Paleo Chicken Bacon & Strawberry Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

For the Dressing:

  • 1.5 tbsp raw honey OR ¼ cup dates, (soaked in hot water to soften, and drained), plus 1 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest (about 1 small orange)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Scant ¾ tsp fine grain sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Scant ¾ cup light flavored olive oil, or avocado oil if preferred

For the Salad:

  • Salad:
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded to ½" thickness
  • generous pinch fine grain sea salt
  • dash of onion powder and black pepper for chicken
  • 5 slices paleo bacon (nitrate free, sugar free) cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 and ½ cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup shelled raw walnuts
  • 5 oz container baby spinach, or your favorite salad greens

Instructions:

Prepare the dressing first:

  1. In a food processor or blender (you'll need a high speed blender if using dates) combine all dressing ingredients except for the olive oil and pulse/blend until smooth.
  2. With blender or processor running on low speed, slowly pour in oil in a steady, narrow stream until used up and the mixture is smooth and combined
  3. Transfer to a lidded jar and refrigerate until ready to use
  4. In a large deep skillet over medium high heat, cook the bacon, stirring, until crisp, then remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels
  5. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with a bit of salt, pepper and onion powder on both sides. Using 1-2 tbsp of the rendered bacon fat, sautée the chicken breasts over medium heat about 2-4 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the breasts. Remove from pan to plate and set aside to rest. Once ready to serve, slice or chop into bite size pieces
  6. In the skillet where the bacon was cooked, discard all but a thin layer of bacon fat and heat over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring, about 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted. Sprinkle with a bit of salt if desired.
  7. To assemble the salad, in a large serving bowl layer the greens with the sliced chicken, bacon, toasted walnuts and sliced strawberries. Shake the dressing to combine well, then lightly drizzle or serve dressing on the side (you'll likely have some leftover which you can store covered in the fridge for up to one week)
  8. Serve tossed with the dressing and enjoy!
  9. Serves 4 as a meal