This lush strawberry-watermelon chicken salad absolutely screams summer with pops of pink and red summer fruit showing through the bright green pesto and lettuce — and it looks as good as it tastes. Inspired by a recipe from Reluctant Entertainer, the healthy combo of greens, chicken and fresh fruit is light, bright and fresh.
When the weather is warm and you’re trying to avoid heating up the kitchen, this salad makes mealtime a breeze. Loads of basil, fresh watermelon and strawberries make the perfect summer afternoon recipe. You can prepare your own pesto and roasted chicken for this recipe, but the premade options at the grocery store make this even easier to whip up. They really cut down on your prep time and are often just as good, or better, than homemade. And best part: No mess to clean up!
The secret to any salad is having both contrasting and complementary flavors. When you have two contrasting flavors, each helps bring out the other. For example, the bright acid taste from the lime juice against the sweetness of the fresh fruit adds depth. The tang of the garlicky basil pesto atop the shredded chicken adds a savory touch. And the bed of fresh lettuce it all rests on adds texture and crunch, for a light but super-satisfying dish.
If you like a little extra crunch in your salads, try some sliced almonds or toasted walnuts. Healthy fats like these will make the meal more filling, too. Avocado is another good-for-you fat that works well here. Want some tangy zip to play against the sweet berries? Throw on some gorgonzola crumbles. If you don’t care for chicken, or don’t have it on hand, swap in some salmon. That’s the beauty of a salad: You really can make it your own without sacrificing the integrity of the recipe.
Whether you prepare this salad as a starter for a dinner party, a light lunch or just as a treat for yourself at home, you’ll be glad you did.