First of all, let me tell you what inspired this salad. My friends and I went to this place called Teqa last weekend. It is a Mexican restaurant with amazing margaritas (or so I hear). As I sat down, I pulled out the menu, and ordered my salad leaving my friends rolling their eyes as usual. I expected a regular salad, you know, greens, some chicken and minimal dressing. But this salad was no regular salad. It was like a Mexican fiesta in my mouth.
I’m still not certain what all the ingredients were, but the dressing was spicy, the chicken was fresh and hot, and they used my favorite greens – spinach. When I woke up the next day,… Okay, that sounded like I ate the salad, collapsed and woke up the next day. I meant after I had eaten, partied, slept, and then woken up, I became obsessed with making my own spicy salad. Well, I did, and it tasted great, so I thought I’d share the recipe!
¼ a pound of chicken breast
5 ounces of spinach (or however much you want)
1 medium peach or nectarine
1 medium tomato
1 teaspoon of low-fat Italian dressing
½ a cup of strawberries
A dash of hot pepper (or yaji – suya pepper – if you can find any)
A dash of salt
½ a teaspoon of curry powder
½ a teaspoon of jerk sauce
No-stick cooking spray
You really may not need both jerk sauce and hot pepper. It all depends on your tolerance level.
The only major task is grilling the chicken. Before you make the salad, let the chicken soak in a marinade of the jerk sauce, hot pepper, salt, and curry powder. Leave it for about half an hour.
Since chicken breast has its own juices, start by just lightly spraying a pan with cooking spray, just so it doesn’t stick. Heat up the pan, and then put in the spiced up chicken breast. Because we didn’t dice up the chicken, it would take a little longer to cook, but it’d be really juicy once it’s done. Keep it on for about 20 minutes regularly flipping sides (depending on how well done you want your chicken to be). Take it off the heat and chop it up!
It’s a salad, so you can layer it how you’d like. I like to put greens on the bottom, fruits on the next level, and then chicken on the top to give it that multi-colored look. And then put on your low-fat dressing making sure you spread it across evenly. If you’re not satisfied with the spice from the chicken, put the dressing in a dish, and mix it with some pepper or yaji, before you put it over the salad. The presentation is half the success, right?
Instead of spinach, you could use lettuce. Also, you are not tied down to these particular fruits so take this as an opportunity to mix up your fruits. I also tried this with romaine lettuce, blueberries, and pears (instead of spinach, strawberries, and peaches). Frankly, I preferred the original options, but this is mostly because I like my veggies dark, green, and spinachy. If you try another other variations, please share!
The great thing about a salad is that it’s easy to put together, and it contains few calories. If you use the sizes above, it’s only about 300 calories and it is pretty filling. The bad thing is that your ingredients need to be fresh for it to taste great. But if you make the effort, it can be a great culinary adventure.
Now, I haven’t come up with a name for this awesome salad. What say you? Any suggestions?
Cheers Eights & Weights!