Friday, August 21, 2015

Copy Cat Panera Mediterranean Chicken Salad

3 chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 cup dry quinoa
4 stalks kale, washed and chopped into smaller pieces
1-2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped into smaller pieces
1 medium tomato, chopped (no need to seed)
2-3 green onions, sliced, including green part
1 cup English cucumber, sliced into half moons
1/2 cup kalamata olives (whole or sliced in half)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3/4-1 cup feta cheese (divided)

Rinse quinoa and place in a medium pan with 2 cups of water and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then put on simmer and cover. Cook 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Place quinoa in the freezer to cool down to room temperature.

While the quinoa is cooking, pound the chicken and make the marinade/dressing (see recipe below). Place raw chicken and about half the marinade in a gallon bag and marinade on the counter while preparing the rest of the salad.

Heat grill to high.

Dry kale with paper towels and place in a large salad bowl. Add 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and massage the kale until it turns a bright green and becomes a little limp. This will take out the bitter flavor of the kale.

Place the romaine in the bowl with the kale and mix thoroughly. Add chopped tomato, green oinion, cucumbers, olives, almonds and 1/2 cup feta cheese on top of the greens.

Remove chicken from marinade and toss the marinade. Grill chicken on medium until juices run clear (about 15 minutes or so). Cut up chicken into think slices.

Remove quinoa from freezer and put about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the quinoa on top of the salad. Top with chicken.

Just before serving add the salad dressing (should be about half left) and toss salad gently. Top salad with additional feta cheese and serve in large salad bowls.

Makes 4 generous dinner salads with possible leftovers.

Greek Marinade and salad dressing
1/2 cup good red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 larger cloves of garlic, pressed
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp evaporated cane sugar
1-2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup good olive oil

Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in a large measuring cup or mixing bowl. Whisk in the olive oil slowly to emulsify the dressing. It should come together easily, but if it looks oily, it means you're pouring the olive oil in too quickly. SLOW DOWN!

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