Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you have been enjoying your weekend. We finally had a fairly nice weekend in Colorado, warmer temperatures and no snow! Having the sun out and seeing the snow melt started to get me excited for spring. I know we are still weeks away from it here, but a girl can hope. Spring puts me in the mood for fresher, lighter meals like this Teriyaki Chicken and Spinach Salad.
There are so many fresh and flavorful parts to this salad..and the color…tell me it’s not a gorgeous salad to look at! I love the pops of ruby red and bright orange against the dark green of the spinach. It’s a salad that’s begging for you to take a big bite, and that was exactly what I did.
I don’t often make salads that only use spinach because frankly raw spinach tends to give me a stomach ache if I eat too much of it. I learned my lesson years ago while on my honeymoon. I ordered a giant spinach salad and found myself curled up in a ball the rest of the afternoon cursing the healthy green leaf. However, I just couldn’t resist with this salad and I ate it in small portions instead of a colossal amount like I did on my honeymoon. There was something so perfect about the teriyaki flavors combined with the hearty spinach leaves.
This spinach salad is loaded with texture and you know how I love texture in my food. You have the crunch of the toasted almonds, the chewiness of the dried cranberries, and the soft juiciness of those gorgeous mandarin oranges. This beats any salad you can order at a Chinese restaurant!
Let’s talk about the teriyaki portion of this salad. I marinated the chicken in some teriyaki sauce for a couple hours, then baked it off in the oven. You could of course grill or sauté the chicken, whatever is easiest for you. Marinating the chicken makes it extra moist, yeah I said the gross ‘m’ word, and flavorful. For another hit of teriyaki flavor I made a teriyaki vinaigrette. Whoa! This was a tasty dressing! It had just the right amount of saltiness from the teriyaki sauce, sweetness from the honey, and a fresh zippiness from the fresh ginger. I’m glad I have leftovers of the vinaigrette so I can use it for all my other salads and chicken that I have during the week! Let’s pretend all the snow is gone and spring is already here and eat fresh colorful salads like this Teriyaki Chicken and Spinach Salad! Capiche?!
- 10 ounce bag baby spinach
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
- 10.5 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Marinate the chicken breasts in a 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Cook the chicken breasts then cool them slightly before dicing them into 1/2 inch pieces.
- In a large bowl add in all of the spinach.
- Top the spinach with the diced chicken, toasted almond, mandarin oranges, and dried cranberries.
- In a glass measuring cup whisk together all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
- Pour enough of the vinaigrette over the salad to coat it, then toss everything together.
- The vinaigrette can also be served on the side.