Giving my family a chicken salad for dinner can backfire on me, I get the look. You know the look, the one that says I am going to push the lettuce around my plate until I can bolt from the table and hit the chocolate bars. Thus I am always working on ideas to make the whole family excited about a lettuce driven dinner. This idea was genius. It was based on a very tasty appetizer from Amuse your Bouche that features roasted grapes and onions. I took her roasted fruit idea and went main course salad with it. The fruit you roast for this salad can be a little past its prime, in fact almost over ripe fruit will work better.
I have my husband fire up the grill pretty regularly to make dinner, and before or after the main protein for dinner is cooked I get him to grill up a bunch of these little flash frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts to have in the fridge for everyone to snack on. So the chicken breast on this salad is just a few of those basic breasts that I sprinkled a little season salt on before they hit the grill. You could just as easily use rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or left over chicken from last night’s dinner, it really doesn’t matter. I served a nice white wine with this salad and a bit of toasted French bread, yummy!
Chicken Salad with Roasted Fruit and Pecans
For the salad
- 4 Grilled chicken breasts
- 1 large bunch of red grapes slice the large ones in half
- 2 small clementine oranges: peeled sectioned and cut in half
- 1 large onion medium sized dice
- ½ cup pecans
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 heads butter lettuce
- Parmesan cheese
For the champagne vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup champagne vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tsp honey
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
Chicken and Roasted Fruit
Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Put the onion, grapes and oranges on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Toss the fruit and onions with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Don’t be shy with the pepper; it helps everything come together in the end. Put the baking sheet in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until the onion browns a little on the ends and the fruit starts to go mushy and caramelize.
While the fruit is roasting make your bed of lettuce with sliced chicken for each plate, I made four plates with this recipe. You could put any other fresh veggies in the lettuce that you want, I added some cucumber. I also decided to roast the pecans a little bit. Roasting nuts is very simple put them into a dry hot pan and toss over heat until you can smell the nut toasting, sprinkle with a little salt.
When the fruit is ready spoon it over the chicken and top with Pecans and a few Parmesan shavings. I served the below dressing on the side for anyone that wanted it.
Mix all the ingredients together and taste. Adjust the seasoning to your preference, if you have extra this is a great versatile dressing for later.