I recreated Legend’s Strawberry Walnut Salad with my own twist. And you know what? I think I beat it in taste! lol. Here is a side to side comparison.
So I’m sharing with you my recipe in my recreation of this flavor explosive delish salad that I had recently at Legend’s Restaurant in Columbia, TN. And for the most part, it’s pretty healthy too. The prep time is very simple and minimal. And you can take short cuts, but if you want the best possible flavors, do it this way below. I’m not a professional recipe writer, but I think I can lead you in the right direction here! This will serve three people a good size dinner salad (for us two it’s dinner one night and a mini salad for each of us for lunch next day), but it would also be a wonderful side or salad course for a dinner party of six. It makes for a great spring salad as the strawberries start to come in early and our tastebuds are just awakened by their ripeness! The flavors of the marinated chicken, the blue cheese against against a crunchy bacon bites, and the strength of the balsamic vinaigrette along with the teriyaki taste of the chicken – just absolutely sends you to the moon over each bite. As said, you can vary this to your liking. But here is how I did it for the flavor enhancing experience. I wanted to post not only to share it, but so I can come back and do it again and remember what I did! Sorry I do not have exact ounces or sizes here.
I also cut up my chicken into more bite size instead of the thin finger slices so we don’t have to cut the chicken and send strawberries and walnuts flying across the room while watching TV . The chicken will need to be marinated ahead of time for best flavor and I’ve provided both the marinade and the dressings that I used here. And you may as well go ahead and crisp up the entire package of bacon when you cook it because you know if you don’t eat it on the salad, you or someone will later! Anytime you can cook extra at once, do it and add it to the next meal!
Strawberry Walnut Chicken Salad Ingredients:
- Small Container of Spring Mix Salad
- Chicken Tenders or Chicken Breast cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks
- Package of Thick Cut Bacon
- Package of Walnuts (I used big walnuts and broke them in half instead of chopped walnut fragments.)
- Package of Dried Cranberries
- Package of Blue Cheese crumbles
- Package of Fresh Strawberries
- Homemade Balsamic Vinegar Dressing*
- Homemade Chicken Marinade**
A day ahead or 12 hours ahead. Marinate the chicken. You can do several steps ahead of time, if you want, which works great if you are having company. I just did the marinade and then did the rest an hour before we ate. It only takes about an hour to fix the salad in total time. About what it is for any meal at home.
So you don’t cross contaminate, I found it’s good to go ahead and put lettuce in the bowls first, wash and slice the strawberries and place them around the outsides of the salad for presentation appeal, break up the walnuts and add them, toss on the blue cheese, cranberries, and set the salads in the fridge while you make the dressing, and cook the bacon and the chicken.
So I used the best thick cut country style bacon I could find. Full on flavor and makes for hefty good chunks of bacon crunch in the salad. I cooked it in a black skillet. You can do your own variation but I’ve found this is my favorite way to cook the bacon! Make sure it’s good and crispy! Set aside on a plate with a paper towel to soak up the grease! This is probably the fattest part of the recipe – but aren’t they saying now we need our fats to help us absorb nutrients? So there’s that!
I then poured off some of the bacon grease and left only a little in the skillet, enough to cook the chicken in. Sorry, you don’t have to do this – you can use a different way to cook your chicken but this is what I did. The skillet was still hot and I poured in the chicken and its marinade and basically just “stir fried” it till it was done (no longer pink in the middle). There was a little bit of extra liquid left, but I used tongs to pick up the chicken and place onto the salads. I crumbled the bacon onto the salad. It’s ok to put hot chicken on a cold salad. George said “mmm the hot chicken on a cold salad is really good”.
Then I poured the dressing on the salad and used a “squirtable” balsamic glaze over the whole dish going back and forth in Z motions!
*Sonya’s Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
- Olive Oil (2 – 3 Tablespoons)
- Balsamic Vinegar (2-3 Tablespoons)
- “Couple of Squirts” of Lemon Juice
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- A shake or two of red pepper flakes (I used “jalapeño dust” that George had in the cabinet)
Self explanatory here – just mix it all together. Most of this is a shake or two of each! The best cooks don’t measure right? This above was good for George and I to have a big dinner salad and a side salad for lunch the next day. It would also serve 6 people if having a small salad with your meal. Hope that helps.
**Sonya’s Sassy Honey and Soy Sauce Chicken Marinade:
- Olive Oil
- Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbs Minced Garlic (I keep a jar in the fridge since we use it so much)
- Couple of shakes of onion powder
I put in enough olive oil and soy and honey to cover the chicken. I placed it in a storage baggie, massaging it good to mix the ingredients. And don’t be shy on the honey either. Note: I plan to use this marinade for making a chicken dinner one night! The flavor was incredible of the chicken itself. Use the marinade for 12 hours or overnight. The flavors soaked in wonderfully in that amount of time. Hmmm, I bet this marinade will go with shrimp, beef, or pork too?
Well, there ya have it. I hope you enjoy it! Better get dressed and ready and head to work! It’s only Thursday but looking forward to the weekend. Have not been able to work on ANY of my TO DO LIST this week. Too many appointments and not enough free time. Then I cooked last night. And our dryer went down! George has ordered parts. I’m so proud of him! The parts come in today and hopefully he will be able to fix and we’ll be in business for the weekend. Clean and soft dry clothes are always nice! 😉