We had a strange month of chilly cloudy weather here in LA, but the Summer heat has returned, which means so have my Summer salads. I made this one to take to the beach when my family came to visit last weekend. It makes great use of some seasonal favorites and also stands on its own as a satisfying meal with the addition of chicken and avocado. And what says Summer if not a little homemade BBQ sauce? The sauce itself was a giant hit. When I asked my 8-year old cousin if she was ready for lunch, she replied that she wasn’t hungry, until she tried the BBQ chicken and then asked for her own plate of course. I will definitely be using this recipe again for some more grilling favorites.
Strawberry Spinach and BBQ Chicken Salad (Adapted from Closet Cooking) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)
For the Chipotle Apricot BBQ Sauce:
- 1/2 c organic ketchup
- 2 Tbsp organic pure maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp apricot jam
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp gluten-free soy sauce (tamari) or liquid aminos
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped
- 2–3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp organic dijon mustard
- pinch of sea salt
For the Salad:
- 3/4 c. cooked organic white quinoa
- 10 oz organic baby spinach
- 1 lb organic chicken tenderloins, trimmed of fat
- 1 c organic strawberries, sliced
- 1–2 avocados, diced
- 1/4 cup goat’s milk cheddar cheese, crumbled (optional)
- 2 organic green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 recipe Chipotle Apricot BBQ sauce (recipe above)
Make the BBQ Sauce and Chicken: Bring all bbq sauce ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, Remove and let cool. If desired, use an immersion blender to crush bits of garlic and chipotle pepper for a smoother sauce. I prefer mine to have a biut of texture.
Line a baking dish with foil and pour a thin layer of bbq sauce on the bottom. Place chicken tenderloins on top of sauce and turn to coat. Cook chicken for 15 minutes, and turn using tongs. Set oven to broil for a nice carmalization on the sauce, and finish cooking 5 more minutes.
Assemble the Salad: Place spinach in a large bowl and toss with cooked quinoa. Top the salad with sliced strawberries and green onions, diced avocado, and crumbled cheese (if using). Serve with chicken tenderloins and extra BBQ sauce for dressing.