I shared in our strawberries and cream rolls recipe how much I love summer produce-especially berries. Amongst all the berry options out there, strawberries are my absolute favorite. There is nothing better than a perfectly ripe, juicy strawberry, and since we’re at peak strawberry season, they’re easy to come by. Even the organic strawberries are inexpensive at our grocery store right now. This strawberry fields salad takes full advantage of the season, with strawberries in the salad and the dressing. The dressing also doubles as a marinade for the chicken, so it’s all quick and easy!
There used to be a restaurant called Leaf in Austin that made amazing salads. When I worked downtown, that was my go-to spot if I was buying lunch instead of bringing it. Sadly, Leaf is closed now. This strawberry fields salad is a recreation of my memory of the salad I used to buy there. I added my own twist with a strawberry marinade for the chicken. You can cook the chicken on the grill or in a cast iron pan on the stove. I tried it both ways when I was developing this recipe, and both were delicious!
If you make this strawberry fields salad, please let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or on social media.
Strawberry Fields Salad
For the Dressing/Marinade
- 1 cup roughly chopped strawberries
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
For Salad Assembly
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 8 cups spinach
- 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
- 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 cup candied pecans, chopped
Make the Dressing/Marinade
- In a food processor, combine 1 cup chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend until smooth.
- Pour off 1/2 cup of the strawberry mixture into a jar. Add the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and shake. This is the salad dressing.
- To the remaining strawberry mixture, add 1 tsp paprika and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Mix to combine. This is the chicken marinade.
Prep/Cook the Chicken
- If your chicken breasts are thick, slice them in half to help them cook faster. Combine the raw chicken breasts with the marinade in a bowl and toss to coat. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least half an hour and up to a day before cooking.
- When ready too cook, heat the grill to medium heat. Cook the chicken breasts until cooked through, about five minutes per side. If you're cooking in cast iron on the stove, heat the pan over medium heat and cook about five minutes per side until cooked through. Be careful not to disturb the chicken for the first few minutes of cooking to allow a crust to start to form.
Assemble the Salad
- Slice the chicken, then build the salad starting with the spinach, then add the strawberries, goat cheese, bacon, pecans, and sliced chicken. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy!
- If you aren't eating all the salad at once, I would suggest storing the ingredients separately and assembling when you're ready to eat. The cooked chicken and salad dressing will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Shake the dressing before using it to recombine the ingredients.