Fresh greens are tossed with juicy pears, crunchy walnuts, and pungent blue cheese for the base of this salad. It all gets topped off with tender grilled chicken and a sweet-tart balsamic reduction. This elegant grilled chicken, pear and blue cheese salad would make a great addition to your Valentine’s Day menu!
Happy Monday! I hope you all enjoyed lots of good Super Bowl snacks last night. I know I did. Now, let’s lighten things up and have a fresh, hearty, and healthy salad.
Like I said last week, I’ve really been into salads lately. I especially love the addition of fruit to my salads, and the pears this winter have been excellent! The combination of the sweet pears, pungent blue cheese, crunchy walnuts, and the syrupy balsamic is amazing. The addition of grilled chicken bumps up the flavor and adds a healthy dose of protein.
Easy and elegant, this salad would be great for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at home! You can easily omit the chicken to serve it as the salad course to your meal.
Let’s talk about this fancy-shmancy balsamic vinegar reduction. It sounds complicated, but it’s one of the easiest things you’ll ever make! And, the best part? It’s just balsamic vinegar – no oil, sugar, or anything else added to it.
All you have to do to make it is let it simmer on the stove for around 30 minutes. It turns into a syrup-like consistency and takes on a sweet flavor. It’s phenomenal drizzled over this salad. And pretty much anything else. Chicken breasts, pork chops, fish, vegetables… you get the point.
If you’re not into blue cheese, you can swap it out and use feta or even shaved parmesan. You can also use pecans or almonds if you prefer those over walnuts. Once summer rolls around, this salad would be fantastic with strawberries. Though I have say – the strawberries are pretty darn good this winter. Maybe I’ll try that next…
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show someone how much you appreciate them, and a nice, home-cooked meal is a great way to do just that. This salad is so easy to make, but will certainly impress whomever you choose to serve it to!
- 1 ½ Cups Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Herbs de Provence
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 2 Chicken Breasts, halved and pounded into cutlets
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Container/Bag Spring Mix
- ½ Cup Walnuts, toasted
- ½ Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
- 1 Large Pear, sliced
- Pour the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepot. Bring to a simmer and turn the heat to low.
- Allow the vinegar to simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until it resembles a syrup consistency. (It should coat the back of a spoon). Make sure you have the stove on low heat so that the vinegar does not burn!
- Allow the balsamic reduction to cool completely.
- In a small bowl combine the herbs de Provence, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Cover each chicken breast in the seasoning mixture.
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Grill the chicken cutlets for about 2 ½ minutes per side, depending on thickness. Remove the chicken to a plate and let rest while you prepare the salad.
- When cool enough to handle, slice the chicken into strips.
- Combine the lettuce, walnuts, blue cheese, and pear in a large salad bowl.
- Serve the salad topped with the grilled chicken and drizzled with the cooled balsamic reduction.
- The recipe serves 2 as an entree, and 4 as a salad course.
- If you'd like to use this salad as a starter to your meal, you can omit the chicken.
- If you don’t have a grill pan, you can grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, use a sauté pan, or broil it.
- You can prepare the chicken up to 1 day ahead and the balsamic reduction up to 1 week ahead. The salad will hold up for a few hours in the fridge, so you can prepare it ahead of time if you wish.