Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Swiss Chard and Grilled Chicken Salad

Time to use up some of those wonderful fall/winter vegetables before they are gone!

I've been experimenting with different greens this year.  One of my new favorites is Swiss Chard.  Swiss Chard is a beautiful leafy green vegetable that is very popular along the Mediterranean, and is loaded with nutrients.  

Until recently I had only eaten this vegetable sauteed, but one day while I was lunching at the fresh salad and hot food bar at Whole Foods I came across a salad made with Swiss Chard.  Wow! What a wonderful base for a salad.  Raw, tender leaves mixed with various yummy toppings and drizzled with a nice dressing...oh this is excellent!

I just knew that I had to make my own salad using this great vegetable.  So off I went to buy some Swiss Chard.  There are two types you can get, the original Swiss Chard with white stalks or ribs, and a Rainbow Swiss Chard that has varied colors of ribs.  Of course I chose the Rainbow Swiss Chard because they were so pretty.  One difference between the two that you should know is that the ribs on the Rainbow are quite tough and the thick parts should be removed for ease of eating.  The white ones are less tough and can be eaten with little problems.

See how pretty these are?

So basically you just substitute the Swiss Chard for the lettuce your would normally use in the salad.  Add your favorite toppings and go!  I chose to grill some chicken, and add cranberries and walnuts, plus some luscious goat cheese for my toppings.  A splash of balsamic vinaigrette, homemade or purchased works equally well. (See below for my simple homemade version)  What you end up with is a wonderful salad that is good for you!  Aside from all just tastes darn good!

Hope you enjoy this!

Swiss Chard and Grilled Chicken Salad

Serves 4

½ lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
salt & pepper
1 T olive oil
1 bunch of Rainbow or Red Swiss Chard, washed and woody stems removed
1/3 c dried cranberries
¼ c toasted walnuts
2 oz goat cheese crumbled
¼ c balsamic vinaigrette

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Salt and pepper chicken breasts to taste.  Add chicken to the hot skillet and cook, stirring frequently, 5-6 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.  

On a large platter or in a bowl place torn Swiss chard, cranberries, walnuts, and goat cheese.  Add chicken.  Add balsamic vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat.  Serve.

Beth's Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes: 3/4 cup

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Store in a small mason jar or airtight container for 3-4 days.

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