Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cherry walnut salad

While we were on vacation, we ate out our lunches way more frequently than we do at home and ended up at Panera (or St. Louis Bread Company as called in STL) quite a few times. I've loved Panera since high school but was so pleased with their new Harvest Chicken Salad - I had to try my own version at home! Not only did I get to try out two of my Christmas gifts (a Food Network food processor and Williams Sonoma vinaigrette shaker), it turned out so yummy, I think I'm going to try to reinvent a few more of my dining-out faves!

I hope you try it and love it as much as me!

Cherry walnut salad (Panera's Harvest Chicken)
I made for two, but you can totally adjust the below by taste or number of eaters
- Mixed greens or other lettuce
- Pear (1)
- Handful of dried cherries
- Toasted walnuts - about 1/2 cup
- Crumbled blue cheese - about 1/2 cup
- Grilled chicken breast (1)

1. Toss ingredients together and serve with the vinaigrette below.

Cherry Vinaigrette:
From Derek's mom, Chris. Makes one cup - more than enough for a salad for two.

-1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1 cloves garlic
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1. Soak cherries in hot water for 15 minutes; pour cherries and liquid into blender or food processor. Add garlic, vinegar and half of olive oil. Process until garlic is finely chopped.
2. Add mustard, salt and pepper, blending after each addition.
3. With blender running, add remaining olive oil in a steady stream.
4. Serve with salad and save the rest in an airtight container for only a couple of days.

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