Stating the obvious: It’s winter.
It’s very, very, very much winter. Like, I’m sitting here looking outside at the snow-covered ground and feeling okay about it because it’s actually a “really nice day” here in Minnesota – we might even get up to 25 degrees. I KNOW, RIGHT? We’re that far gone. Winter has messed with our reasoning abilities.
But good news – the cure is coming at you today in the form of a big bowl of *spa salad* loaded with chickpeas, spinach, pomegranates, Cara Cara oranges (and specifically those if you can find them because they are ON POINT), avocado, thinly sliced shallots, a fistful of herbs, a drizzle of light creamy dressing, and grilled lemon chicken.
If it’s wrong to want this for a mid-morning snack, I don’t want to be right.
RALLY THE TROOPS! Let’s do this.
Are these pink/orange Cara Cara oranges not the most gorgeous food you’ve ever laid eyes on? Bonus – they are also nature’s candy.
Katy (our new shoot assistant – uhhhh yeah, this just in – WE HAVE A SHOOT ASSISTANT 🙏) peeled the oranges for this salad the day before our photo shoot, and then I had to text her the next morning and ask her to stop at the store again because, um, Katy? yeah, about the Cara Cara oranges that you peeled. I ate all them all.
Oh my sweet goodness, they are heavenly.
Sometimes these elusive oranges might require you to drive to a different grocery store, which is something that you are totally rejecting right now in your mind and yes, okay, I get it. I’m the same way 99 times out of 100. But guys, think about this. We may not make it to a real spa anytime in the near future and this food version of spa-dom (complete with CC oranges) needs to happen. This is that other ONE TIME out of 100 that I’ll tell you to go the extra mile for that second grocery store.
Plus, beyond the taste, I’m pretty sure the name “Cara Cara oranges” in and of itself earns you full-blown Diva Status.
Spa salad, tho? Seriously. It doesn’t even matter what that really means because the only thing you need to know about it is fork -> mouth -> fork -> mouth -> repeat.
Onwards, spa queen.
Winter Spa Salad with Lemon Chicken! Loaded with chickpeas, spinach, pomegranates, Cara Cara oranges, avocado, shallots, herbs, dressing, and lemon chicken.
For the Salad:
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cara cara oranges, peeled and cut into pieces
- 1 avocado, cut into slices
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 2 cups spinach, torn or cut into small pieces
- 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- a handful of chopped fresh herbs like parsley or mint
For the Chicken Marinade:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- juice of one half of a lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
- 1–2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, or other grainy mustard
- salt, pepper, and/or honey to taste
- Whisk marinade ingredients together. Place in a bowl with the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (while prepping other stuff) or as long as 2 hours.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
- Heat the oil in a pan or pre-heat a griddle. Discard extra marinade from chicken and grill the chicken pieces until cooked through. Let stand for a few minutes to cool before cutting.
- Toss all other salad ingredients, including chicken, together with the dressing! Season with additional salt and pepper and maybe a drizzle of good olive oil. Easy peasy.
If going sugar free is important to you, make sure to look for a sugar-free mustard.
The dressing, especially if you use the Greek yogurt, can be really tangy. You can offset this by using less vinegar or mustard or adding more sweetness with honey to taste.