Pecans and goat cheese add texture and flavor to chicken, spinach, arugula… (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles…)
Sometimes you just can't get any simpler than a salad for dinner. Take some greens, add a little of this or that, and get creative. You can pick up a few ingredients, like a roast chicken, from the store, or find ways to use the leftovers in the fridge. For a quick dinner salad that's saved me on many a weeknight, check out this recipe for mixed greens with chicken, goat cheese and pecans.
For more quick-fix dinner ideas, check out our video recipe gallery here. Parsons and Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter show you how to fix a dozen dishes in an hour or less.
Apples 101 ... and 52 recipes
Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen
Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen
You can find Noelle Carter on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. Email Noelle at email@example.com.
Mixed greens with chicken, goat cheese and pecans
Total time: 25 minutes
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 prepared rotisserie chicken, warm or at room temperature
9 cups loosely packed spinach
6 cups arugula
3 cups torn dandelion greens
1/2 red onion, sliced lengthwise into very thin strips
1 cup brined olives, such as niçoise or kalamata
1/3 cup capers
1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the pecans with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 10 to 14 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
2. While the nuts are toasting, prepare the dressing: In a medium bowl, place the remaining one-half cup oil. Whisk in the sherry vinegar, then the mustard. Whisk in the thyme, oregano, one-half teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Taste and adjust as desired. This makes about 1 cup vinaigrette.
3. Remove the legs and breasts from the chicken. Chop the chicken into coarse cubes and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, arugula and dandelion greens. Toss in the red onion, olives and capers, then dress with one-half cup of dressing. Toss the salad, adding additional dressing as desired. Toss in the cubed chicken.
5. Divide the salad between 4 plates. Crumble the goat cheese in large chunks over the salads, then sprinkle over the pecans. Serve immediately.
Each of 8 servings: 469 calories; 30 grams protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 37 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 81 mg. cholesterol; 697 mg. sodium.