Summer is here and I am absolutely loving the abundance of fresh ingredients that the warm weather brings. While I'm not much of a gardener I love seeing the growing citrus and berries bushes on my parents land, Hoo Hoo Acres. Their orange tree is loaded down with fruit and my mother's blackberry bushes went absolutely crazy producing thumb sized berries that were sweeter than any we'd ever tasted in the past. The kids head straight for those blackberry bushes at every visit and start filling their bellies and still, they hardly make a dent on the bushes.
Those blackberries were the beginning inspiration for this fun Blackened Chicken and Berry Summer Salad. Eventually the birds took over the blackberry bushes cleaning them out and we were left heading to the grocery store in search of more. To my surprise the berries at the store were nearly just as good as the fresh picked we had gotten used to. In fact all of the berries available looked marvelous and I knew I needed to create a fun summer salad featuring my favorite ones, strawberries and blackberries.
I really dig the fusion flavors such as sweet and savory, cool and spicy, or fresh and creamy. For some reason on this particular shopping trip spicy blackened chicken was calling my name so I decided to take my chances and just add it to my Summer Berry Salad. As if it was all meant to be my usual choice of Litehouse Blue Cheese Dressing was sold out and there was Litehouse's Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette in its place. I threw caution to the wind and just went for it. Everything that I was craving during that long haul shopping trip made it into this salad.
Any mother knows how ravenously hungry a stressful shopping trip with all of the kids can leave you. I come home, unload 30 grocery bags, and am ready to dive into any junk food available before even putting groceries away! Thank goodness this salad comes with minimal cooking, minimal chopping, and is ready and looking perfectly delicious in 15 minutes or less. The spicy Cajun style chicken breast brings a little bit of heat that slowly builds on the taste buds while the fresh berries quickly cool it down with their sweet juices. The Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette brings a little fresh tang to the salad that I balanced with a sprinkle of Simply Artisan Reserves Feta Cheese Crumbles because a salad just isn't a salad without a bit of cheese!
Not only is this salad a quick fix meal with minimal cooking and chopping but it is full of nutrients from a variety of greens and berries. Let the wide array of antioxidants and vitamins A, B, C, and K provide your summer fun with a healthful boost that taste as great as it looks! Feel free to switch up the Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette with OPA by Litehouse Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing for a richer heartier salad! Even the Feta Cheese Crumbles can be swapped with Simply Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles.