This is not a little dinner salad to go along with a meal – THIS IS THE MEAL!! I absolutely LOVE this salad and I am sure you will to. This has everything you want in a supper salad from the lettuce, fresh avocado slices, kalamata olives, ripe tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, red and green onion and of course cheeses. The winner of this dish is the seasoned chicken that tops it off and you have a dinner salad you will want to make over and over again.
This salad I invented years ago when I went out with a few friends for lunch. I ordered a salad that had this wonderful warm chicken amongst all these yum yums of fresh vegetables but there was still a few things missing that I thought would really make this salad pop. With the inspiration of that very expensive smaller salad I had purchased I had invented this and I will tell you – try this and you will not be sorry you did. Make enough since you will want to have this for lunch the next day and don’t be surprised if you have it for dinner again to. 🙂
A great compliment to this salad is my Best Thick Cut Butter Dripping Garlic Bread
A few of my recipes you will need ahead of time when putting it all together and I will have those in the ingredient list. What I placed in this salad would taste well together but you can add/replace your own favorite veggies to this one and make it your own. That is what cooking is all about, finding the flavors you are looking for 🙂
This will make 4 Super Supper Salads or you can make only 2 and save the rest for another day or use the chicken in a really good tasting chicken sandwich on a soft sub roll. Yummy!!!
Things You Will Need:
2 Cutting Board
1 Sharp Knife (for veggies)
1 Serrated Knife (for cooked chicken
Fork (or you can use the Tongs when cutting the chicken)
3 Large Bowls
1 Medium Bowl
½ Sheet Pan Lined with Parchment Paper (DO NOT USE a flat cookie sheet pan – you need a pan with sides or you will have a mess in your oven)
Gloves or Large Spoon
Instant Read Thermometer
- 4 Large Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts (can be left frozen or you can thaw)
- 1 recipe of my “REAL” Italian Salad Dressing and Marinade
- 1 cup of my 3 Grated Cheese Blend
- 2 Cups Dry Parsley
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (cut into thin strips – as shown)
- 4 Stalks of Green Onions (cut the white bottom with roots off and chop up the rest – as shown)
- ¼ Red Onion (You may not use all this – cut super fine strips – almost transparent)
- 10 Kalamata Pitted Olives – (Slice these) (You can leave these whole if you wish then you will need 6-8 per Salad) you should be able to find these in a glass jar next to the other olives in your store be sure they are pitted.
- 2 Firm Fresh Roma Tomatoes (Slice these into thin wedges about 10-12 pieces Use the serrated knife for this – it will give you more control over the cutting)
- 2 Avocadoes (Do not open these until ready to assemble and serve)
- 1 Head of Romaine Lettuce – Go here to learn how to clean – Romaine Lettuce Cleaning and Preparation
- 1 Block of Farmers Cheese Shredded – about 1 cup per/salad I use the brand of farmers made by Weyauwega since it is softer than most and has a mild creamier flavor but if you cannot find this brand then a mild shredded mozzarella can be used.
Special Note; Many of the farmer cheeses are dry and have a bit of bite to them so if you do not find the brand I suggested be sure to use the mozzarella the others are dry and will not taste as well with this salad, trust me I know!
Dressings of Choice that go well with this Salad
“REAL” Italian Salad Dressing and Marinade
Any Creamy Dressing would work but stay away from the bitter ones 🙂
Preheat oven the day of baking to 350° F (177° C)
Convection Oven 325° F (163° C)
The chicken breasts here were still frozen and since you have to marinade them there is no need to thaw, plus as they thaw they will take in more of the flavor of the dressing. If you have thawed chicken feel free to use this but you will still need to marinade for 24 hours.
Place the breasts in 1 of the large bowls and pour over them the entire amount of dressing “REAL” Italian Salad Dressing and Marinade you made. Use your gloved hand or spoon and be sure to cover all the seasonings on each breast as shown. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to marinade.
