Friday, April 4, 2014
Chopped Salad with Chicken and Pesto Vinaigrette
Last week my mom, sister and I went to the Butterfly Wonderland exhibit in Scottsdale Arizona. We spent most of our time in the conservatory, which is a giant glass-enclosed atrium checking out the different species of butterfly's and enjoying each other's company. After spending a few hours there we decided to complete our day together with a nice lunch.
We decided upon the Wildflower Bread Company. This place is a small chain, that is a combination bakery and restaurant that specializes in great soups, salads and sandwiches. Their bread is amazing, and they make the sandwiches with their bread. I ordered the chopped salad with salmon and pesto vinaigrette. It was the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, salty and crunchy. I liked it so much that today's recipe is based on that meal. I substituted grilled chicken for the salmon and made a few other minor changes.
Now for the dressing. I believe a pesto vinaigrette should have lots of flavor and great color. I made this dressing in the spirit of a real pesto. Just added different amounts of the usual ingredients, except for the addition of white balsamic vinegar which brought a big punch of flavor. Make extra to drizzle on veggies and pasta. To store, keep refrigerated up to 5 days.
4 ounces arugula
1 4-5 ounce chicken breast (grilled)
1/2 cup pearl couscous (cooked according to package)
2 ounces feta cheese (crumbled)
2 red peppers (depending on the size) (roasted and chopped, seeds removed)
1/2 cup frozen white corn (defrosted and uncooked)(they used dried sweet corn)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large serving platter, add your base ingredient, which is the arugula. Then arrange all the other salad ingredients side by side in long stripes. Like the picture below.
Next, make the dressing. Add the basil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, Parmesan and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste, add salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve with dressing on the side. Enjoy,
Serves 3 to 4