Fab Finds: Grilled Chicken Beet & Goat Cheese Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

I don't know about you, but when I go to a restaurant and I see the menu option for a "Beet & Goat Cheese Salad," chances are I'm gonna order it.  So, I thought to myself while cruising through Trader Joe's a few weeks back, "why spend a bajillion dollars on one of these salads somewhere else and just make it myself!?" So that I did. 

I threw some Arugula, Beets, Goat Cheese and Chicken in my basket, along with half the store (per usual), and went home to make dinner! 

Usually when I cook, I NEVER measure, it's always "a pinch of that" or "a dash of that" and that's what makes it fun for me! I realized after I constructed this VERY easy salad that I needed dressing..  I felt like it would be a disgrace to put any kind of store-bought dressing on top of such a fresh, gorgeous and yummy salad, so why not throw together a little citrus vinaigrette with an orange I had lying around?!  B-I-N-G-O.  I hit the jackpot on that idea! The flavors mixed so wonderfully together and it added an even fresher element to the dish.  If you're looking for a quick and easy weeknight OR weekend dinner, this is your jam.  It's easy to make in small portions or large portions. Give it shot and feel free to doctor it up however YOU like it! 

Grilled Chicken:

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon of my FAVORITE garlic salt (or any will do just fine!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 

Salad:

  • 7 ounces arugula
  • 8 ounces baby beets, halved then quartered
  • 1 orange, cut into bite size segments
  • 2 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled from log (it's way creamier than the pre-crumbled goat cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Citrus Vinaigrette: 

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 orange, freshly squeezed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, chopped (omit if you'd like)
  • dash of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Prep the chicken by sprinkling each side with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Heat the grill or a griddle pan over medium heat, then spray with non-stick spray just before putting the chicken on. Cook the chicken on one side for about 5-7 minutes, until grill marks, then flip over.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the chicken and let cook for another 10-12 mins or until juices run clear (also depending on the thickness of your chicken).  (Tip: I like to cook my chicken "low and slow" because the flavor stays locked in and it's much juicery!) Set chicken aside to rest. 
  2.  Place a large helping of the arugula into a serving bowl.  Cut the beets in half, then into quarters (unless you're the overachiever that prepped all your ingredients in the beginning! *high five*).  Arrange them on top of the greens. Place the segmented oranges around the bowl then crumble the goat cheese on top the beets, oranges and arugula (it will be a little messy if you're using a log, but that just means you get to lick your fingers!).  Lastly, sprinkle the walnuts on top everything.  Put the salad into the refrigerator to chill while you make the dressing.
  3. To make the dressing, add all of the ingredients for the citrus vinaigrette into a mason jar, close the lid and shake, shake, shake! Shake it until all of the ingredients are blended.  If you don't have a mason jar, you can put everything in a bowl and whisk it together. Works just the same! Taste the dressing and add a little more salt and pepper if desired! Dressing done! (Tip-don't store the leftover dressing in the fridge, it will harden.  Keep it out on the counter, it'll be just fine for a couple days!)
  4. Back to the chicken! Slice the chicken into bite size pieces and lay it atop the salad. 
  5. When you're ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over top and dive in! 

This salad is so addicting and so refreshing!! I've probably made it three times in the past two weeks.  It's perfect for a hot afternoon and easy to bring to an event! Have fun with it and try not to drink the dressing from the jar...it's that good.