Last year, I shared a story about a friend of mine, Sarah Lanphier, whose successful college fundraiser led to a thriving granola company. Nuts About Granola produces a variety of uniquely delicious flavors–think carrot cake and PB&J–as well as a grain-free Forager line. Recently, Sarah launched a line of savory granolas, fittingly named Sarah’s Savory Snacks.
Beyond Sarah’s really cool story (you can get a yummy salad recipe with the backstory here), I love that her ingredients are healthy and whole and, whenever possible, locally sourced and organic. The creation of Sarah’s new product line stemmed from her hunger for a hearty snack that punched as much flavor as it did nutrition while working in different ways than the standard sweet granolas. These savory–yet not salty–granolas are divine tossed in salads, stirred into plain yogurt, paired with artisan cheeses, or eaten straight from the bag.
I thought it would be fun to share my favorite Savory Snack–Sweet Balsamic and Olive–with a dinner salad my family has long enjoyed. You can make the original version, opting for a sprinkling of nuts at the end, or you can grab a bag of Sarah’s latest creation and try a new topper. It’s a perfect match for this Greek-inspired salad or others with traditional Mediterranean ingredients.
Yields 4 dinner salads; dressing recipe makes 1 cup.
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves
- 8-12 cups salad greens of choice (about one large head, chopped, or one 5- to 6-ounce bag)
- 1/3 cup Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette per pound of chicken, plus more for tossing with greens (recipe follows; may substitute your favorite store-bought option)
- 1 slightly rounded cup seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Toppings: Kalamata olives (sliced and pitted), a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts and/or Sarah's Savory Snack's Sweet Basil & Olive mix
- 1 small garlic clove, smashed and minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- *For the balsamic dressing:* In a bowl whisk together the garlic, salt and pepper, Dijon, honey and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking as you go, until the dressing is emulsified. You may also add everything to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well.
- Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours to allow flavors to blend. The vinaigrette will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. Shake well prior to using. If the olive oil has solidified due to the cold, simply allow the jar to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before using.
- *For the grilled chicken and tomato-feta salsa:* Place the chicken in a large, resealable plastic bag. Pour the vinaigrette over top, seal, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible. I like to flip the bag a few times to distribute the marinade.
- When ready to eat, prepare the grill. Gently mix the tomato, feta, basil, and a few grinds of fresh pepper in a medium bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature until the chicken is ready.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the remaining marinade, and cook the chicken over medium heat for 7-8 minutes per side, depending on thickness, or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove from the heat and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes. If you do not wish to discard the leftover marinade, be sure to simmer it for a few minutes on the stovetop before serving alongside the chicken.
- *Assembling the salad:* Place the salad greens in a bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Distribute the dressed greens among four dinner plates. Top with a chicken breast (whole, sliced, or chopped according to preference), followed by one quarter of the tomato-feta salsa. Sprinkle with nuts or Sarah's Sweet Basil & Olive mix. Drizzle a little extra balsamic vinaigrette over top (or pass at the table) and garnish with extra basil if desired. Serve and enjoy!
- Although it's not 100% necessary, pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness will allow them to cook more quickly and evenly.
- *For a stovetop option to grilling:* Coat a large skillet with oil, and place over medium to medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken breast halves for 5 minutes each side, or until the meat is no longer pink in the center. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
The well-balanced dressing can be made in advance and stored in the fridge where it will keep for several weeks. It’s packed with flavor yet so multi-purpose–one of my long-time favorites. The chicken can be placed in the marinade up to a day in advance. At dinnertime, simply grill or sauté the chicken and quickly assemble the salad for a meal that’s light yet filling and bursting with flavor and texture.
For two easy meals, use the dressing as a marinade for double the amount of chicken needed the first night. Enjoy the chicken fresh off the grill (or out of the pan) the first night, and then use the leftover for the dinner salad. For easier eating, slice or chop the chicken before adding to the salad. It was just a little easier to see it in the photo when left whole. : )
Here’s Sarah’s current savory line: Coconut Currant Curry, Sweet Balsamic & Olive, and Spicy Thai Peanut. If you’d like to try and cannot locate where you are, you can shop via her Nuts About Granola website.