Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe

Get ready for a flavor explosion with this Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing recipe. It's a refreshing, satisfying meal packed with taste and nutrients that can be whipped up in no time. The juicy strawberries, creamy avocado, and tender grilled chicken are beautifully offset by the tangy lemon poppy seed dressing, making it the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe
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Photos of Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe

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Most of the ingredients for this recipe should be readily available in your pantry or local supermarket. However, you might need to pick up some fresh produce such as strawberries, baby spinach, and avocados. Also, if you prefer, you can substitute the light mayonnaise in the dressing for Greek yogurt for a healthier option.

Ingredients for Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Light mayonnaise: Used as the base for the lemon poppy seed dressing, adding creaminess without too much fat.

Lemon zest and juice: Adds a refreshing citrusy tang to the dressing.

Honey: Balances out the acidity of the lemon with a touch of sweetness.

Poppy seeds: Adds a slight crunch and nutty flavor to the dressing.

Chicken breasts: The protein in this salad, which you'll grill for added flavor.

Baby spinach: Adds a fresh, leafy base for the salad.

Strawberries: Adds a sweet, fruity element to the salad.

Walnuts: Provides a crunchy texture and healthy fats.

Avocado: Offers a creamy, healthy fat to the salad.

Feta cheese: Brings a tangy, salty flavor to the salad.

Red onion: Gives a punch of flavor and a crisp texture.

One reader, Kiri Arias says:

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This salad is a game-changer! The combination of fresh strawberries, creamy avocado, and grilled chicken is simply divine. The lemon poppy seed dressing adds a zesty kick that ties everything together. It's a burst of flavors in every bite, and the perfect healthy meal option. Highly recommended!

Kiri Arias

Essential Techniques for Making Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

Grill the chicken: Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then grill over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes per side until cooked through. Let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Prepare the lemon poppy seed dressing: Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, poppy seeds, and salt until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble the salad: Layer the baby spinach and grilled chicken on plates or in a large salad bowl. Top with sliced strawberries, walnuts, diced avocado, crumbled feta cheese, and thinly sliced red onion.

Dress the salad: Spoon the lemon poppy seed dressing over the salad just before serving, ensuring each portion is evenly coated.

How To Make Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Sweet and refreshing, this spinach salad pops with flavor and colors. It’s tossed with avocado, walnut, and feta in a creamy lemon mayo dressing.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

For Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing:

  • ½cuplight mayonnaise
  • 1tbsplemon zest
  • 3tbspfresh lemon juice
  • 3tbsphoney
  • tsppoppy seeds
  • ¼tspsalt,or to taste

For Salad:

  • 1lbboneless skinless chicken breasts,grilled then cooled for 10 minutes and diced
  • 8ozbaby spinach
  • cupsstrawberries,sliced
  • ¾cupfishers walnuts,chopped, lightly toasted
  • 1largeavocado,peeled and diced
  • 4ozfeta cheese,crumbled
  • cupred onion,chopped

Instructions

  1. For the lemon poppy seed dressing, whisk all ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  2. For the salad, layer spinach and chicken among 4 plates or into 1 large salad bowl, then layer over remaining salad ingredients.

  3. Spoon dressing over salad and serve immediately.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 521.54kcal
  • Fat: 29.60g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.73g
  • Trans Fat: 0.01g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 10.69g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 8.52g
  • Carbohydrates: 33.65g
  • Fiber: 8.20g
  • Sugar: 21.59g
  • Protein: 34.00g
  • Cholesterol: 108.01mg
  • Sodium: 719.97mg
  • Calcium: 257.00mg
  • Potassium: 1239.80mg
  • Iron: 3.18mg
  • Vitamin A: 314.69µg
  • Vitamin C: 85.53mg

Pro Tip for Perfecting the Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

When grilling the chicken for this salad, it's important to ensure it's cooked thoroughly but not overdone. Overcooking can result in a dry, tough texture that won't complement the other ingredients well. To achieve the perfect balance, use a meat thermometer and cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure it's safe to eat and still juicy. Additionally, let the chicken rest for a few minutes after grilling before slicing it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it even more tender and flavorful.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Salad Recipe

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables and fruits in advance to save time during the actual cooking process.

One-pot wonders: Opt for recipes that allow you to cook everything in a single pot or pan to minimize cleanup time.

Invest in quality tools: High-quality knives and kitchen gadgets can make food preparation more efficient.

Batch cooking: Prepare large quantities of staple ingredients and freeze them for quick and easy meal assembly later.

Organize your kitchen: Keep your kitchen well-organized to easily locate ingredients and utensils while cooking.

Follow the recipe: Read through the entire recipe before starting to ensure you have all the ingredients and understand the steps.

Substitute Ingredients For Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe

  • light mayonnaise - Substitute with Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is a healthier alternative to mayonnaise and provides a creamy texture for the dressing.

  • lemon zest - Substitute with orange zest: Orange zest can add a citrusy flavor similar to lemon zest, but with a slightly sweeter note.

  • fresh lemon juice - Substitute with white wine vinegar: White wine vinegar can provide the tangy acidity that lemon juice offers in the dressing.

