Spring Eats: Spring Greens with Chicken & Raspberry Vinaigrette

Spring is a rather temperamental season, especially where I come from. Some days are bone-chilling cold and others are strip-all-your-clothes-off hot. For the days when it's extra warm, the last thing you want to do is fill the house with more heat and eat something heavy. This salad is a perfect solution for those warm days. It's also fantastic for busy weeknights. I personally love spring greens because they have a nice variety. Crisp spinach, spicy arugula and light red lettuce come together for the perfect leafy combo. It's great on top of sandwiches and burgers or as a main course with some sliced chicken or steak, lots of veggies, fruit and your vinaigrette of choice.

A theme you'll most likely see in a lot of my spring and summer recipes is the inclusion of fruit, especially in salads. I love the combination of sweet and savory. There's this extra level of flavor in the result that transcends them each as individuals. Using fruit as a garnish or in dressings, you have the option to take things extra sweet or give it a little tartness. It all depends on what exactly you use. This Raspberry Vinaigrette is sweet but it has a tart bite that pairs beautifully with the mild flavor of the chicken and spiciness from the arugula. 

For the vinaigrette:
1 pint Raspberries
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Honey
1 tablespoon Sweet Onion, chopped
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
salt and pepper

For the Salad:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
1 lb. Spring Greens (Arugula, Red Lettuce, Spinach combination)
2 Tomatoes, cut in wedges
1/2 Cucumber, halved length-wise and sliced
1 Carrot, shredded
salt and pepper

1. Preheat a skillet or the grill to medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. If using a skillet, pour the olive oil into the pan. If using a grill, lightly spray with cooking spray. Add the chicken to the skillet (or grill) and cook about 8-10 minutes per side until cooked through and no longer pink inside. Remove from the skillet to a cutting board and let sit a few minutes while you prepare the dressing and salad.

2. Place raspberries in a food process and blend till smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, sweet onion and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to emulsify and slowly add in olive oil. Once well-combined, incorporate the raspberry puree stirring slow until the mixture is thick and mixed completely. Adjust any seasoning to taste.

3. In a large bowl, mix together greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. Slice the chicken and place in a small bowl. Assemble the salads individually topped with chicken and raspberry vinaigrette.