The trouble with a lot of salads, as far as I am concerned, is that they provide less nutrition than many people think and a lot of the time, more calories. This salad has neither problem, and it is very simple to make. It is also quite versatile and can be tailored to your personal tastes or for the wine you plan to serve with it.
This Mediterranean Spinach salad is a perfect meal for those hot Summer nights when it is too hot to cook, and you want something filling, but light and refreshing. It features a simple dressing made with traditional Mediterranean spices and feta cheese.
If using dried herbs, adjust accordingly. Fresh will be much better, however.
First the dressing:
In a food processor add 3 garlic cloves, 1 1/2 tbsp of fresh oregano leaves, 1 tbsp of fresh thyme, and 1/2 tsp salt. Process until a fine paste forms. Add the juice of two lemons and the zest of one lemon and pulse a few times. Add a tbsp of decent balsamic vinegar and turn on the food processor. Slowly drizzle in one cup of good (not great) extra virgin olive oil.
Salt and pepper a couple of chicken breasts and saute in olive oil. Cool and slice relatively thin. Slice a red onion into thin pieces.
To assemble the salad, mound fresh baby spinach onto a plate, crumble some feta cheese over the top and arrange some onion around leaves. Lay some slices of chicken in a spoke pattern and then drizzle the whole thing with some of your dressing.
Pair this with a nice Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc. I had it this evening with a quite tasty Viognier. Substitute leftover lamb for the chicken and a Pinot Noir would be awesome.
Variations on this salad could include adding some anchovies to the dressing, or adding olives, tomatoes, or cucumbers to the salad. Use this as a basis for a lot of wonderful meals. Vegetarians (why would you do that to yourself?) can leave the chicken off and it still tastes great.
The chicken, olive oil and nutritional superstar, spinach, make this a very healthy dinner choice.