Strawberry Pecan Grilled Chicken Salad with Pecan Butter Vinaigrette
This easy and healthy yet satisfying salad is perfect for easy-breezy summer dinners or casual entertaining.
It’s got flavor and texture galore between the juicy chicken, crisp lettuce, sweet strawberries, crunchy lightly toasted Fisher Pecan Halves, savory cheese, and a creamy pecan butter vinaigrette.
The chicken is wonderfully juicy and tender thanks to a marinade using homemade pecan butter among other ingredients. As a nice time saver, the marinade and the vinaigrette begin as one in the same. Yes to double-duty ingredients.
In the photo below, the pecan butter is darker and on the right and from it you make both the marinade and vinaigrette, which is lighter and on the left.
Even though there are a few components to the salad as you’ll notice in the recipe section, in simple terms it’s as easy as making pecan butter, marinating chicken, assembling a salad, and shaking together a vinaigrette. Easy peasy.
First make homemade pecan butter by breaking out your food processor and adding Fisher Pecan Halves. I have a detailed step-by-step photo post of what happens when you make homemade peanut butter and the same is largely true for pecan butter with regard to the transformation of whole nuts into smooth, creamy, heavenly nut butter.
Storebought nut butters just cannot compare to the pure and natural homemade flavor. You’ll likely have extra which is great by the spoonful, on toast, crackers, or make chicken again. I added some cinnamon and sugar to some of the extra and made cinnamon-sugar pecan butter and it was delicious.
Fisher Nuts are preservative free and non-GMO Project Verified. Fisher has nine varieties of recipe nuts certified as Heart Healthy by the American Heart Association. The resealable bag helps keep the nuts fresh for longer. Look for their new packaging on store shelves.
After making the pecan butter, add some to a ziptop plastic bag along with the chicken and other marinade ingredients. After marinating, grill your chicken, assemble the salad, and then drizzle with tart-yet-sweet pecan butter vinaigrette.
You’re going to love everything about this dish.
Strawberry Pecan Grilled Chicken Salad with Pecan Butter Vinaigrette
This easy and healthy yet satisfying salad is perfect for easy-breezy summer dinners or casual entertaining. It’s got flavor and texture galore between the juicy chicken, crisp lettuce, sweet strawberries, crunchy lightly toasted pecans, savory cheese, and a creamy pecan butter vinaigrette. The chicken is wonderfully juicy and tender thanks to a marinade using homemade pecan butter. As a nice time saver, the marinade and the vinaigrette begin as one in the same. Make homemade pecan butter in the food processor, marinate the chicken with it, grill chicken, assemble the salad, and drizzle with tart-yet-sweet pecan butter vinaigrette.
- 16 ounces Fisher Pecan Halves (about 1.5 bags)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
- kosher salt, to taste (I use 1 generous teaspoon)
- 1/2 cup pecan butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- about 1. 25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (I used 1 large breast that I halved lengthwise)
- about 6 cups lettuce (I used romaine; fresh spinach, baby kale, or your favorite greens may be substituted)
- 3/4 cup halved and hulled fresh strawberries
- 3/4 cup Fisher Pecan Halves, lightly toasted or candied if desired
- 3/4 cup shredded aged white cheddar cheese, optional (aged manchego, feta, blue cheese, or your favorite cheese may be substituted)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, optional (raisins, dried blueberries, or another dried fruit may be substituted)
Pecan Butter Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup pecan butter
- 2 to 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Pecan Butter – To the canister of a large food processor (at least a 10 to 12-cup size) fitted with the S-blade, add the pecans, cover the canister, and turn to high power (Notes – I don’t recommend using a high-speed blender such as a VitaMix or Blendtec because I’ve burnt out motors. I have much better results in a food processor. If your food processor is smaller, you may need to do this in two batches). Allow the pecans to break down and they’ll go through various stages before turning into smooth pecan butter. As necessary stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- After allowing the pecans to process for about 5 minutes, my mixture was dry and that’s when I added 3 tablespoons olive oil. You may not need to add any, you may need to add more; add as necessary. Process another 3 minutes or until pecan butter is smooth.
- Add salt to taste and process briefly to incorporate.
- Chicken Marinade – Add all ingredients (you will have extra pecan butter which you should set aside) to a large ziptop bag, seal bag, squish contents around to distribute evenly, and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour (overnight is best).
- Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and oil the grates very well, add the chicken, discard leftover marinade, and grill chicken for about 5 minutes on the first side and 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, or until done and cooked through and chicken reaches an internal temp of 165F. After chicken has cooked, remove it from grill and set on a plate to rest.
- Salad – To a large platter or serving bowl, add all the ingredients, slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces or strips and add it to the salad; set salad aside while you make the vinaigrette.
- Pecan Butter Vinaigrette – To glass jar with a lid, add all ingredients, cover with the lid, and shake vigorously to combine. Taste, check for flavor balance, and add more salt, pepper, honey, etc. if necessary to taste. Evenly drizzle vinaigrette over the salad, to taste, and serve immediately. Salad is best fresh. Extra pecan butter and pecan butter vinaigrette will keep in the fridge for many weeks; however I store pecan butter and all homemade nut butters at room temp for many weeks but do as you’re comfortable with because there are no preservatives. Tip – Add cinnamon and granulated sugar, to taste, to extra pecan butter for cinnamon-sugar pecan butter; it’s delicious.
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