When I was a kid, I had a few food quirks, but nothing too crazy. I’d like to think that my parents lucked out, and I was a pretty easy-going kid. But there was one thing that was a total no-go for me. Absolutely not, under any circumstances. These Chicken & Spinach Salad Jars would not have flown with the younger version of myself.
Fruit mixing with what I deemed “real food,” meaning anything savory. Pineapple on pizza? NO. Applesauce and pork chops? Mandarin oranges in an otherwise normal garden salad? Watermelon on the same plate as a hamburger? No no no no NOOOOO. Fruit and real food were not to canoodle on my watch.
I’m happy to report that taste buds do indeed mature a little bit as you grow up and now, I’m full-on obsessed with the interplay between sweet fruit and savory food. I have several varieties of fresh and dried fruits on hand at all times to throw into savory dishes. Mango sauce gets slathered on chicken. Pineapple belongs on burgers. And tacos. And black bean dip. Apples can be the star of a slow cooker sausage dish. Salmon gets smothered with apricot glaze.
And now, chicken and grapes is my newest obsession. I grabbed some jars and packed my lunches for the entire week with these Chicken & Spinach Salad Jars. Savory cooked chicken breast, sweet red grapes, crunchy walnuts, and salty Asiago cheese are packed together with leafy spinach and a mustardy, herby dressing. Fruit and real food never tasted so good together. I’m kicking younger Lori in the shins for missing out on all of this.
For the Mustard-Thyme Vinaigrette:
- 5 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 5 teaspoons country Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the Salad Jars:
- 8 ounces cooked chicken breast, chopped
- 2 cups red grapes, halved
- 1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup shaved Asiago cheese
- 4 cups baby spinach, roughly torn
- Make Mustard-Thyme Vinaigrette: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in oil until all oil is incorporated.
- Divide Mustard-Thyme Vinaigrette equally among 4 pint-sized mason jars. Divide chicken over dressing. Layer remaining ingredients, ending with spinach (you may have to tightly pack spinach into jars). Top with lids and refrigerate up to 4 days. To serve, pour onto plate or bowl, stir and enjoy.
Want more salad jar ideas? Check out these other portable, fun lunch recipes!