  • honey - Substitute with maple syrup: Maple syrup can add a similar sweetness and depth of flavor to the dressing.

  • poppy seeds - Substitute with chia seeds: Chia seeds can provide a similar crunchy texture and nutritional benefits as poppy seeds.

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts - Substitute with tofu: Tofu can be marinated and grilled to provide a plant-based protein option for the salad.

  • baby spinach - Substitute with kale: Kale can be used as a heartier alternative to spinach and provides a robust texture.

  • strawberries - Substitute with raspberries: Raspberries offer a similar sweet-tart flavor and vibrant color to the salad.

  • walnuts - Substitute with almonds: Almonds can provide a similar nutty crunch and flavor to the salad.

  • avocado - Substitute with cucumber: Cucumber can add a refreshing crunch and mild flavor to the salad.

  • feta cheese - Substitute with goat cheese: Goat cheese offers a tangy and creamy alternative to feta cheese.

  • red onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can provide a milder and sweeter flavor compared to red onions in the salad.

How to Beautifully Present This Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the spinach and chicken in an artful manner, ensuring each ingredient is visible and appealing.
  2. Incorporate color contrast: Integrate the vibrant red strawberries, green avocado, and deep green spinach to create a visually stunning dish.
  3. Garnish with precision: Sprinkle the poppy seeds delicately over the salad to add a touch of elegance and texture.
  4. Emphasize freshness: Ensure the strawberries and avocado are perfectly ripe, and the spinach is crisp and vibrant to showcase the quality of the ingredients.
  5. Balance flavors and textures: Create a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, and crunchy elements to tantalize the palate.
  6. Highlight the chicken: Slice the grilled chicken into thin, elegant pieces and arrange them on top of the salad to showcase the protein component.
  7. Use high-quality serving ware: Present the salad on elegant, minimalist plates to allow the vibrant colors of the ingredients to shine through.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making This Salad Recipe

  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen tool used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing ingredients. It can be used to make dressings, sauces, and to chop nuts or fruits for salads.
  • Grill: A grill is used for cooking the chicken, imparting a smoky flavor and attractive grill marks.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is essential for combining the salad ingredients and tossing them with the dressing.
  • Whisk: A whisk is used to blend the ingredients for the lemon poppy seed dressing until smooth and well combined.
  • Knife: A knife is necessary for slicing the strawberries, avocado, and chicken for the salad.
  • Cutting board: A cutting board provides a stable surface for slicing and preparing the ingredients for the salad.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: These are used to accurately measure the ingredients for the lemon poppy seed dressing.
  • Salad spinner: A salad spinner is useful for washing and drying the spinach before assembling the salad.
  • Cheese grater: If using whole block feta cheese, a cheese grater is needed to grate the cheese for the salad.
  • Tongs: Tongs are helpful for flipping the chicken on the grill and for tossing the salad ingredients with the dressing.

Storing and Freezing Tips for Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

  • To store the strawberry avocado spinach salad with grilled chicken and lemon poppy seed dressing, keep the dressing separate from the salad ingredients until ready to serve. This will prevent the spinach from wilting and the other ingredients from becoming soggy.
  • Store the prepared lemon poppy seed dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Give it a good shake or stir before using.
  • If you have leftover grilled chicken, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can use it for salads, sandwiches, or wraps.
  • To keep the avocado fresh and prevent browning, squeeze some lemon juice over the cut surface, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • If you have leftover strawberries, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. They can be used in other salads, smoothies, or as a topping for yogurt or oatmeal.
  • Freezing the salad components is not recommended, as the texture and quality of the ingredients will deteriorate once thawed. This salad is best enjoyed fresh.

How To Reheat Leftover Salad

  • To reheat leftover strawberry avocado spinach salad with grilled chicken and lemon poppy seed dressing, start by separating the ingredients. Remove the chicken, strawberries, avocado, and feta cheese from the spinach and store them in separate containers in the refrigerator.
  • When ready to reheat, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the grilled chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  • While the chicken is reheating, place the spinach in a large bowl and set it aside. If the lemon poppy seed dressing has been stored separately, give it a quick whisk to recombine the ingredients.
  • Once the chicken is heated, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly before slicing it into bite-sized pieces.
  • Arrange the spinach on serving plates or in a large salad bowl. Top the spinach with the sliced grilled chicken, strawberries, avocado, feta cheese, and walnuts.
  • Drizzle the desired amount of lemon poppy seed dressing over the salad and serve immediately. The contrast of the warm chicken and the cool, refreshing salad ingredients will create a delightful and satisfying meal.
  • If you prefer your salad chilled, you can reheat the chicken as described above, then let it cool completely before assembling the salad. This way, you can enjoy the leftover strawberry avocado spinach salad without compromising the texture or flavor of the ingredients.

Interesting Trivia About Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

Spinach is a rich source of iron, which is essential for the production of hemoglobin in the blood. This makes it a great addition to a salad, providing both nutrition and flavor.

Is Making This Salad at Home Cost-Effective?

