This dinner is so simple and so perfect for those hot and humid summer nights. I really can't think of a dinner that I crave more right now. It's light, healthy and really versatile. You can really change it up to suit your needs. If you need it to be vegan, leave out the feta and chicken. If you're looking for vegetarian, swap the chicken for shrimp or salmon. If you don't like onions, just leave them out. I think the dressing makes this salad really delicious so you can add in or take out anything you like. It's also very quick. I can have this dinner on the table in 30-40 minutes start to finish. My kids really like it, although they will pick around the tomatoes and onions. If I pair this salad with one of my favorite Albariños, their whining about the tomatoes and onions becomes tolerable! I recommend eating this salad al fresco and definitely with a glass of white wine. Enjoy this light summer dinner!
I like to eat this salad with Pita too and a sprinkle of Za'atar seasoning for an extra tasty Mediterranean kick.
It's helpful to scrape out the cucumbers. Sometimes the seeds can make the salad too watery.
I like the cut the Feta into small cubes. Thinly slice the red onion, leave the pitted olives whole and half the tomatoes. The cucumbers can be cut into 1/4 inch half rounds.
I like the chicken to be really tender so I try to marinate it over night. If you forget, marinating for a few hours will work too. I also try and pound it really flat so it only takes about 5 minutes per side to grill.
Here are some of the brands that I really like.
2 lbs organic chicken breasts, pounded thin to about 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large head organic romaine lettuce, chopped
1 large English cucumber, halved the long way and seeds scraped, cut into half rounds
3/4 cup Feta cheese, cubed
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Peperoncini peppers for garnish -add as many as you like
For the dressing-
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced or grated on a microplane
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon of maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pita* and Za'atar - optional
-Za'atar is a spice blend generally made up of Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram, Sesame Seeds, salt, and Sumac.
Cutting board (I like to use two - one for veggies and one for chicken)
Measuring cups and spoons
Microplane - optional
Large serving dish
-Preferably the night before, place the chicken in a large plastic bag (Ziploc style) and pound the chicken to about a 1/4 inch thick. The link below with show how I flatten the chicken and what tools I use.
Dump in the 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Make sure it's sealed and shake the bag for about 30 seconds. Pour the chicken into the baking dish and let it sit covered in the fridge over night or for a least 2 hours.
-After the chicken has marinaded, take it out of the fridge and prepare the grill. If grilling isn't convenient, you can bake the chicken as well. Make sure your grill is hot. I spray my grill with an organic canola oil and grill about five minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the grill and set on a cutting board. Let it cool for 10 minutes and thinly slice.
-In the meantime, layer all the veggies in your serving platter/bowl. Start with the romaine, then cucumbers, feta, olives, tomatoes, onions, chicken and garnish with the Peperoncini.
-For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients into the medium bowl. Whisk vigorously for 15-20 seconds. The dressing lasts in the fridge for about a week. I love homemade salad dressing.
-This serves 3-4 adults.
*The gluten free pita that I like to use is called My Bread. I always find it at Whole Foods. It is delicious. Hopefully soon I will start experimenting with making my own GF pita.
Gorgeous head of Romaine!