Friday, July 24, 2015

Foodie Fridays: Chicken, Queso Fresco, and Strawberry Salad

Earlier in the summer, ads for Wendy's Strawberry Fields Chicken Salad were everywhere.  One of my favorite bloggers at Olla-Podrida even posted her version of this summery salad.  I checked out the Wendy's website and found that the ingredients were fairly simple and accessible, so I decided to try making my own variation.  I am not a big fan of fruits in savory dishes, but, surprisingly, the strawberries were excellent in the salad.  In fact, I would even say I prefer them to tomatoes, which is something I never would have dreamed would be the case!

Fresh strawberries are often very tart, so much so that sometimes the only way to make them edible is by macerating them in sugar first.  Their tartness makes them perfect for this salad, though, as the balsamic dressing has just enough sweetness to complement the berries.  I left out the bacon in my salad, but bacon lovers may prefer to leave it in.  Try making your own version of this salad and see what you think -- you may never go back to tomatoes again!

Chicken, Queso Fresco, and Strawberry Salad

Salad greens (I used baby butter lettuce)
2 T. balsamic vinaigrette*
1/2 C. diced chicken
2 T. crumbled queso fresco**
1-2 T. chopped pecans (or roasted sunflower seeds or pepitas)
5-6 medium strawberries, quartered

Place the salad greens in a shallow bowl.  Toss with 1 T. of the dressing.  Layer on the remaining ingredients, top with the remaining dressing, and serve.  Serves 1.

*I used Marzetti Simply Dressed Light Balsamic Vinaigrette

**The original salad is made with blue cheese, which you can substitute if you like.  Feta, goat cheese, or even fresh mozzarella would likely also work.

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