Eating for Life | Splashes of color make Citrus Chicken Salad a standout

Updated: 2012-08-22T01:12:19Z


The Kansas City Star

Editor’s note: This recipe originally ran in 2009.

Romans may have draped themselves in togas, but they reportedly dressed their salads with a sprinkling of salt. After all, the word “salad” is from the Latin sal, or salt.

Although modern salad lovers have more healthy baby greens to choose from than ever before, too often they’re drenched in a pool of store-bought salad dressing.

“Unfortunately, the majority of these prepared dressings are ‘chemical gumbos’ freighted with preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, texturizers, artificial colors and flavors. Most are also too sweet, too salty, too expensive,” Jean Anderson writes in “The Nutrition Bible.”

The Star’s Citrus and Strawberry Chicken Salad features an easy-to-make tangy strawberry and citrus juice emulsion that dresses the salad in a splash of hot pink — no additives required.

• Cooking tip: To toast pecans, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread pecans in a single layer in a pan. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted.

The dressing yields 2/3 cup. Store any extra in the refrigerator for later use.

Citrus and Strawberry Chicken Salad

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half

1/3 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon chili powder plus additional for sprinkling on chicken, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 cups baby garden greens

1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges, drained

1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped

1/3 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons toasted pecan pieces

Place halved strawberries, orange juice, vegetable oil, lemon juice, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, salt and pepper in blender. Process until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened; remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly. Measure out 1/2 cup dressing to use for salad; cover and refrigerate remaining dressing for another use.

Sprinkle chicken lightly with chili powder, salt and pepper.

Heat a grill skillet or a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Cook chicken about 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until done. Set aside.

Place greens, sliced strawberries, Mandarin oranges, green onion and celery in a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup of the dressing mixture.

Divide salad mixture equally between four dinner plates. Slice chicken and place on top of greens. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Top with pecans.

Per serving (about 2 cups salad, 4 ounces cooked chicken and 2 tablespoons dressing): 273 calories (30 percent from fat), 9 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein, 219 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss. To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, The Star’s food editor and restaurant critic, call 816-234-4347, send email to or follow her on Facebook.

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