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Monday Munchies: From the Garden Italian Grilled Chicken Salad


Sometimes you just crave a nice, hardy, fresh, salad…not just rabbit food, but something healthy & hardy. This is a GREAT salad recipe…and if you have a food garden you can get a lot of the ingredients straight from your harvest.

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 cups cut lettuce (mine was heirloom slobolt lettuce from my garden, but a nice romaine would do well, too.)
  • 3 tbs cut, fresh spinach
  • 2 tbs Alaskan Sweet Peas (again, heirloom harvest from my own garden)
  • 1 tbs fresh oregano (from my garden)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbs Mexican 3-Cheese blend
  • 1 tbs almond slices
  • 1-2 tbs Italian dressing (for salad)  (Mine is the Olive Garden brand and it is AAMMMAAAZZZIINNNGGG!)
  • Fresh boneless/skinless chicken breast tender cut.
  • 3 cups Italian dressing (to marinate the chicken tenders)

Other things you’ll need:

  • 2 plates
  • Ziploc bag
  • Skillet & spatula
  • Cooking spray
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp cutting knife
  • Measuring cups & spoons

I added measurements for the salad ingredients above, but really, it’s a salad…it doesn’t have to be super specific. Add more or less of whatever you like.

If you know you want to make this salad, the first thing you need to prep is the meat. To do this, place a ziploc bag on a plate (just in case of any leaks). Space the chicken tenders out next to each other in the bag. Take whatever brand of Italian dressing you have (I used Wishbone for the meat) & completely cover the meat in the bag. You’ll want to move the bag around so the dressing gets in between & under each chicken tender. Place this in the fridge the night before to allow it to marinate. Allow it to marinate between 8-10 hours, or more.

If you’re getting some of your ingredients from your gardIMG_2948en you’ll want to do this before you cook the meat. I LOVE to eat what I actually grow…I know where it came from & I know what’s been put on it…and it just makes you feel good to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Before you cut your garden goods, make sure the sheers you’re using have been sanitized. Cut the big lettuce & spinach leaves near the base, leaving the smaller ones to continue growing. Cut off some random sprigs of oregano & continue on your way. If you’re using sweet peas from your garden, they can be somewhat difficult to pick. Make sure you pick the big, swollen pods that are green. Hold the actual plant with one hand (so you don’t damage the main plant) & twist the pod & pull it with the other.

IMG_2949Next…you need to wash your new harvest! It might seem easier to just run it under the sink in a colander, but you’ll be better off hand-rinsing every individual piece. I found
quite a bit of dirt that was difficult to get off & probably would’ve been eaten in the salad had I not washed it as carefully as I did. Be gentle with it, especially the lettuce & spinach. These are very delicate plants & you don’t want to damage them right off the bat. Once you’ve rinsed them, pat them down carefully with a paper towel then place them in the fridge to cool off & crispen up before you prep your salad.

While your greens are chilling in the fridge, take out the chicken tenders you put in to IMG_3021marinate the night before. Spray a skillet with cooking oil, turn the stove to medium heat, & place 4-5 chicken tenders on to cook. I used 4 in mine- 3 just to eat & 1 to shred as a salad topping. On medium heat, allow each side of the chicken to cook 4-5 minutes before flipping. You’ll want to cook these for a total of about 20-25 minutes, flipping them every few minutes so the chicken doesn’t burn. When done, your chicken tenders should have a nice golden-brown crispy layer on each side. YUM!

Once the chicken has cooked, put it back in the fridge to chill. You don’t want it to wilt your nice yummy salad!

Next, on to the salad. Chop 6-8 large leaves of lettuce & place on the plate. Chop the spinach & oregano & place on the salad. Snap the sweet pea pods to get the peas out. Place on the salad. Next, place your sweet cherry tomatoes, cheese, and almonds on the salad. Get the chicken tenders back out of the fridge, place 3 of them around the edge of your salad, shred 1 finely & place on top of your salad. Next, get your favorite Italian salad dressing out- mine is the Olive Garden brand. It’s about $3-4 at the grocery store but it is SOOOOO worth it! Douse your salad (and the surrounding chicken tenders) with the dressing, sit down with a nice cup of tea, fork, & knife…then dig in & enjoy!

Bon appétit!

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