Jul 18, 2010

Spinach Salad with Chicken, Pineapple and Mango

Spinach salad with chicken, pineapple and mango. Fresh, light and so delicious!

Yesterday I wrote about how I had butternut squash one time and was suddenly stuck on it for weeks. (Still am if we are being completely honest!) To continue on that theme, I decided to share a second summer favorite of mine right now: Mango! This is a new one for me because I’ve never really eaten mango with the frequency that I have these past few weeks and I actually didn’t notice this obsession until Jordan noted all the mango incorporation I had going on! I don’t know what it even is about the mango that has me hooked. It could be the odd texture that almost leaves your tongue tingling or the sweetness that is unlike any other fruit, or even the golden orange/yellow color! Whatever it is, mango is a winner in my summer meal book!

This salad was created when Jordan and I came back from the holiday weekend and needed something filling for dinner but also something light and refreshing. This salad was then created in the hopes to fulfill those requirements! You can use any salad but we choose spinach to add that extra punch of nutrients and then the sweetness from the mango and pineapple were to die for! Really! For dressing I made a pineapple vinaigrette and it was the perfect pairing to complete the dish!

What you’ll need to make this salad for two:


(adapted from Cooking Light. Serves two large main dish salads.)

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple (some for dressing, some for salad)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley (or cilantro)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 large garlic clove
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped mango
  • 2/3 cup sliced red pepper
  • 1 package fresh spinach salad

Start by baking your chicken. Preheat the oven to 375. While the oven warms up prepare the chicken by placing them in a plastic bag and pound them out to an even thickness. Sprinkle each side of the chicken breast with a touch of olive oil, chili powder and salt. Pop them in the oven and let them cook for 25-30 minutes, or until that are completely cooked. (If you are super pressed for time the night you make this meal, you can also pick up a roasted chicken from the grocery store and pull the chicken off the bone for your salad. However, the chicken will be done in the amount of time it takes you to put the rest of the meal together!)

Next up is the dressing. This is a great alternative to the heavy store bought dressings and is really refreshing! Take half of the pineapple you chopped, parsley or cilantro, orange juice, vinegar, and garlic and place it in a blender or food processor. I used a food processor this time around. Process the mixture until it becomes smooth and then add the olive oil. I didn’t put an exact measurement down for the olive oil because I think it is all dependent on the person making it. If you want to follow the exact recipe you need 1/8 cup and maybe I did add that much. But when it comes to this part I really just eye ball it. Add some olive oil, turn it on and see what the consistency is. Continue to add a little at a time until you have the texture you want for your dressing! Also, cilantro instead of parsley would work great in this dressing. Jordan really is not a fan of cilantro so we always use parsley as a substitute.

Pineapple Vinaigrette: fresh pineapple, parsley, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic and olive oil!

The rest of dinner preparation is simple. Chop up the rest of your pineapple, along with the mango and red pepper into bite size pieces. You’ll have a colorful dish with this combo!

Pineapple, Mango, and Red Pepper. A colorful delight!

Wash and rinse the spinach and divide onto the plates. Add the pineapple, mango and red pepper on top of the spinach and when the chicken breasts are done cut those into thin slices and add to your salad. I like to give the salad dressing one last pulse (or shake if it’s in a jar) and then drizzle over each salad! THAT’S IT!

Dinner is Served!

This meal will take no more than 30 minutes! I think the hardest part might be chopping up the mango but with practice even that becomes easier. You get all the nutrition you need with protein in the chicken, your fresh fruit and BIG portion of your vegetables with the greenest of salad: the spinach! Best part is, the pairing of the sweet fruits with the leafy vegetable diverts the attention from the spinach and for someone who isn’t such a fan of eating their vegetables, they’ll be completely distracted by the sweetness from the mango and pineapple! You’ll get flavor and nutrition with this meal! Plus, summer is all about fresh flavors: fresh vegetables and fresh fruits with minimal alteration. These fruits and vegetables are in their prime right now and they are meant to be enjoyed in their purest of forms! Next time you find yourself looking for a lighter dinner, try this one out! It won’t disappoint! For now, that’s spinach salad with chicken, pineapple, and mango…in the shell of a nut!

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