At the risk of sounding a bit pathetic, one of the things I miss most about America is the extensive range of salads available no matter the season! Just try comparing your average salad menu in London to say the salad selection at The Cheesecake Factory and you will see what I’m talking about. I don’t usually like to mix sweet and savoury foods, but I recently constructed a fruit filled chicken summer salad based on one of my favourite American salads, Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken salad. It’s healthy, easy to prepare, credit card friendly, and is an ideal lunch or dinner for those warmer summer days when you want something light yet filling. It is so refreshing and healthy, you can’t help but love it. Here are step-by-step foolproof instructions on how to create my Summer Superfood Salad:
Prep time: 30 minutes; serves 4
Summer Superfood Salad Ingredients:
– 2 cups of cooked boneless chicken breast
– 2 cups kale
– 1 cup watercress or lettuce of choice
– ½ cup crushed almonds
– 2 cups of grapes, halves
– 1 cup fresh blueberries
– ½ cup light or regular feta cheese
– 1 ripe avocado
– a pinch of chia seeds
– a pinch of sea salt
– juice of ½ a lemon
– a pinch of chilli flakes
Start with watercress or lettuce and two cups of kale. I lean towards watercress as I find it’s a nice balance paired with kale for a salad base.
Next up, add two cups of washed halved grapes. Halving the grapes with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors is probably the most time consuming step of making this salad, but halving the grapes makes the salad extra juicy and is well worth the fuss!
Pour in two cups of halved grapes on top of the base of the salad. If you’re trying to channel your inner domestic goddess, then neatly place the grapes in a corner of the salad – this step isn’t necessary whatsoever but will add to the final effect. You’ll see for yourself soon enough!
Now for a dose of heart healthy and natural fat carbs, add a half cup of crushed almonds to the salad. It should be pretty easy to find crushed or chopped almonds in a supermarket, but if all else fails then whizz whole almonds in a food processor briefly or crush them with a rolling pin whilst inside a sealed bag for the ‘crushed’ almond effect.
Add the half cup of crushed almonds to the other corner of the salad.
Slice up half a cup of feta cheese into neat small blocks. I was trying to be extra healthy due to the fact that bikini season is on my doorstep, so I opted for light feta cheese.
Toss the feta cheese blocks next to the crushed almonds in the salad.
Avocados are one of my favourite fruits. They are filled with antioxidants, a variety of vitamins and are a good source of fiber. I used an avocado in this salad as a creamy and healthier alternative to dressing. Make sure the avocado is ripe otherwise it will make mushing it up much more challenging.
Cut up the avocado into small pieces in a mixing bowl – watch your fingers as avocados can be slippery!
Add a dash of sea salt for extra flavour…
…followed by a pinch of chilli flakes for extra kick in your salad. As you can see, I LOVE chilli and tend to go overboard in the spice department. Add as much or as little as you wish.
Then cut a lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice onto the avocado and spice salad dressing mixture…
…it should be looking like this:
Using a small fork, stir and mush the avocado mixture as best as you can, so it almost resembles a more runny version of guacamole.
Add this creamy mixture to the centre of your summer superfood salad, which should be channeling the colours of the rainbow by now.
I have joined the chia seed fan club recently and can’t help but sprinkle them on vegetables, stir fries and salads as much as possible. Personally, I find chia seeds to be rather tasteless , but they give you energy, add a nice crunchy texture, and are a great source of antioxidants and omega-3.
Sprinkle a small layer of chia seeds on top of the salad.
Last but not least, add two cups of cooked chicken to the salad. I prefer to use a rotisserie chicken for extra flavour and to save the carcass to make home-made broth, but feel free to use your cooked chicken of choice for the salad.
This eye-catching salad is great for sharing. If you’re having people over then I recommend placing one cup of chicken on each side of the salad, so you can let guests serve themselves to whichever parts of the salad tickles their fancy. Be warned, this dish is a crowd pleaser and will make your friends think you can cook!
Even though this salad always looks far more fancy when you arrange it in the bowl by ingredient (as pictured), I find it tastes best when it’s all mixed up together, so I typically ruin my picture perfect salad within minutes of creation. If you’re prepping this salad for your next meal, remember that it also tastes great chilled.Whether you’re entertaining on a budget or just want a quick and tasty health-conscious dish this summer, this superfood salad is always a hit. Happy summer salad-ing!