I heart salads.

There was no romantic dinner for two on Valentine’s Day in my house.  In fact, I ate breakfast, lunch, (snack,) and dinner alone.  Just me and my thoughts.  Scary.  But I did take the time to prepare a pretty “baller” (yes, it’s a word – just go with it) salad for myself.  I even pulled out the grill pan.  (shut.the.front.door.)  Usually when it’s dinner by myself I throw together whatever random (still healthy) stuff I can get my hands on and call it dinner.  Just ask Big Guy – he gets pictures and/or descriptions of all my delicious concoctions.

But not lately.  When I saw this Copycat Panera Asian Sesame Chicken Salad I knew I had to have it.  And soon.  I wanted to make it for Big Guy but I couldn’t wait.  I heart salads.

The sesame-flavored marinade is on point.  Soy sauce, agave nectar (or honey or brown sugar), sesame oil, ginger and garlic.  I let that get comfortable with a chicken breast for about 15 minutes and then I fired up (okay, just heated up) my grill pan.  If I did this again (which I probably will) I’d let the chicken hang out with the marinade a weeee bit longer.

While the chicken was getting close with the marinade, I whipped up some dressing. Rice vinegar, a tad bit of sugar for sweetness (simply bring the vinegar to a boil, add in the sugar, turn off the heat and let it dissolve).  Once the vinegar and sugar have cooled, I added in some garlic EVOO, sesame oil, sesame seeds and a sprinkle of salt.

Grill the chicken until it’s no longer pink and let it rest for about 5 minutes.  While it’s resting, assemble your salad.

Mixed greens with spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper and green onions (cilantro would be extra beautiful on this salad – confession, I would have picked some cilantro {yes it’s still growing} but I had already turned on the alarm {lazy lazy lazy}).  Mandarin oranges would have added a citrus punch to the mix but I didn’t have any.  I also added a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, fresh cracked pepper and almond slices for a little crunch factor.

Top all that with the sliced grilled chicken and drizzle on the tangy-sweet-sesame dressing.  Yowza!  This was an amazing salad.

Like I said, I heart salads.  I promise you’ll heart this one, too.

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