I’m going salad crazy.
Oh, wait, I said that already yesterday.
A chicken and nectarine poppy seed salad is basically this: sweet juicy nectarines, bursts of blueberry, delicate baby spinach, lightly spiced grilled chicken, nutty chopped almonds, and homemade sweet poppy seed dressing all in the same bowl.
Holy Salad. This is my summer right here. All 100 days. You’re lookin’ at em.
I’m the kind of person who gets on a food kick and doesn’t stop. My most recent food kick is chocolate chip cookies. → lie. I am always on that kick.
I can remember a summer when I ate a spinach salad, shredded carrots, wonton strips, and Asian dressing every day for lunch. I don’t know why in the world I wanted to be so healthy for so long but that crunchy tang just spoke to me. Every year in the fall, I consume at least 100 bowls of pumpkin oats. It’s a guaranteed obsession. Last winter I made batch after batch the world’s easiest posole which was basically an excuse to eat Baked Doritos by the fistful. Kick after kick after kick.
To state the obvious, right now I’m kickin’ with summer fruits. Specifically nectarines and blueberries… and more nectarines and more blueberries. The fact that these little beauties grew out of the earth into something that tastes like dessert just totally blows my mind.
So the elephant in the room: grilled chicken. I have this thing about grilling chicken. Well, I have this thing about grilling in general which is that I don’t do it. That’s Bjork’s domain out there.
Just plain chicken has never really been my thing, and my typical method of plopping it in a skillet and waiting for it to turn brown is not doing anyone any favors. Enter panini press! This is my new chicken technique – I cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap and pound each piece nice and thin. Then I rub salt, pepper, olive oil, and a few extra spices into each piece, and then I grill it on the panini press, George Foreman style.
It’s delicious, beautiful, and totally fool proof with bonus seductive brown grill marks. And you guys are like, yeah, welcome to the world.
Also, can I put in a quick plug for using yesterday’s homemade poppy seed dressing? Not necessary if you’re short on time, but delicious and feel-good if you have 15 minutes to spare. Yummay.
My days of being a salad renegade are long gone thanks to this pretty baby. Addicting salads for the win!
- 2 large chicken breasts (plus salt, pepper, olive oil for seasoning)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 2 ripe nectarines
- 6-8 cups baby spinach
- ¼ cup chopped toasted almonds
- homemade poppy seed dressing (or store-bought)
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, olive oil, and any other seasonings you like. I happened to have a random raspberry chipotle seasoning blend in my cupboard, so I rubbed a little bit into the chicken breasts before grilling - it was SO good! Just use whatever seasonings you like and/or have on hand to give the chicken a little extra flavor.
- Grill the chicken - I used my panini press to get those really nice browned lines. It worked like a charm. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces or strips.
- Assemble individual salads or toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Top with poppy seed dressing.