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Sunday recipe: fresh and healthy chicken and spinach salad

Weather during the months of September and October can be fickle. As a result, there may be some steamy days left even after summer is long gone. On such days, a light and refreshing meal can be ideal.

Salad may be thought of as side dish or an appetizer. But in this recipe for “Chicken and Spinach Salad With Avocado and Fruit” from Rose Murray’s 125 Best Chicken Recipes (Robert Rose), salad is the main course. This salad bursts with flavorful fruits and vegetables that are full of antioxidants. While it stands on its own, the salad can be accompanied by crusty bread and corn on the cob and rounded out with brownies for dessert.

Chicken and Spinach Salad With Avocado and Fruit

Serves 4

Sweet-and-Sour Dressing
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grated onion
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1⁄2 teaspoon dry mustard
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄3 cup vegetable oil

8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 half cantaloupe or other melon, or 2 oranges, peeled and divided into segments
8 ounces spinach, trimmed, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper

  1. Sweet-and-Sour Dressing: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and vinegar; cook stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Cool. Stir in onion, paprika, mustard, and salt. Transfer mixture to a blender; with motor running, add oil in a slow stream through the feed tube.
  2. Meanwhile, put chicken in a saucepan with ¼ inch water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer, turning once, for 5 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove chicken, cool and cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices.
  3. Scoop out melon with melon baller or cut into cubes. In a large salad bowl, toss spinach, chicken, avocado, melon, dressing, and salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: The dressing can be made, covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week. The chicken can be cooked, cooled, covered, and refrigerated up to 2 days.