I know, I know, it’s winter and salad season is over. Only it’s not. No siree, as much as I’d love to dive into roasted vegetables every night, it soon gets stodgily boring. Not too mention everyone needs a couple of kick-arse salads in their repertoire to show off. Without further ado I give you this little salad nugget with pops of mandarin and cranberry – plus marinated chicken to boot – it looks as fancy as it is tasty!
Be prepared Babyologists, if heading to a BBQ, you’re going to hear a whole lot of “who made that salad?” – and of course it’s completely up to you if you want to share the recipe or keep your cards close to your chest. But people are going to want to know. It’s yum with the chicken warm, but just as delicious with it cold, making any leftovers perfect lunch fare.
For the salad:
400g chicken breasts
1 large mandarin, peeled and left in segments or sliced
1 avocado, sliced
½ cup of sweet dried cranberries
2 cups of baby spinach leaves, leave smaller leaves whole and tear up the remaining
1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 brown shallot, thinly sliced
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
For the chicken marinade:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
juice of half a lemon
½ teaspoon of salt
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise or Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
salt, pepper and honey to taste
- Combine all the marinade ingredients into a bowl and combine, stirring with a fork.
- Place your chicken in a zip lock bag and add the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- While chicken is marinating, prep other salad ingredients, though leave the avocado until last minute to avoid it browning. Set aside.
- Whisk your dressing ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper and use honey to sweeten it if required.
- Heat a pan and add a small amount of oil – just enough to prevent the chicken from sticking. Discard the extra marinade and cook the chicken until it’s cooked through. A big chicken breast like this one takes quite a while, around five minutes each side. Let it rest for a few minutes to cool before chopping it up.
- Now you can slice the avocado!
- Gently toss all the salad ingredients, plus the chicken in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- The jury is out on the dressing – you can either toss it with the dressing, drizzle the dressing over the top only, using a snipped small zip lock bag to do so (as I have), or leave it naked and let people add their own dressing from the side. Whatever you prefer – just don’t forget it!
- Gently pour your salad into a salad bowl and garnish with a few slices of avocado and extra dried cranberries.
A recipe originally from A Pinch of Yum, it serves four people so be sure to double or triple it if feeding a crowd!
Make sure to browse our recipe archives for more great meal ideas and treats to try.