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All the flavors just POP in this fast, easy, and healthy salad!! The Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette doubles as marinade + salad dressing to save time!!
Honey Apple Cider Marinade and Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mustard (I like either dijon or honey mustard)
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Chicken and Salad
about 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (I use thinly sliced breasts)
about 6 cups lettuce (I used romaine and kale; fresh spinach or your favorite greens may be substituted)
1 large apple, cored and sliced very thin (try Envy, Gala, Fuji, or similar)
1 cup aged white cheddar, crumbled or grated (I used Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar)
1/2 cup dried orange-flavored cranberries (I use Trader Joe’s; plain dried cranberries may be substituted)
1/2 cup nuts (sliced almonds, candied pecans, spiced walnuts, cashews, etc.)
Marinade and Vinaigrette:
In a medium glass jar or container with a lid, add all ingredients, put the lid on and shake vigorously until combined; taste and tweak as necessary to taste.
Set half aside to be used later as a vinaigrette over the salad.
Chicken and Salad:
Add chicken to a large ziptop plastic bag, add the remaining half of the marinade, seal bag, toss to coat chicken evenly; set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes; I marinated overnight and recommend it if you have time because the chicken turns out so tender and juicy. If marinating longer than 20 to 30 minutes, place bag in the fridge.
Preheat grill to high heat (or if using a grill pan, heat it over high heat on the stove). Add chicken to grill, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes per side, or as necessary until chicken reaches an internal temp of 165F. All grills, grillpans, and thickness of chicken vary so cooking time will vary. Allow chicken to rest off the heat on a platter while you prep the salad.
To a large bowl or platter or individual bowls, add the lettuce, apple, cheddar, cranberries, and almonds; set aside.
Slice the chicken, add to the salad, drizzle reserved vinaigrette over salad as desired, toss to combine, and serve immediately. If you don’t use all the vinaigrette, extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week.