Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fruity Coconut Chicken Salad with Berry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Since September hit, I have been seeing a lot of fall-themed recipes across the blogs. Don't get me wrong, I still love pumpkin, apples, soups, and stews, but I am not quite ready to give up on summer. The weather has been gorgeous here the past week since we've dropped to right around or just below 100 degrees for a high. It's also been cooling off better at night - I actually saw a reading in the 70's in my car on the way to work the other morning (granted it was 5:30AM). I haven't been able to enjoy the weather on an outdoor run yet since I've been on call this week, but I assure you that I will be out there as soon as I can.

Since stone fruit and berries have still been on sale around here, I thought this salad was appropriate to share. The inspiration for this salad came from finding this berry poppy seed dressing on Our Best Bites. I am amongst the group that enjoys fruit in my salad, and I thought that the coconut chicken would pair well with the berries to make a great lighter meal. I didn't have any pineapple when I made these, but I think that this would make a great addition to the flavors here.
One note, I actually ended up using chicken tenders rather than chicken breasts as that is what I had stocked in the freezer. Chicken breasts would work just fine. You may need to adjust the ratios of coating, and just be sure to cook them to the appropriate temperature as gauged by a meat thermometer. The dressing does need to be made ahead of time, but it can certainly be made the night before to help speed up the cooking process when it is dinner time. Overall, we ended up really enjoying it, and it's definitely a recipe I will continue to make for as long as I can get my hands on good fresh fruit this fall :)

(Printable Recipe)

Fruity Coconut Chicken Salad with Berry Poppy Seed Viniagrette
Dressing recipe from Our Best Bites

3-4 chicken tenderloins
4 Tbsp. unsweetend shredded coconut (can use sweetened if preferred)
1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
pinch of salt
1 egg white
6 cups preferred salad greens (we love spinach, but a lettuce mix would work well too)
1-2 cups berries - blueberries, strawberries (sliced), raspberries, blackberries
1 nectarine, pitted and sliced
fresh pineapple, chopped (optional - I think this would be a great addition!)

1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1-2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. grated onion
1 tsp. kosher salt or other coarse salt
10 cracks of freshly ground black pepper (1/4-1/2 tsp)
1 cup raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries
2/3 cup canola oil
1-1/2 tsp. poppy seeds

For the dressing, combine the vinegar, honey, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and berries in a blender. Blend until smooth and then, with the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream. Turn off the blender and whisk in the poppy seeds. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

For the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Combine the coconut, panko, and salt; place in a shallow dish. Add egg white to another shallow dish. Dip the chicken in the egg white, then coat in the coconut mixture.  Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Divide the salad greens and fruit between 2 plates. If desired, slice the chicken and add on top of the salad. Dress individual plates with the dressing. There will be extra dressing. It should keep in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 dinner-sized salads


  1. Count me as one of the people that enjoys fruit in their salad. We're still in mostly summer weather around here, too, so it's nice to see a refreshing salad that celebrates the tastes of late summer.

  2. Mmm, coconut coated chicken sounds amazingly wonderful!


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