The strawberry avocado spinach salad with grilled chicken and lemon poppy seed dressing is relatively cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, such as chicken breasts, spinach, strawberries, and avocado, are generally affordable and widely available. The lemon poppy seed dressing can be made using basic pantry items. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $25-$30, making it a budget-friendly option. The overall verdict rating for this recipe would be 9/10 for its balance of flavors, nutritional value, and affordability.

Is This Salad Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

The strawberry avocado spinach salad with grilled chicken and lemon poppy seed dressing is a nutritious and well-balanced meal. Here's why:

  • Spinach: Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium, spinach is a nutrient-dense leafy green that provides essential nutrients for overall health.
  • Grilled chicken: A lean protein source that helps build and repair tissues, maintain muscle mass, and keep you feeling full and satisfied.
  • Strawberries: Packed with vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, strawberries support immune function, digestion, and protect against cellular damage.
  • Avocado: A great source of healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, and vitamins K, C, and B6, avocados promote heart health and aid in nutrient absorption.
  • Walnuts: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E, walnuts support brain function and heart health.
  • Feta cheese: Provides calcium and protein, which are essential for bone health and muscle maintenance.
  • Red onion: Contains quercetin, a potent antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and supports overall health.

The lemon poppy seed dressing, while tasty, could be made even healthier with a few tweaks:

  • Swap the light mayonnaise for Greek yogurt to reduce fat content and increase protein.
  • Reduce the amount of honey to lower the sugar content, or use a natural sugar substitute like stevia.
  • Add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard for an extra tang and boost of antioxidants.
  • Consider adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, which may help regulate blood sugar levels and promote digestion.

To make the salad even more nutritious, you could:

  • Add a handful of mixed greens like arugula or kale for extra vitamins and minerals.
  • Sprinkle some chia or flax seeds for a boost of fiber and omega-3s.
  • Include a variety of colorful vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or cucumbers for added antioxidants and crunch.
  • Experiment with different protein sources like grilled shrimp, tofu, or quinoa for variety and added nutrients.

Editor's Opinion on This Delightful Salad Creation

This recipe is a delightful combination of fresh, vibrant flavors and textures. The creamy avocado, juicy strawberries, and crunchy walnuts complement the tender grilled chicken and earthy spinach perfectly. The lemon poppy seed dressing adds a zesty and sweet note, tying everything together. It's a well-balanced and satisfying dish that is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. The combination of ingredients is not only delicious but also provides a variety of nutrients, making it a wholesome and nutritious choice. Overall, this salad is a winner in terms of taste, presentation, and nutritional value.

Enhance Your Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for pairing with the tangy lemon poppy seed dressing.
Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze: Tender grilled asparagus drizzled with a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze, a delightful accompaniment to the strawberry avocado spinach salad.
Honey Glazed Carrots: Sweet and tender honey glazed carrots, adding a pop of color and sweetness to the plate.
Quinoa and Black Bean Salad: A hearty and protein-packed quinoa and black bean salad, providing a satisfying and nutritious side to the grilled chicken and fresh strawberries.
Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Risotto: Creamy and flavorful caramelized onion and mushroom risotto, a luxurious side dish that complements the vibrant flavors of the salad.

Similar Salad Recipes to Try

Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad: This recipe combines grilled vegetables with fluffy quinoa for a hearty and nutritious salad option.
Mango Salsa Chicken: A tropical twist on grilled chicken, this recipe features a vibrant mango salsa that adds a burst of flavor to the dish.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: Indulge in the rich and comforting flavors of this creamy tomato basil soup, perfect for a cozy night in.
Berry Cobbler: Satisfy your sweet tooth with this classic berry cobbler, featuring a buttery crust and juicy, sweet berries.

Appetizers and Desserts That Complement This Salad Recipe

Appetizers:
Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a delectable appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a savory mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and serve hot for a crowd-pleasing starter.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp: Whip up a tropical-inspired appetizer by coating shrimp in a crispy coconut breading and frying until golden brown. Serve with a tangy dipping sauce for a delightful flavor combination.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of baked apples, cinnamon, and a crispy oat topping. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful treat.

Why trust this Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of fresh, wholesome ingredients. The strawberries and avocado provide a burst of vibrant flavors, while the grilled chicken adds a satisfying protein element. The spinach offers a dose of essential nutrients, and the lemon poppy seed dressing ties everything together with its zesty and refreshing taste. Trust in the quality of the ingredients, from the succulent chicken breasts to the crisp spinach and juicy strawberries. This recipe promises a delightful and nutritious dining experience.

Share your thoughts on this delicious and nutritious Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
FAQ:
Can I use a different type of nut in the salad?
Yes, you can definitely use a different type of nut in the salad. Almonds or pecans would be great alternatives to walnuts.
Can I make the lemon poppy seed dressing ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can prepare the lemon poppy seed dressing ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just give it a good stir before using.
Can I substitute the chicken with another protein?
Of course! Grilled shrimp or tofu would be delicious alternatives to the grilled chicken in this salad.
Can I use a different type of cheese in the salad?
Certainly! If you're not a fan of feta cheese, you can use goat cheese or even shredded mozzarella for a different flavor.
Can I prepare the salad in advance?
While the dressing can be prepared ahead of time, I recommend assembling the salad just before serving to keep the ingredients fresh and crisp.

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