Summer is here! The snow is (finally) melted. The weather has warmed up. People find their way out of their homes and into their backyards. They dust off and fire up their grills. And at the end of a hot summer day, what’s better than a fresh salad with grilled meats? It’s light, healthy, and has very little clean-up. Perfect for warm summer evenings on the porch.
In this salad, freshness meets comfort. Beautiful veggies, tossed with herbs, lime, and olive oil create a nice, light base. Sweet roasted peppers with salty olives and hot pepperoncini add dimension. And grilled chicken marinaded in balsamic vinegar brings some charred, tangy goodness to the party. But the show stopper in this dish is truly the homemade pesto. You don’t need much, but the pesto adds that bit of comfort to round out the acidity of the salad. Mix everything together, and you have one amazing summer salad!
Note: To make this a vegetarian dish, leave out the chicken. Serve with a pita or toasted naan. Definitely hearty enough for a meal!
- Olive oil
- 2-3 sliced red, yellow, or orange peppers
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 heads Romaine lettuce
- ½ bunch cilantro (or parsley) leaves, chopped
- 3-4 large tomatoes, diced (or 1 pint cherry tomatoes)
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- Sliced pepperoncini, jarred
- Kalamata or Castelvetrano olives - whatever looks good to you at your market's salad bar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 2TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 TBSP Olive oil
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ c pine nuts
- ½ c fresh basil leaves
- 6 oz feta cheese
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ c olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425. Place the onions and peppers on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet. Add 2TBSP olive oil and ½ tsp salt. Toss the veggies with your hands. Spread into a single layer. (They can be touching) Roast in oven for about 25 minutes, until edges of peppers and onions turn brown. Let cool.
- Place pine nuts in a small skillet on low heat. Let toast, about 8 to 10 minutes. When you begin to smell the nuts, they are done. Watch closely so that they do not burn. Take nuts off of heat and let cool.
- Marinade in a big Ziploc bag: chicken, balsamic vinegar, olive oiL, garlic powder, oregano, ½ tsp salt. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, while the grill is heating up.
- In a food processor, combine ingredients for pesto, through the garlic clove. Stream in ¼ c olive oil. Combine until smooth.
- Grill chicken on medium heat, flipping it every 3minutes, for 12 minutes, or until it reaches 165-degrees. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice.
- Toss lettuce, cilantro (or parsley). tomatoes, cucumber with juice of 1 lime, pinch of salt, and 2tsp olive oil. Add roasted peppers and onions, olives, pepperoncini. Toss. Top with chicken with about 2TBSP fresh pesto.
Use fresh, colorful, beautiful ingredients. If you can find them in your market’s produce section or salad bar, buy your onions and peppers already sliced. (Huge time-saver!) And be sure to make a trip to your market’s salad bar for a nice assortment of olives. They really make a difference, compared to canned black olives.
Add colorful tomatoes, so flavorful in the summertime.
Marinade your chicken in some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, and dried oregano. Then grill your meat for about 12 minutes on medium, turning over every 3 minutes. Chicken should be taken off of the grill when it is at 165-degrees.
It is sooooo easy to make fresh pesto and sooooo worth it! Basil, garlic, feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, and a little bit of salt in a blender or food processor and viola – PESTO!
Assemble to make one gorgeous salad! Opa!