Monday, October 21, 2013

Chicken-Fruit Salad

The mix of savory vegan chicken strips (Beyond Meat or Gardein both work well here) and sweet fruit makes this a different and fun salad. You can make the dressing ahead of time (up to a week), and refrigerate until ready to dress the salad.

For the dressing:
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar*
  • 1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the salad:
  • 1 (10-ounce) package Italian-blend salad greens
  • 2 cups grilled vegan chicken strips
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup quartered strawberries
  • 1 cup sliced banana
  • 1 cup peeled and sliced kiwifruit
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts**
  • 1 ounce prepared vegan herbed goat cheese***
1. To prepare the dressing, combine all ingredients listed under 'Dressing' and whisk well to combine.

Note: If you prefer to use this dressing with a different salad, stop reading right here. The recipe yields 3/4 cup, enough for 4 servings (3 tablespoons) of 120 calories each.

2. To prepare the salad, arrange about 1 and 1/2 cups salad greens on each of 4 plates.

3. Divide the chicken, blueberries, strawberries, banana, kiwi, pine nuts, and prepared goat cheese evenly among the plates.

4. Top each serving with 3 tablespoons dressing.

For a quick midday meal or brunch, try serving with poppy seed muffins - I love the ones from Everyday Gourmet, a 100% vegan bakery.

*If you prefer to play up the fruit theme even more, use raspberry vinegar in place of the red wine vinegar

**Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Shake or stir frequently, so the nuts don't burn.

***To prepare the goat cheese, combine 1 ounce crumbled Veg Cuisine Mediterranean Herb feta, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vegan cream cheese, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vegan mayonnaise, and a splash of lemon juice. Mash with a fork until well blended.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 portion), Calories 332

Tasting Notes:
Take note: the dressing is sweet. However, that makes it a perfect foil to the bitterness of Italian greens (like radicchio), but I'd recommend caution if employing the dressing elsewhere. The salad is full of delightful tidbits (that feels the best way to describe it), my favorites being the blueberries, toasted nuts, and bananas. I'd definitely add more chicken per serving, to make this a heartier entree portion, and also just crumble vegan feta over the top next time instead of taking the extra step to prepare vegan goat cheese.


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