Summer is almost here! Living way up in the mountains, we get snow almost always through May (and sometimes June), but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t crave delicious summery foods like strawberries! This salad is an easy weeknight meal that you can throw together in no time, and a tasty way to start using up some of the fresh spring produce that is now hitting the shelves. The ingredients follow the Whole30, paleo, and keto diets, so make this sweet and tangy salad for any small gatherings you have to fit the needs of many! The strawberry vinaigrette brings in all the flavors for the perfect spring salad!
I love adding mint to berry salads for the taste, but mint also contains a number of health benefits.
Some of the health benefits of mint
Mint’s unique and refreshing taste lends it a versatility for every meal of the day. Although we commonly use mint and mint flavorings to freshen up our mouths or even the air of our cars and houses, mint has a number of health benefits for the internal workings of the human body.
Mint has been known to calm inflammation, and can be used as a relief for stomach aches. A study from 2007 found that 75% of people suffering from IBS symptoms that used peppermint oil extract were likely to experience reduced symptoms. Although many of the studies conducted surrounding IBS patients and mint involve mint capsules or extracts, mint leaves could potentially give the same results.
Mint is not only beneficial for those with an isolate case of stomach pains, but can also be used as a treatment for pregnant women experiencing morning sickness. Additionally, topical oils that contain mint have been found extremely effective in reducing the pain and damage that comes with breast feeding.
Lastly, mint has been linked to reducing the severity of cold symptoms, as well as reducing the severity of asthma symptoms. One of the anti-inflammatory chemicals found in mint known as rosmarinic acid might be the source behind this strong anti-inflammatory response, although many experiments that have been conducted over the years have concluded that mint extracts might have a stronger effect on the immune system than by digesting mint. Regardless, mint holds a number of beneficial qualities that can improve a person’s health.
How to make Spring Salad with Chicken and Strawberry Vinaigrette
Making this salad is straight forward and simple. I find it best to grill a few chicken breasts either on my grill on on the George Foreman ahead of time so that I can easily throw this salad together for dinner or even lunch. The chicken can be served hot or cold on the salad; it really depends on what you are in the mood for!
For this recipe, you won’t need any special utensils, although a blender or immersion blender is recommended for the dressing.
For the salad, you will need:
- fresh mint
For the dressing, you will need:
- fresh mint
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
First, build your salad. Wash and chop your spinach, and add it to your salad bowl. Chop the mint leaves into ribbons and add them to the greens as well. Then, wash and cap the strawberries and slice them into quarters. Add the strawberries to the salad, along with the washed raspberries and blueberries. Add some diced avocado and tomatoes. Set aside while you make the dressing.
For the dressing, chop the strawberries into small pieces, and dice the mint leaves. Add in the salt, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients until the strawberries have been completely blended. You can also use a standard blender to blend the ingredients as well.
Lastly, if you are choosing to grill your chicken, either grill it in a George Foreman or other counter-top griddle, or use a standard grill. I love the way grilled chicken tastes with all the flavors in this salad, and recommend grilled chicken over baked for this recipe. If you don’t have a way to grill your chicken, chicken breast meat prepared any way will go well with this spring time flavor medley. Cut your cooled grilled chicken into bite sized pieces and add it to your salad.
Lastly, drizzle the strawberry vinaigrette over your salad and toss everything together so that the dressing is evenly distributed. Enjoy!
Spring Salad with Chicken and Strawberry Vinaigrette (Whole30, Paleo, Keto)
- blender; immersion blender preferred
For the salad
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/8 cup pepitas
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 4 cups spinach
- 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves, cut into ribbons
- 1/2 lb chicken breast, grilled
For the Strawberry Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup strawberry, halved
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- Chop and add to a large bowl all the ingredients for the salad. Set aside.
- For the strawberry vinaigrette, add the ingredients to a wide mouth mason jar or a deep bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend together the ingredients until the strawberries have been completely blended. You can also use a regular blender to blend the ingredients.