This is another recipe I did in collaboration with The Little Market. A Spring Mix Salad with a Parmesan Cilantro Vinaigrette Dressing and Chicken. You can find all these pieces like the bowls and salad servers over on their site. I love working with their team because of their mission. The Little Market nonprofit organization dedicated to the economic self-sufficiency of women worldwide through dignified income opportunities. Our mission is anchored in the fundamental belief that every person has the right to safe jobs and fair, livable wages. Each piece is made following fair-trade principles, ultimately contributing to a life-changing sustainable income and giving back to the people who made it.
So many people are against salads…but I think they are just used to not great salads honestly. I personally love a good and hearty salad. But a delicious salad needs a great dressing, add-ins, and a good lettuce. You need the add-ins for sure, otherwise sure, salad can be boring! But this salad is anything but boring.
Now, this one is based off of one of my favorite salads in St. Louis from Gerard Craft at Cinder House. It is by no means his recipe or probably as tasty. But I do love that salad and think this one is definitely inspired by that and the delicious dressing he makes.
I am a fan of a spring mix or dark greens. But if you have a specific lettuce in your house already or one you love most, give it a try still. Also, if you plan on replacing the apples, I believe pink ladies are the best for this, be sure you pick a tart apple instead of an overly sweet one. You can also make your dressing in advance, but it will thicken in the fridge. It can save in the fridge in an air-tight container for about one week.
Tips on Ingredients for the best Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette Dressing:
Usually the better the ingredients, the better your food will taste. However, I do like to go over which ingredients that you should have the best quality for. And the others that I think don’t need to be the highest quality. But again, if you don’t have access to high quality, it will still be delicious! I also let you know if a certain type or style is best.
These are the items that I have notes for. Whether it’s to buy the best quality or if there are specific notes about that ingredient.
– Protein: You can definitely use precooked chicken or a completely different protein like salmon, red meat, tofu, or tempeh. Whatever floats your boat. I would recommend the same seasoning listed below for the cook, but anything more complicated might throw off the flavor profile.
– Cilantro: Yes, this calls for cilantro! If you are cilantro adverse than this recipe probably isn’t for you. But if you insist on making it, you can try it with parsley, but again…I haven’t tried that so that’s on you to make that call. I personally love cilantro.
– Garlic: If you are a super garlic lover, sure throw in an extra clove of garlic. But again remember, these are raw cloves, so they will be strong!
– Parmesan: Yes, of course you can use vegan parmesan for this one! But whether real cheese or vegan cheese, it’s a staple to the flavor profile here.
– Dressing: The dressing here is half the recipe if we’re being honest. It’s what gives it the great flavor throughout. You can of course buy a dressing from the grocery store, but this way you’re making the full recipe.
– Apples: I did mention this above, but I truly love the tartness that Pink Ladies bring to this salad. Something similar instead of something too sweet or too tart.
– Lettuce: Again, mentioned above, but I am a fan of a good spring mix or dark leafy greens like kale and spinach or even arugula. You can of course use your favorite lettuce. Whatever you have on hand or whatever is your favorite.
– Sunflower seeds: I use these often for a crunch in my salad. Since I’m allergic to nuts I can’t use those. But you can feel free to swap them for almonds or pecans.
– Goat Cheese: I think a good goat cheese always comes in a block. It just tastes better. Find a 6oz block at the store and that will be a great size for your 4 salads.
Tips and Knowledge to make the best Salad:
These tips are helpful for when you are making this salad and cilantro vinaigrette dressing. Outside of the tips for ingredients above, these are tips on how to do something or why what I’ve listed in the recipe is necessary.
– Dressing: Making this dressing is super fast and easy. Everything goes into the blender and, voila! You can make this ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge. However, it may need to be shaken hard as it might separate and harder due to the oil.
– Chicken: Please always check the temperature or inside of the chicken to make sure it is fully cooked before eating. You can buy a meat thermometer online or you can just slice a piece of the biggest part of the breast to make sure it’s no longer pink.
– Plating: Feel free to plate however you want. I’m all about presentation so I like to mix everything but the protein and hold back a bit of each of the toppings. Then I mix those in a bowl with the dressing and top with some of the extra toppings and protein.
– Storing: If you are just making this for 1-2 people, I would suggest not mixing all of your salad before serving. Separate out the ingredients you won’t be eating all of and store in air tight containers in the fridge. Everything should last for a few days!
Other Soups and Salads to Try:
- 1 cup fresh cilantro can include stems
- 3-5 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice about 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1-2 Tbsp water
- salt and pepper to taste
Chicken (or protein)
- 1 lb chicken breasts
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- 1/8 cayenne
- 10 oz spring mix
- 2 Tbsp cilantro loosely packed
- 2 apples sliced or diced
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 5 oz goat cheese crumbled
- chicken breasts from above, cooked and sliced
- dressing from above (you may have extra)
- Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If it needs a little liquid, you can add in water one teaspoon at a time.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix all your seasonings.
- In a large bowl (or directly in a pan) cover chicken in oil, then coat in seasonings.
- Place onto the pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes (until internal temp is 165° F). If you want the chicken browned on the outside, first cook the chicken on the stove over medium-high for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to the oven for the remainder of the cook.
- Let the chicken rest for about 8-10 minutes. Slice.
- Toss lettuce, cilantro, apples, sunflower seeds, goat cheese, and dressing until mixed well.
- Top with chicken and serve.