On my blog, this salad is known as Mixed Greens with Chicken, Pineapple, and Balsamic Vinaigrette. In my head, this salad is known as “Stevie Salad.” My dear friend Stevie whips up the most amazing salads for lunch every day with what she describes as “the stuff [she] has on hand.” When she first told me about her salads, I figured they must be made with wilted lettuce, limp celery, and dried up carrots – that’s what normal people have rolling around in their forgotten salad drawer!
But not Stevie. She concocts these gorgeous, colorful, flavorful salads with a variety of greens, fruits, nuts, and chicken. Splash on some balsamic vinaigrette and give it a toss! I was dumbfounded. Yes, it is different every time depending on what she has on hand. But what she has on hand could rival most grocery store salad bars!
This recipe is my version of her salad: sweet pineapple, tart apples, crunchy carrots, salty almonds, chicken for protein, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Other ingredients that work really well include blueberries, cucumber, dried cranberries, and feta cheese. You can’t go wrong, and it’s GOOD for you!
The balsamic vinaigrette will keep for a week in the refrigerator in a covered jar or squeeze bottle. Stevie’s preferred dressing is the Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette at Trader Joe’s – a lovely, inexpensive choice if you don’t want to make your own dressing.
- ⅓ c. olive oil
- ¼ c. water
- 3 T. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. minced shallot or red onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. fresh parsley
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 6 c. mixed greens such as spinach, arugula, frisee, or red leaf lettuce
- 2 c. cooked chicken such as rotisserie
- 1 c. fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
- 2 carrots, peeled, halved, and sliced thinly
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced and cut into strips
- ½ apple, thinly sliced
- ¼ c. sliced almonds
- To make the salad dressing, whisk together olive oil, water, balsamic vinegar, mustard, shallot, garlic, honey, parsley, salt, and pepper. Or, combine in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid and cover, shaking vigorously until well-combined. Set aside to blend flavors while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- In a large bowl, combine mixed greens and chicken. Add pineapple, carrots, red onion pieces, and apple slices. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and toss carefully with tongs until all greens are evenly coated.
- Arrange salad on a platter or individual plates and top with almonds. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Store remaining dressing covered in the refrigerator.