What's in the big salad you ask? Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs. Ahh a classic Seinfeld episode — The Big Salad. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out.I haven't blogged about food in awhile so I thought this would be a nice way to start the week. As the weather gets warmer, I like to eat lighter, eat more fresh vegetables and take advantage of the local farmer's market. (The market hasn't started up yet, but I am really looking forward to when it does).
Your first thought might be, who needs a recipe for salad? Oftentimes, I stick with the standard spinach, tomato, cucumber, celery and dressing route. I wanted to change things up a bit. The addition of blackened chicken is really what I liked. It didn't turn out like the spicy blackened chicken I think of from a restaurant, but it has a nice flavor and goes really well with the rest of the ingredients. Plus you make your own croutons! They taste much better than the packaged kind and really doesn't take much effort to make.
I want to start experimenting with making my own salad dressings. I do the olive oil, balsamic mixture sometimes, but I want to try the classic ranch dressing. It's always been my favorite. As an adult though, I just don't like all the additives in it. I'll post a dressing recipe when I find or create one I like.
Blackened Chicken Salad
2 cups sourdough or French bread, cubed
non-stick cooking spray
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cups fresh spinach leaves, rinsed and torn
2 cups romaine lettuce, rinsed and torn
2 cups zucchini, cubed
2 cups cucumber, seeded and cubed
1/2 cup green onions, sliced with tops
1 medium tomato, cubed
Preheat oven to 375. To make croutons, spray bread cubes lightly with cooking spray. Place on a baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
Combine paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, white pepper, red pepper and black pepper in a small bowl; rub on all surfaces of chicken.
Broil chicken 6 inches from heat source, 7-8 minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Cool slightly, cut into thin strips.
Combine warm chicken with greens, zucchini, cucumber, green onions, tomato and croutons in a large bowl. Drizzle with your choice of dressing; toss to coat. And now you have yourself a big salad. Serves four.
Adapted from All-new Light Cooking book