I feel as though I’ve been waiting forever for humid summer nights. And my goodness are they here. Smoky BBQ meat, fresh juicy watermelon, and frozen yogurt has taken over my life and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about it.
As you’ve probably seen via my Instagram, I’ve been taking a few summer trips. Along the way, I find myself eating out and enjoying food relative to each state’s culture. Often times, I’ll order some sort of chopped salad; each one being more unique than the last. In New Mexico, I enjoyed a BBQ Chicken salad with green chile, chickpeas, jicama, mango, red pepper and an incredible cumin-lime dressing. In Minnesota, I often munch on my Healthy Chicken Chickpea Chopped salad and mix up the dressings. When in North Carolina visiting Tony, I gravitate to greek salads with red potatoes, grilled onions, olives, and loads of feta cheese.
After traveling around the states, I wanted to recreate my own favorite salad at home. This time, a salad that was unique to summertime and combined some of my favorites. Something that was slightly sweet and perfect for serving at potlucks or summer BBQs. All of the ingredients below ended up in my big salad bowl.
Crunchy, fresh romaine
Juicy, ripe strawberries
Sweet summer corn
Grilled marinated or pulled rotisserie chicken
Beautiful, ripe creamy avocado
Plump little grape tomatoes
Crunchy, sweet roasted pecans
President Valbreso Feta Cheese Crumbles
I swear I could have kept adding, but you’ll find that the options are endless. The great part of a chopped salad is that it’s easy to mix up the ingredients, or add others to make it your own.
Consider swapping blueberries or raspberries for strawberries.To make it vegetarian, use chickpeas instead of chicken. Add black beans or mango for a little southwestern inspiration. Make it heartier with quinoa and use spinach instead of romaine for a filling summer dinner.
Know what I’m a HUGE fan of? Mixing up the cheeses for added taste and creaminess.
Have you guys heard of Président Cheese? They’re actually one of the world’s premier cheesemakers (AND Europe’s leading cheese expert). I am a huge fan of their Valbreso Feta Crumble made with sheep’s milk. It tastes like a dreamy combination between goat cheese and feta and is particularly delicious in summery salads because of how creamy it becomes when tossed with all of the other ingredients.
If you’re not a fan of goat cheese, I highly recommend their Feta Crumbled, a wonderful tart and salty cheese that nearly anyone could fall in love with.
Last but not least, if you’d like to enter to win $50 worth of your own Président cheese, visit ArtOfCheese.com, where you can download a coupon for cheese plus enter their Pinterest sweepstakes. You can find more information about their amazing cheeses, and see beautiful recipes on the Art of Cheese site or following the hashtag #ArtOfCheese.
I hope you guys enjoy this beautiful summer salad, drink a margarita, and soak up the sunshine. Xo
- Serves: 4
- Serving size: 1/4th of salad
- Calories: 303
- Fat: 16.9g
- Carbohydrates: 21.9g
- Sugar: 9.1g
- Fiber: 7.8g
- Protein: 19.3g
- 2-3 large romaine hearts, washed and chopped
- 6-8 oz grilled chicken breast, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups ripe organic strawberries, quartered
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2/3 cup sweet corn
- 1 avocado, diced
- ¼ cup toasted pecans or almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup President Cheese Valbresco Feta Crumbles
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- For vinaigrette:
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 teaspoons honey or sugar
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 3-4 basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a separate large bowl add romaine, top with all ingredients except avocado, pecans, and feta. Add in dressing and toss salad gently. Transfer to cold salad bowls, garnish with avocado, pecans, and feta. Add more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with crunchy tortilla chips or corn tortillas.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by President Cheese, but as always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for continuing to support Ambitious Kitchen!