Bringing the sunshine today with this Cali inspired California Chicken, Avocado, and Goat Cheese Salad.
Because let’s be real, sometimes, ok most of the time, Mondays need a little brightness added to them and this salad is going to do that for you. Promise.
I mean, do you see all the fun colors? It’s spring in a bowl and I love it!
First off, how was everyone’s weekend? After Friday’s cold snow, the sun finally decided to come out on Saturday and even though it was a bit chilly, I did get outside for a moment to do some fun things…meaning head out for hike, discover some flowers that are finally starting to pop up, and head to Whole Foods to stock up for the week…okOK, and buy all the fresh flowers they had, yeahhh! Perfect chill weekend, which I am personally all about. I know some people love to live up their weekends, and that’s definitely super fun, but sometimes chill is where it’s at. Or at least that’s my thinking. Plus, I have some busy weeks/weekends coming up, one of which will be spent in San Diego for my cousin Abby’s graduation celebration and I could not be more excited about it! Therefore, I am in GO mode trying to get ahead on work things. Super fun things I am excited to soon share, but for today, we need to talk about this salad.
This salad that is full of so many flavors and fun spring produce. It’s been my semi weekly go-to dinner for the last two weeks and I still cannot get enough of it.
SO, I think it’s no secret that I’m a California dreamer through and through. Don’t get me wrong, I love Colorado, but I long for southern California’s sunshine and eighty degree days in late April (that was their forecast over the weekend…so jealous). With both my brother and two cousins living in Cali (Kai is in LA, while Abby and Matt are in San Diego), I get a pretty good taste of the style of foods they are exposed to. It’s not really hard to figure out though, tons of fresh produce, grilled meats, avocado on everything, tacos, tacos, and more tacos, smoothies everyday, juice stands on every corner, loaded salads and farmers markets every day of the week.
So this is my take on a super fresh California salad. It’s packed with my favorite seasoned grilled chicken, fresh greens, the prettiest watermelon radishes, strawberries, avocado, herbed goat cheese, and a simple honey balsamic vinaigrette.
The chicken is one I’ve been making for years and years. It’s seasoned perfectly with fresh basil and parsley, garlic, and a little smoked paprika. You can let the chicken marinate in the mix, or if in a hurry, just throw it on the grill after a minute or two. If I am able to get it together enough to be able to plan ahead, I’ll marinate the chicken in the morning, then grill it that night for dinner. Once you have the chicken grilled, just throw everything into a salad bowl and start eating.
Super easy, but yet still full of so much flavor, texture, and heartiness. The combo of the chicken, avocado, strawberries, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette is honestly just so good. You guys all know that I love pairing my fruits with savory foods, and trust me when I say, the strawberries are what make this salad complete. Everything together just works so well.
My suggestion? Add a side of chips and guacamole…you know, to really complete the whole “California” inspired meal.
Plus, when are chips and guac ever not a good idea?
Also, the chicken is truly great for so many things. You can serve it on its own with a side of rice or maybe toss it into a pasta or even skewer it for an upcoming summertime BBQ. The options are endless.
Random Monday Talk: as I type this, my cat is acting like a crazy cat on one too many drugs. Honestly guys, I think my cat may be worse than a having a puppy in the house (and he will be 2 this summer!). His energy level is INSANE and he gets into everything…boxes, food, the garbage, I’m talking everything and anything. He once ate through the pretzel bag, countless packages of corn tortillas, tore through a sealed box full of bubble wrap, and ate his way through the actual bag of cat food. I’ve never seen anything like it. And yes, he does go outside now that the snow has melted so you’d think that would release some energy….send help.
Random talk over.
What do you guys think? Monday salads in or the win?
Thinkings all fingers point to yes please!
California Chicken, Avocado and Goat Cheese Salad
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
- 2 watermelon radishes, thinly slice
- 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
- 4 ounces herbed goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped
- large handful micro greens, sprouts, and or edible flowers, for serving
1. In a bowl, combine the chicken, olive oil, garlic, parsley, basil, paprika, onion powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. For added flavor, allow the chicken to marinate 1 hour or overnight.
2. Preheat your grill, grill pan or cast iron skillet to medium high and brush the grates with oil.
3. Grill the chicken for 5-8 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the grill and thinly slice the chicken.
4. In a large salad bowl, toss together the lettuce, strawberries, radishes, and cucumbers. Add the chicken on top of the salad along with the goat cheese, avocado, almonds, and a handful of micro greens. Serve with the honey balsamic (below).
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
1. In a glass jar, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, honey, cayenne, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Seal the jar and shake well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Keep stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Just don’t forget the chips and guac…