One of my favorite salad recipes! This easy spinach chicken salad is topped with crumbled cheese, creamy avocado, pecans, dried cranberries, chopped pears and dressed with a homemade poppy seed balsamic dressing. The dressing requires just 5 simple ingredients and it’s so delicious! Enjoy this salad with rotisserie chicken or prepare your own easy chicken breast! I love to have some rustic baguette on the side, too! This salad serves 2 as a main entree or 4 as a starter salad.
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Preparing the Chicken
I always start this salad with the juicy chicken! You can use rotisserie chicken breast for this recipe if you want to make the recipe even easier! I like to pick up the chicken on my way home from the store and enjoy it the same day. In my video recipe, I also show you how to prepare a really simple and delicious chicken breast, pan-seared and finished in the oven. Just brown the chicken all over, season with salt, pepper and your favorite spices, then bake until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing into serving-size pieces.
Poppy Seed Balsamic Dressing
You guys are going to LOVE this simple and delicious homemade dressing recipe! It’s made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, poppy seeds and a pinch of salt. I recommend using a high-quality, robust and flavorful olive oil for a tastier dressing. As mentioned in my video, I love using honey from Hawaiian Honey Eats – their honey is some of the best I’ve ever had! Simply combine all the ingredients in a dispenser bottle or measuring cup and mix for 1 minute until the dressing is creamy. Store any leftover balsamic dressing in the refrigerator.
Spinach Chicken Salad
Once you have the chicken prepared and rested, put together the salad! Spread a generous amount of spinach over a large platter or prepare individual servings in salad bowls. Top the spinach with sliced chicken, sliced avocado, chopped pears, crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries and chopped pecans. If you don’t like blue cheese, try it’s lighter cousin gorgonzola or go plain with crumbled feta. Pour the dressing over the spinach salad when ready to enjoy and season to taste with salt! Enjoy with a side of rustic baguette and white wine!
If you want to prepare this salad ahead of time, simply arrange everything on a plate or platter and reserve the dressing. To preserve the color of the avocado, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the top.
Enjoyed this recipe? Check out some of my other delicious salad recipes!
- Asian Chicken Salad – crunchy and refreshing cabbage salad with sesame dressing and teriyaki chicken!
- Avocado Salmon Salad – topped with poached egg and zesty dressing!
- Grilled Flank Steak Salad – perfect for summer, with grilled corn, avocado, tomatoes, cheese and chimichurri dressing!
- Kale & Sweet Potato Salad – roasted potatoes with massaged kale is so good!
- Kale Pomegranate Salad – this salad is always a hit at every party!
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Spinach Chicken Salad (video)
- 2 rotisserie chicken breasts
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 2 tsp oil for frying
- salt and pepper
- 1 large avocado
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue or feta cheese
- 2 large pears, chopped or sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 10 to 12 cups baby spinach
- Prepare the chicken first. If you are using rotisserie chicken, skip to next step. Preheat the oven to 425F and preheat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil for frying and add in the chicken breasts. Season them generously with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of paprika. Fry the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until well browned. To finish cooking the chicken, transfer the pan into the preheated oven and bake until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F. Large pieces can take 18 to 20 minutes; medium pieces 12 to 15; small pieces 7 to 9 minutes. Rest the chicken for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Next, prepare the salad dressing. Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, poppy seeds and salt in a dispenser bottle or a measuring cup. Whisk or mix the the dressing for 1 minute until creamy. Store any leftover balsamic dressing in the refrigerator.
- Prepare all the salad toppings: chop or slice the pears, slice the avocado and crumble the cheese. If you don't like blue cheese, try it's lighter cousin gorgonzola or go plain with crumbled feta.
- Assemble the salad on one large platter or in individual bowls. Start by spreading the spinach, top with the sliced chicken breast and gently fan the chicken. Fan the sliced avocado and add on top. Watch my video recipe to see how it's done. Top with the pears, cheese, pecans and cranberries. Pour the salad dressing over the the spinach salad and season the chicken with salt and pepper. I love to have some rustic baguette on the side, too! This salad serves 2 as a main entree or 4 as a starter salad.
- If you want to prepare this salad ahead of time, simply arrange everything on a plate or platter and reserve the dressing. To preserve the color of the avocado, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the top.