INSTANT POT CHICKEN SALAD WITH STRAWBERRIES, FETA AND PECANS
What’s In This Chicken Salad?
One of the real treats of summer is the strawberry. With only a 5 – 6 week season in the late spring/early summer, strawberries are a prized treat. The best are firm-fleshed and sweet – easily eaten with no extras seasoning required.
Even though strawberries are sweet, their flavor makes a great contrast with red onion. The onion is optional in the salad, but does add a delicious flavor profile.
Chicken Breast Meal Prep Hack
Even if you aren’t a real meal prepper, using your Instant Pot for cooking the chicken makes it quick and easy. Cooking a few other chicken breasts at the same time would be easy and gives you a quick protein available for other meals later in the week.
Can I Use a Different Leafy Green?
This recipe calls for mixed leafy greens, but many strawberry salads are made with spinach and they are delicious! As a member of a two-person household, I am constantly trying to use up my fresh produce before it goes bad.
Since this chicken salad recipe tops the greens with shredded chicken, I like a little sturdier green to hold the chicken. But I can promise you if I had a partial bag of spinach or half a head of butter lettuce about to pass their prime, I would absolutely use them!
Or if your personal preference is arugula or kale, by all means, use what you like in an easy-to-substitute recipe like this.
On the subject of substituting…
I know that strawberries are an allergen to many. (I am so sorry you have to miss out!)
And to further muddy the waters, yes, you can add a sliced avocado. Lots of people try to work an avocado into their diets daily and this would be a tasty addition to this salad.
That’s the real trick to being a good cook – you know when you can make a substitution or addition and it will be great! That confidence comes with practice in the kitchen. My mission is to help everyone have the confidence they need to cook ANYTHING they want to!
The Best Salad Dressings are Homemade – and Easy!
Nothing is better, and easier (!), than homemade salad dressing. You control the salt, the seasoning and in this recipe you just give the ingredients a vigorous shake in a sealed jar. I keep a small Ball jar in the cabinet just for this purpose.
I find my stick blender invaluable when making quick dressings and sauces. It usually just takes a couple of good pulses to emulsify the ingredients and it’s an easy cleanup, too.
Instant Pot® Chicken Salad with Strawberries, Feta, & Pecans
- Instant Pot
- Salad Ingredients:
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ½ t. garlic powder
- Sea salt & black pepper to taste
- ½ c. chicken broth or water
- 5 c. mixed salad greens
- ½ pint fresh strawberries sliced
- 2 oz. Feta cheese cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup red onion sliced thin (optional)
- 3 oz. pecan halves
- Dressing Ingredients:
- ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- 1 t. Dijon mustard
- ½ T. fresh lemon juice
- ¼ t. garlic powder
- Pinch sea salt
- Optional: 1 t. honey
- Add olive oil to Instant Pot® and select the Sauté function. Set to high and once the display reads “hot,” add chicken breasts. Season chicken on both sides with the garlic powder, plus salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Sear chicken breasts on each side until golden brown, approximately 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from Instant Pot® and set aside. Add chicken broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot by gently scraping with a rubber spatula.
- Add the metal trivet that comes with the Instant Pot® and place the chicken breasts on top. Add the lid and set the pressure valve to “sealing.” Select the “Manual” cooking option on the high setting and set cook time to 8 minutes. When done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, and then do a quick release for any remaining pressure.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover tightly and shake until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired. Set aside.
- Remove chicken from Instant Pot® and let rest for a few minutes, then shred with two forks. Reserve cooking liquid from the pot to use in other recipes or freeze for later use.
- Arrange mixed salad greens on a platter and top with the shredded chicken, sliced strawberries, Feta cheese, and pecans. Drizzle the balsamic dressing on top and serve immediately. Enjoy!