Hellllooo beautiful summer! I have been waiting for you. The sun. The warmth. The farmer’s market. Maxi dresses. Longer days. Sangria! Flip flops. Bike rides. Pool days. Dinner on the patio. Weddings! I could go on for days…
In the Midwest we like to cram as many fun things into summer as physically possible before the darkness of winter descends upon us again. I used to wish we had summer weather year-round, but I no longer think the grass is greener on the other side. I appreciate summer more because it is fleeting and it begs a sense of urgency to make it count. Sometimes this leads to, I’m going to say it, a little laziness in the kitchen. A busy schedule tempts us to grab the takeout menu and neglect the fruits and veggies that are finally in season; yesterday I narrowly avoided pulling into the Chinese takeout parking lot. Whew, I’m so glad I didn’t because I made this beautiful, fresh salad instead.
Greek salad is my idea of a perfect recipe. There’s salty, sweet, fresh, crunchy, creamy, and tangy elements…it pleases everyone! Instead of making individual salads I love to make one HUGE salad and then serve it family style. I topped the salad with yogurt marinated chicken, fresh veggies from the farmer’s market, locally made fresh feta cheese (pictured above…to die for!), and homemade Greek dressing. I cannot wait for you guys try this yogurt marinated chicken; the greek yogurt tenderizes the chicken resulting in perfectly juicy grilled chicken. I’m not sure I will be able to make chicken any other way now; its that delicious! I recommend pairing this salad with an ice cold glass of Sangria!
Yogurt marinated chicken
- 1 c. plain greek yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lemon (zest and juice)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 lb. thinly sliced chicken breast
- 2 large (or 3 small) heads romaine lettuce, washed and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
- 1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced
- 1/2 c. kalamata olives
- 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
- pinch dried oregano or basil
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
To make the marinade combine greek yogurt, garlic, lemon zest and juice, cumin, oregano, and coriander in a large zip top bag; squeeze the bag to combine the ingredients.
Add the raw chicken and season with salt and pepper. Seal the zip top bag and toss to coat each piece of chicken with the marinade. At this point you can choose to marinate anywhere from 30 minutes to 6-8 hours in the refrigerator. The first time I made the chicken I marinated it for several hours, but yesterday I was in a hurry and 30 minutes did the job.
Preheat your grill on medium heat (about 400 degrees) and spray the grates with nonstick spray. Grill chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side until done in the middle (if you are using regular chicken breast cook for 8 minutes on each side).
Remove chicken from the grill and set aside to rest.
Wash and spin dry the romaine lettuce then cut into bite size pieces.
Add the lettuce to a large salad bowl.
Cut the peeled cucumber in half lengthwise and then slice into bite size pieces. Add the cucumber on top of the lettuce.
Cut the tomato into wedges and add to the salad bowl.
Add the kalamata olives to the salad next.
Slice the grilled chicken into thin strips and add to the salad. Last, but not least, crumble the feta cheese over all.
To make the dressing add vinegar, dijon, dried herbs, olive oil, and salt/pepper to a sealable container (or mason jar). (I used a small container that usually holds the fruit in my lunchbox.) Put the lid on the container and shake vigorously to combine the ingredients; this is the easiest way to make salad dressing! No bowl or whisk required!
Scoop salad onto large dinner plates and drizzle with salad dressing. A satisfying and healthy dinner that I know will be made again and again! Enjoy!