This Best-Ever Mediterranean Salad with Seared Chicken was the centerpiece of the luncheon my students served their mothers Monday in honor of Mothers Day. We made it in class in March,  and it was a BIG hit with the students. That says a lot!

I also served it for a luncheon I hosted in my home featuring the Mediterranean Diet and Brain Health in early March. Dr. Margie Williams spoke on Nutrition while we enjoyed our salads.

Why don’t you try it at home, and see what you think? Fresh, whole foods at their best!

Best-Ever Mediterranean Salad with Seared Chicken 

This salad is full of the flavors I have come to love. The flavors of the Feta cheese (I love to use real goat cheese, too), Kalamata olives and red onion are bold, tangy and salty. They are balanced by some of the other ingredients, like the crunch of the pita chips, the rosemary/garlic flavor of the chicken, and the brightness of the lemon zest. The dressing is full of heart-healthy EVOO, and the special taste of balsamic vinegar.

Basic Salad Recipe:

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • about 2 handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup large seedless cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • about 4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1 1/2 cups broken pita chips to garnish
  • grapes sliced in half make a wonderful addition to this salad, too

Here is the dressing recipe that actually came with the salad recipe.

Dressing:

  • juice of one lemon (about 1/3 cup)
  • zest of half of a lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano (crumbled between your fingers)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Here is the recipe for the dressing our class actually used for the luncheon:

Suzanne’s Favorite Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon honey mustard
  • 1T. Herbes de Provence seasoning
  • 6-10 drop liquid stevia (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Seared Chicken Recipe:

  • Cut up one pound of chicken breasts into tenders size strips, then cut each strip into 1 inch pieces
  • Rinse chicken and shake excess water off.  Season with a mix of rosemary/garlic/salt, and let rest for 30 minutes if time allows. (We didn’t have time for class.)
  • Coat skillet with EVOO, and saute chicken to your desired doneness.
  • Add to salad before adding the dressing.

To serve:

Toss all ingredients together thoroughly, and garnish top of salad with broken pita chips (optional).

Additional Preparation Tips:

  • One easy way to chop the romaine into small pieces is to cut the whole head in half lengthwise, then cut each half once more. Rinse the sections, then cut across each section into small pieces.
  • You can also purchase bags of chopped romaine.
  • I strongly suggest you rinse all lettuce, fruits and vegetables with a mixture of water and white vinegar (the cheap kind). I like to put it in a spray bottle and liberally spray items before rinsing well under water. This prevents any contamination during packaging from ending up in you!
  • I use less salt in the dressing than I normally would because so many elements in the salad are pretty salty.  Adjust to your own taste.

Suggested Additions and Variations:

To the basic salad recipe, you can create a number of variations to fit your tastes and what you have at home. Feel free to experiment. Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) well-rinsed at a non-meat source of protein. Salmon also goes well in this salad, but I would definitely use lemon in the dressing, or directly on the salmon before cooking.

This makes a simple do ahead salad/main course for a luncheon or dinner. I am serving it this weekend at a neighborhood gathering myself. My husband will grill the chicken tenders, and then guests can add their own.

Enjoy, my friends!