The best part of a salad is always the toppings and this beauty is loaded with the good stuff. All of the fruit, chicken, nuts and cheese go deliciously with the simple to make poppy seed dressing. You will find yourself serving salad a lot more frequently after you try this Portillos inspired chicken and fruit poppy seed salad!
As we head into spring, it is time to start thinking about eating more fresh food. Hooray! It’s about dang time.
Sitting down to a fresh salad full of greens, tons of fruit, some candied nuts, cheese and chicken is a perfect way to celebrate. Top that off with a little homemade poppy seed dressing to tie it all together and you are really in business.
You are really going to thank yourself for making this one!
With winter winding down, our thoughts are already turning to the garden. The seed magazines have been showing up with increased regularity and the CSA sign up form has already been sent in.
The fruits and vegetables in the store are starting to look better too and the prices are getting more affordable as the parts of the world that are growing the produce get closer to our region. All of that is a good sign after a long cold and wet winter.
We do eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies all year long, but the percentage of fresh to frozen is about to go up dramatically! And I for one couldn’t be more excited.
I do look forward to comfort food and casseroles as fall and winter come around, but spring and summer and their bounty of produce is hard to beat. After all of that heavy food I am looking forward to some lighter and brighter fare.
Recreating a favorite restaurant salad:
I cannot tell you how much I love this salad! So I was sooooo excited to dig in. It did not disappoint at all.
I based it off a salad I used to order every time I went to the Chicago area with my old job. I used to go up there a few times a year and my coworker and I would always hit Portillos for a chicken and fruit poppy seed salad.
If we were meeting elsewhere, my fabulous coworker would sometimes even pick me one up and bring it to me! That is how much I loved them (and she was the best!!!)
With my new job, I don’t travel nearly as much as I used to. So I don’t get to grab my favorite salad nearly as much.
Then I was headed on a trip for training at work that was going to bring me past a Portillos. I was so excited for the chance to get my hands on a salad.
When I got there, it wasn’t on the menu! I ordered another salad with berries, cheese and chicken hoping it would be just as good.
It might have been good, but it could never live up to the salad of my memories. So I decided I had to take matters into my own hands.
That is where we find ourselves today. With this lovely magnificent beauty of a salad. It has all of the good stuff and it lives up to my dreams and memories.
The poppy seed dressing is super simple to make. It just takes a handful of ingredients and is the perfect thing to bring together everything else.
It is super easy to just measure all in the ingredients and throw them in a jar. Give it a good shake and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to dig in. Then just give it another quick shake before you use.
The rest of the salad is pretty simple too. You could totally leave the chicken off if you are serving it as a side salad or starter for a party.
In fact, this would be a perfect fresh salad for a brunch. It is a nice cross between a fruit salad and a green salad. The best of both worlds!
But if you are serving it as a meal, the chicken really helps make it feels substantial. So I would definitely recommend it if you are serving this as a dinner salad.
I love the combination of all of the fruit and blue cheese, so that is what I went with. If you are not a blue cheese fan, you could easily sub in feta or your favorite.
If you really wanted to fancy it up, you could make little goat cheese balls and roll them in chopped pecans. That would be pretty and delicious too!
I am not one for telling you what to do… but you have to make this salad! Please give it a try and let me know if you like it as much as I do!
- 1 cooked chicken breast (or cubed leftover chicken)
- 2-3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2-3 strawberries, sliced
- 2-3 Tablespoons blueberries
- 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
- 1/4 cup mandarin orange sections
- 2-3 Tablespoons candied pecans
- 2-3 Tablespoons blue cheese (or feta, goat cheese, etc.)
- 2 -3 Tablespoon poppy seed dressing
Poppy Seed Dressing
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Poppy Seed Dressing
- Place all ingredients in a jar. Shake to combine.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. Just give another shake before serving.
- Thoroughly wash all fresh fruit and lettuce.
- Chop lettuce into bite sized pieces and slice strawberries. Dice chicken.
- Arrange lettuce in a bowl. Top with fruit, cheese, nuts.
- Drizzle dressing over the top and dig in!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 608Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 916mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 10gSugar: 39gProtein: 49g
All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.