This healthy salad has pretty much all the colors of the rainbow (if you kind of merge indigo and violet together) plus pink. Pink is my favorite color and it’s not really fair that it’s not a part of the official rainbow, so I made sure it was included by making a nice pink dressing. Despite how creamy it looks, the dressing is dairy-free–the creaminess comes from the walnuts and shallots, and the color is thanks to the raspberries. It’s inspired by the creamy shallot dressing from my pan-seared chicken, orange, and walnut salad, but this one’s even better because it’s pink.
Let’s go over ROYGBIV and make sure we’ve got our bases covered. Red=strawberries, orange=chicken, yellow=bell pepper, green=avocado and arugula, blue=blueberries, indigo/violet=purple cabbage. We’re good, right?
Just take a gander at it. It’s totally orange, right? When I asked her what color she thought it was (if not orange), her response was, “I don’t know–chicken colored?”
I think we can all agree that chicken is not a color.
But if, like my mother, you’re not satisfied with chicken representing the color orange (or if you’d like to make a vegetarian version of this salad), you could substitute chopped apricots, mangos, or even oranges for the chicken.
Rainbow Salad with Grilled Chicken and Raspberry Walnut Dressing
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
For the raspberry walnut dressing:
1 small shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon raspberry wine vinegar*
2/3 cup walnut halves or pieces
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the chicken:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon bittersweet smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Avocado oil or ghee, for cooking
For the salad:
5 ounces baby arugula
8 ounces strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, deseeded, and chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 purple cabbage, cored and finely chopped
*You could probably substitute red wine vinegar, but since it’s not as sweet as the raspberry vinegar, you might want to add a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup (if you’re not on a Whole30, of course) to balance the flavors.
To make the dressing, pour the raspberry vinegar over the chopped shallot and let it macerate for a few minutes. Meanwhile, pulse the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add the shallot and vinegar, raspberries, and salt to the food processor and pulse to form a paste. With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream. If you’d like a thinner dressing, add up to 1/4 cup water in the same manner.
To make the chicken, mix the olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, turmeric, and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Slice each piece of chicken in half horizontally to form two thinner cutlets. Place each cutlet between two pieces of parchment paper on a cutting board and pound out to an even thickness. Rub the spice and oil mixture evenly onto both sides of the chicken cutlets.
Heat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat. Oil the grates or pan with a little avocado oil or ghee. When the pan is very hot, add the chicken in a single layer, using two pans or cooking in batches if necessary. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil while you put together the salad.
To assemble the salad, line a large platter or baking sheet with arugula. Arrange the strawberries in a strip, leave a little space for the chicken, and then arrange the bell pepper, avocado, blueberries, and cabbage in consecutive strips. Slice the chicken and add it between the strawberries and peppers. Serve the salad with the dressing.