If Frozen – Place in refrigerator 1-2 days ahead to allow them to thaw slowly
Reposition them and rub the dressing gently over the breast, recover and continue this for the next two days until thawed and ready to bake. Keep in refrigerator.
If Thawed – Place in refrigerator 24 hours before use
The next morning you can reposition them and rub the dressing into the breasts recover and leave in refrigerator until ready to bake.
The frozen meat and the cold of the refrigerator mixed with the dressing will make them look as shown below – nothing is wrong here this is perfectly normal. Continue to mix it around and rub the seasonings and oil into the meat until they are thawed over the next 2 days.
Once the chicken is thawed from frozen or the 24 hours has passed if thawed already, it is now time to bake them. Pull each one out of the bowl letting the oils drip off and place on the sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Discard the dressing. Using 1 cup of parsley heavily sprinkle the tops of each breast as shown – enough to cover. Place in oven and let bake for about 30-40 minutes until very lightly golden.
Read – Time Saver Key Note below for how long to cook if doing ahead of time.
While this is baking you can get all your veggies cut as instructed above in the ingredient section of this post but do not open the avocados until you are about to assemble and serve. Also time to grate your farmers or mozzarella cheese if you had not done this already. You want all the prep done on the vegetables and cheese before it is time to assemble the salads.
Time Saver Key Note: I do all this ahead of time while my meat is marinating so I have less to do the day I plan on making the chicken and all I have left to cut the day of is the avocados and the chicken breasts. It makes for an easy simple and fast dinner this way.
Time Saver Key Note: You can make the chicken ahead of time as well but you do not want to cook it all the way (20 minutes per side) also you want to store it in a good sealed container to stay moist. If placed in container uncut finish the cooking process the day you plan to make the salads by laying them on a sheet pan and finish the cooking process – usually another 15-20 minutes per side at 350° F – they should be heated through and juices running clear. Proceed to cut as instructed below. If you cooked part way and cut them, wrap each breast in foil individually place in tight storage container and refrigerate. The day of making the salads, place each foiled packet on a sheet pan (closed) and heat through until done then carefully open the foil and place each precut breast on each salad.
If the breasts are getting that nice light golden and you may notice as shown below a white like film surrounding them it is time to flip them over. First pull away with tongs or fork the white film if any and then flip them over – with the other 1 cup of parsley sprinkle the tops again to cover the other side. Place back in the oven for another 30 minutes or until a nice even golden color. The inside temp when done should be 185° F and the juices run clear.
While the chicken is finishing you can start to assemble your salads.
Use either large flat plates or like I have shown, large salad plates with a slight well in the center.
Divide your lettuce amongst the bowls tearing to a little larger than bite size pieces, while placing the layers of lettuce layer in the cut vegetables except the tomatoes and the avocados
You want some of everything throughout the salad. I place a little of each of these throughout while I am making up the salads. Start with 3 Grated Cheese Blend sprinkle it over the first layer of lettuce, add a little red and green onion, then a few pieces of the yellow pepper, some olives and then a little of the farmers cheese and continue this until you reach the last bit of lettuce in each bowl but remember to reserve enough of each for a final presentation. At the top of the salad place your last bit of veggies and now place 3 wedges of tomatoes per salad. Open your avocados and place moderately thin slices around the top so they are able to be seen it should come out to about 4-6 slices per salad depending on how thick you cut them. End with a nice amount of farmers or mozzarella cheese in the center which is the bed for your chicken pieces.
Your chicken should be ready now if not almost ready. Here is where you will have to work fast. When done, remove sheet pan from oven and place the chicken breasts on the other cutting board and with the serrated knife make long angled cuts as shown. It is hot so you may need a fork to guide your cuts. Place the cut pieces on top of the cheese so the heat of the chicken will start to melt the cheese slightly. 1 breast per salad. Top with your dressing of choice and serve. I like to use either Caesar or “REAL” Italian Salad Dressing and Marinade both compliment this salad well but, as said earlier, any creamy like salad dressing or Vinaigrette will work. 🙂