This salad is light and filling at the same time, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner! Use up whatever nuts you have in your pantry and take any mixed greens you have in the fridge to whip this meal up.
For the Candied Pumpkin Seeds and Hazelnuts
- 1/ 2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/ 2 cup chopped hazelnuts
- 1/ 4 cup honey
- Kosher salt
For the Pomegranate Sage Vinaigrette
- 1/ 4 cup pomegranate juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3/ 4 cup safflower oil, or other neutral oil
- 1/ 4 cup leaves, sliced sage
For the Salad
- 2 ( 6 ounce ) chicken breasts
- Safflower oil
- 3 ounces spring mix
- 3 ounces arugula
- 2 apples, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, crumbled
- 1/ 4 cup pomegranate seeds
- Black peppercorns, freshly cracked
To Make the Candied Pumpkin Seeds and Hazelnuts
In a medium sauté pan, add the pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts. Toast over low heat until slightly brown and nutty.
Add the honey and 1 tablespoon water. Raise the heat to medium and allow the honey to bubble. Stir the mixture so that the honey evenly coats the seeds and nuts. Let the honey simmer a couple of minutes until it thickens.
Pour the mixture into one, even layer onto an oiled piece of parchment paper. Immediately season with a pinch of salt while the mixture is still hot.
Let cool. Break into bite-size pieces.
To Make the Pomegranate Sage Vinaigrette
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the pomegranate juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and honey.
Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking continuously until the vinaigrette has emulsified.
Season with salt to taste (make sure it is very well seasoned). Stir in the sage. Let sit until ready to serve.
To Make the Salad
Pat the chicken dry and season well with salt.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to just coat the bottom. Once hot, place the chicken into the skillet. Sear the chicken on one side for a few minutes. Once it releases easily, flip the chicken and sear on the other side.
Lower the heat and finish cooking for about 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through. Let the chicken cool and then roughly chop it into pieces.
To assemble the salad, combine the spring mix and arugula in a large mixing bowl. Add the apples, cheddar cheese, and grilled chicken. Give the vinaigrette a good whisk and drizzle it into the bowl (start with half of the vinaigrette and add more according to your preference).
Toss the salad well and season with salt to taste (if needed). Transfer the salad to a large serving bowl. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds, candied pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts, and freshly cracked black pepper.