Grilled Chicken Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Dressing

by Sally on July 28, 2014 · 5 comments

in Chicken & Turkey, Salads and Dressings, The Daniel Plan

Grilled Chicken Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette|AFoodCentricLife.com

A good salad must have great dressing.  What’s a Caesar without the Caesar dressing or a classic steakhouse wedge without the creamy blue? For my latest grilled chicken salad, it’s all about a creamy, purple, blueberry balsamic dressing. 

Pureeing Fruit into a Vinaigrette

Recently I posted a creamy mango-citrus vinaigrette. What gives that recipe the creaminess is the pureed mango.  So I began to experiment with other fruit and vinaigrette combinations.

blueberries | AFoodCentricLife.com

Beautiful Blueberry Balsamic

Into my Vitamix went fresh summer Driscoll’s blueberries, blueberry balsamic vinegar (more on that later), olive oil and a little shallot. Puree until smooth, then strain out leftover tiny bits through a fine small sieve. The result was amazing. Brilliant purple, creamy and delicious. I wanted to just drink the dressing. But since you can’t really do that (umm, well), I created this new salad to go with it.

Grilled Chicken Salad

Crisp greens, grilled chicken breast, fresh blueberries, buttery avocado, roasted beets and a sprinkle of chopped walnuts – plus my new blueberry balsamic dressing – make a terrific summer main course salad. Packed with color and nutrition, I hope you enjoy it.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette|AFoodCentricLife.com

Two Ways to Make It: Blueberry Balsamic and Standard Balsamic

I made the dressing two ways. First, with an amazing blueberry balsamic vinegar I discovered, and second with standard Balsamic vinegar plus a little honey. You can make it both ways, but do yourself a favor. Treat yourself and order some of the blueberry balsamic vinegar and let it blow your socks off. And try a few other flavors too (notes below).

These vinegars can be ordered from shop in Fort Collins, Colorado, called Crescendo. You might roll your eyes and think I am a whacko for suggesting you try these vinegars.  When I discover new specialty ingredients I love to share them with you. These “finds” are my secret weapons in the kitchen.

Artisan Vinegars & Crescendo, Fort Collins, Colorado

Dustin and Lesli, who own Crescendo, share my passion for special vingegars and what you can do with them. And do they know vinegar! Call them. Talk with them. Tell them I sent you. Phone number (970) 232-9155. They are such nice people!

Try a few small bottles, like the 100 – 200 ml sizes. I have apple, date, black forest raspberry, calamansi (an incredible Philippine citrus that smells like 7-Up) and a ginger-grape-lemon balsamic. But the star of this post is the gorgeous purple blueberry balsamic.

These are not just run-of-the-mill vinegars with added fruit concentrate or sweetener. These vinegars, made in Germany, use pure crushed fruit fermented into fruit wine, then into vinegar and barrel aged in the alps. The flavors are like no other vinegars I’ve ever had…and I have two dozen bottles of vinegar in my pantry. Yeah, I am serious about vinegar.

Are they cheap versus the stuff at the grocery store? No. Are they worth every penny? Yes. Is filet mignon more expensive than ground beef? Of course. You get it.

pounded chicken breasts|AFoodCentricLife.com

Pound Chicken Breasts for Even Grilling

To quickly and easily grill perfect chicken breasts in about 7 minutes, first pound them to an even thickness. Use a meat pounder or the flat side of a small, heavy fry pan.

Place boneless, skinless breasts (without the tender) in a heavy zip bag, then pound gently. The goal is to get the thick end more like the thin end. You don’t want to destroy the chicken flesh, just even it out.

Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and granulated garlic, then drizzle with olive oil. Place chicken breasts (smooth side down to start) on clean grill grates with one end placed at 10:00. Grill for two minutes. then move chicken t0 the 2:00 position for two more minutes. This 10:00 to 2:00 technique give you perfect grill marks.

After that, turn the chicken breasts and cook for approximately another 3 minutes or until chicken is firm when touched. Although it is hard to measure thin cuts of chicken accurately with a digital thermometer, chicken should reach 165º to be safe.

Remove from grill and allow to stand for a few minutes. For the salad, chop into cubes or slice.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette|AFoodCentricLife.com

Grilled Chicken Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Dressing

Blueberry balsamic dressing is the star of this summery main course salad. Make the dressing with either blueberry balsamic vinegar (notes in post) or good balsamic vinegar to start. I realize when you read this recipe you probably won’t have this speciality vinegar in your pantry. For something really special, read the post and order some of the speciality vinegar. It is totally amazing. To roast beets, read here.

Serves 2 (easily doubles)

Ingredients

Dressing (yield 1/2 cup)

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (I used Driscolls)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (either blueberry balsamic or regular)
  • 2 teaspoons honey (if using regular balsamic)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot (optional)
  • A few sprinkles of salt and pepper

Salad

  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Salt, pepper and granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Crisp, clean salad greens (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 of an avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup diced roasted beets (optional)

Directions

  1. Place oil, blueberries, blueberry balsamic vinegar or regular balsamic plus honey, and shallot into blender and puree until smooth. Pour through a small fine strainer to get rid of small bits of blueberry skin. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Place chicken breast in a heavy zip bag and seal out air. Pound thick end flatter using the smooth side of a meat mallet, a meat pounder or the flat side of a frying pan. Don’t hit it so hard that you destroy the chicken. Use gentle but firm, even pound until the thicker end is flatter like the shin end. Remove from the bag and sprinkle wit salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Drizzle with oil.
  3. Heat a grill to hot, scrape grates clean and oil to prevent sticking. Alternatively use a grill pan indoors. Place the smooth side of the chicken breast down first with one end facing 10:00. Grill for approximately two minutes. Then move the end to facing 2:00. and grill for two more minutes. This will give you nice grill marks. Turn the chicken and grill for approximately another 3 minutes or until chicken is firm to the touch (165º). Remove chicken and allow to stand for a few minutes. Slice or dice into cubes for the salad.
  4. Place salad greens in two bowls or plates and divide the goodies between the two. Serve dressing on the side, a few tablespoons per person. Extra keeps well covered and refrigerated.

Note – Extra dressing thickens up after it sits or is refrigerated. Thin with a little water and whisk until smooth again, or if you have the blueberry balsamic vinegar, thin with that.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anne F. July 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Thanks for supporting a business in our beautiful city of Fort Collins!!

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2 Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon July 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Sally, you have outdone yourself. This looks so delicious and healthy.

Madonna

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3 Sally July 29, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Thanks Madonna! You’ve got to try those vinegars! With your love of citrus, you especially will love the Calamansi!

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4 Angela November 26, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Love the taste of the calamansi balsam vinegar I bought but am looking for recipes…do u have any?

Reply

5 Sally November 26, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Hi Angela. I am crazy about the Calamansi vinegar! I use it in vinaigrettes, so no special recipes. For a quick vinaigrette use 2 tablespoons of oil to 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. You can use a light flavored oil for the Calamansi to shine through, or olive oil. Both a really good. For even more citrus flavor, try a lemon olive oil. For the two of, I whisk 2 teaspoons of oil with 1 teaspoon of the vinegar and toss it with greens. ou use less dressing that way versus drizzling. Taste and adjust the vinegar up a little for your taste if preferred as it has such a great taste. Use it over chicken too, or seafood like shrimp, scallops or halibut. Vinaigrettes make great sauces too, nut just salad dressings. Did you try the raspberry, blueberry or any other flavors? I have about 6-7 of them now!

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