Salads and I were on a break during our loooooong drawn out winter. I just couldn’t get excited about salad as a main meal when there was still a wind chill. But now that warmer weather is in full bloom, I’m totally craving entree salads again. This Chicken Strawberry Salad with Avocado Poppy Seed Dressing has made an appearance on my menus several times in the last few weeks….it’s just that good.
Main meal salads are perfect in so many ways. If you have access to a grill, there’s no need to heat up the house to cook the protein. You can customize the salad to whatever produce looks good at the store or farmers market that week. And you can completely vary the taste of the whole thing with different dressings or vinaigrettes. Want some spice? Try a kicked up Thai peanut sauce. Feeling like a classic flavor? Go with the tried and true balsamic vinaigrette. Have fun with it and adapt your salad to whatever suits your mood (and the contents of your fridge).
I’m a huge fan of this Avocado Poppy Seed Dressing, especially on my Chicken Strawberry Salads. It is the perfect combination of sweet and tang that you expect from poppy seed dressing all blended with creamy, heart-healthy avocado. My version of this salad changes every time I make it, but it usually includes grilled chicken, strawberries, red onion, mandarin oranges, candied pecans, avocado and red onion. However, it’s never, ever complete without the Avocado Poppy Seed Dressing no matter what I throw in the mix.
Our June-bearing strawberries may end up more like July berries this year, but I’m not complaining. That’s extra time for me to enjoy this salad on the patio with a nice glass of wine and some fresh crusty bread. Sounds like a delicious way to welcome summer to me.
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 avocado, peeled and seeded
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- Combine all ingredients except poppy seeds in a blender or food processor. Pulse until combined. Add additional water 1 tablespoon at at time if dressing is too thick. Stir in poppy seeds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.