Warm polenta, zucchini & chicken salad gets drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette. You can’t resist the tasty, crispy and soft croutons!
Zucchini, chicken, blue cheese and tangy vinaigrette join warm polenta, yes, polenta in your bowl! It’s the kind of salad you can really dig into. A tasty mix of summer veggies, filling chicken and tasty polenta.
On those busy summer nights when a one-dish meal is a necessity, you will literally want to dive in, head first, to this. Usually I have some boneless chicken breasts on hand to wave a magic wand at so they turn into dinner. Oh, you don’t have one of those magic wands? Well, then this easy salad is for you. A blah chicken dinner this is not! It’s bursting with flavor and the warm polenta is a delightful swap for dry croutons.
To note, this salad is served with crisp, cold lettuces and warm toppings. I love, love, love warm salads for dinner. First of all they feel more dinnery to me. Not like I’m trying to make a light lunch feel like a filling dinner. Also they are simply a delicious mix of textures and temperatures.
Hot, sizzling ingredients tossed into salad greens are my favorite kind of meals. The polenta croutons add a tasty bite to this version!
Zucchini is plentiful all summer and I love it quickly sautéed for this salad. I used chicken breasts, cooked and shredded, but you can also use rotisserie chicken to make this quick. Prepared polenta is the unique ingredient that makes this salad special. It typically comes in tube packaging and is shelf-stable until opened. A really fun, prepared ingredient that isn’t overly processed. Slice it, dice it, eat it immediately or cook it. I tossed my polenta in the skillet just to warm it and give it a crispy crust.
The dressing is a quick, vinegar, herb and oil situation that brightens the creamy, warm polenta and veggies. It works perfectly with the blue cheese. Let me know how you like this salad. It’s honestly one of my favorites! Dinner heaven!
Save time by cooking the chicken a day ahead, or using rotisserie chicken; simply heat it up on the skillet when you're ready to serve.
- 2 zucchini
- 3 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 16-oz pkg prepared polenta, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp chopped oregano
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 5 cups (3 1/2 oz) baby mixed greens or baby arugula
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (1 3/4 cups total)
- 1/3 cup (3 oz) crumbled blue cheese
- Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then on the bias into 1/4-inch slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat and add zucchini. Cook, stirring, until just golden, about 2 min. Remove zucchini, then reduce heat to medium and add polenta to skillet. Cook, stirring, until just heated through, about 4 min.
- Whisk together vinegar, oregano, sugar, salt and 3 tbsp olive oil. In a large bowl, toss half the vinaigrette with the greens, chicken, zucchini and polenta. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with blue cheese. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.
Warm weather triggers “Easy-Dinner Season”. For me a quick chicken meal is always in order. What better way to please the family for dinner than my Chicken-And-Rice Lettuce Wraps.
Or a tasty sandwich with everyone’s favorite: bacon! Dig in to Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken Sandwiches.
This post may include affiliate links. For more information please see my disclosure agreement. Credits: Recipe Tara Bench • Photograph Alexandra Grablewski • Food Stylist Jee Levin • Prop Stylist Christina Lane • Originally published in LHJ 08/09