So far this summer in New Hampshire, we’ve had sweltering heat interspersed with rainy cool weather. Given the quick changes, it’s been hard to grocery shop effectively — who knows when it’s going to be way too hot to cook? Part of my solution has been to buy things that I can cook ahead, sometime when the heat isn’t too bad, and then use in multiple dishes. Like grilling a bunch of chicken on the indoor grill (which is relatively cool). Or roasting a bunch of veggies to eat all week. Or, sometimes, just buying something someone at the co-op made (they are good about listing ingredients).
This salad started as a “this is what’s left in the fridge” kind of meal, but I loved it and spent some time refining the elements for what I think is a pretty perfect flavor profile. The particular combination of fresh baby spinach, ripe sweet summer strawberries, crisp and fresh cucumbers, and a honey mustard dressing just works for me.
Summer Strawberry Spinach Salad
Make ahead, if you want to:
Grilled spicy chicken
- 1 lb. chicken tenders (or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- pinch or more of cayenne pepper — adjust to suit your tastes, but probably no more than 1/4 t, even if you’re Denise
Mix up the spices, and then sprinkle evenly over the chicken strips, both sides. You may have leftovers, which you can bag and save for another meal. Grill chicken until done. Cut the strips into cubes. You can use this hot, if you’ve just grilled it, or grill ahead and chill it for an even quicker weeknight meal.
Honey Dijon Dressing
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used this), (Denise has made this)
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons high-quality olive oil
Whisk first four ingredients together until the mustard and honey are smoothly blended. Then whisk in the vinegar, followed by the olive oil.
- Two large handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 medium cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 lb. strawberries, stemmed and chopped
Compose your salad by creating a bed of spinach topped by the chopped cucumber, strawberries, and chicken, drizzled with the dressing.
This amount of ingredients makes two generous salads or three slightly smaller salads, with a good bit of leftover chicken that you can use for another meal.