while you prep the rest of the salad.

The recipe for this dressing has been adapted from Olive us. I have made a few changes to tweak it for my tastes. See their original recipe here.

Start by taking the stems off about 1 cup of strawberries and throw them into your food processor.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 4

Then chop up some fresh mint. It took about 10 leaves to make 1 TBSP of chopped mint. Enjoy the smell while you chop…

Add the garlic, lime juice, Lemongrass Mint White Balsamic and salt and pepper to your food processor.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 5

I am sure there are other balsamics that would be fantastic in this recipe (I’m thinking coconut balsamic would be awesome), but be sure to stick to a white balsamic to keeps the colour of the dressing nice and vibrant.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 6

Blend all the ingredients. Once they are smooth, turn your food processor to low and slowly drizzle in the olive oil so that it emulsifies nicely. ‘Emulsify’ means, “blend in” in case you are wondering. You know how oil and vinegar are always separating in a dressing? While, when you do this right they will stay blended for several days. In this case, the strawberries and garlic are working as the binder to keep this dressing together.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 7

Set your dressing aside and start putting together the salad. Zelaney Spinach tends to have nice big leaves – unlike baby spinach this stuff has be torn up. Tear it in to bite sized pieces and add it to a large bowl.

Now this recipe is for a complete meal – but of course, you can omit the chicken and serve it as a side instead.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 8

Don’t be too cheap with the strawberries! We want big bites of berry so the flavour can explode in the mouth, not just a garnish on top. The perfect amount is about 1 cup per meal salad. Take the stems of and either leave the berries whole if they are smaller or just in halves or quarters if they are on the bigger side. The bigger pieces give great flavour and keep the strawberry slices from getting soggy.

Once you have your dressing, spinach and berries prepped, set them aside while you cook your chicken.

I sliced my chicken raw and marinated it in about 1 Tablespoon of the Persian Lime Olive Oil. I used 1 chicken breast per person – in my opinion if you are eating salad as a meal you need a nice big portion of meat to be included.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 9

Preheat your pan on medium heat. Add your raw chicken slices and leave them for 2 or 3 minutes or until the pan side of the chicken is white. Do not stir.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 10

Flip each piece individually, and let cook another 2 minutes or until cooked through. I pick the biggest slice and cut it in half to test doneness.

Remove from heat and set aside.

For the meal version, build the salad on your serving plates. Start with the spinach and strawberries, then add some crumbled feta to your taste. Top with the chicken and drizzle it all with the Strawberry Mint dressing.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 11

Isn’t this dressing have amazing colour? That comes from having berries that are red all the way through.

Spinach and Chicken Salad 12

Enjoy. I ate mine on my patio and enjoyed every minute of it.

This salad is as beautiful as it is delicious, and what a wonderful thing to know you are giving your support to so many local businesses with each bite you take.

Spinach & Chicken Salad with Strawberry Mint Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 or 6 minutes for chicken

Servings: 4 meal sized salads

Ingredients:

  • Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Strawberries
  • 2 TBSP (+2 TBSP for marinating chicken) of 'Olive Us' Persian Lime Olive Oil
  • 2 TBSP Lemongrass Mint White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP minced fresh garlic
  • 1.5 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 1 TBSP mint leaves
  • ½ TSP Sea Salt
  • ¼ TSP freshly ground black pepper
  • Salad Ingredients:
  • 4 raw Chicken Breasts, sliced
  • 8 cups fresh local spinach
  • 4 cups fresh local strawberries (2 pint baskets will be 4 cups)
  • Feta Cheese to taste

Instructions:

  1. Drizzle chicken slices with Persian Lime Olive Oil and set aside to marinate for a few minutes while you prep the dressing and salad.
  2. Make dressing by adding all ingredients except olive oil into a food processor. Blend until completely smooth. With the food processor at lowest setting, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until all is completely blended. Set aside
  3. Rip spinach into bite sized pieces, set aside Remove stems from the strawberries and slice in half , set aside
  4. Cook the chicken in a frying pan until cooked through. Set aside.
  5. Assemble your salads on serving plates. Starting with spinach, then strawberries, feta, end with chicken pieces and drizzle with Strawberry Mint Dressing.
  6. Enjoy immediately. Any leftover dressing will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days.

 

What’s happening on the farm:

 

It's springtime and that means exciting new changes at Davison Orchards.



We have blossoms in the orchard, a new look for the Farmhouse Cafe, and tasty new products on the shelf!

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