Chicken and spinach salad

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Chicken and spinach salad
Dr. Desiree Backman is the Director of California's “5 A Day” (servings of fruits and vegetables) Campaign for the California Department of Health Services in Sacramento. She learned about Kaiser Permanente's farmers' markets at a conference about the Central Valley's communities, agriculture and economy in May. Last week I learned that she had organized a farmers' market for the state employees and surrounding community. It opened two weeks ago with about 30 vendors and many happy shoppers. Perseverance was needed. The CHP controlled the property in front of her building. Zoning only allowed the sale of food during parades in the back of her building. The market ended up in a local community park with easy access for many. Bringing produce to the people works outside of healthcare facilities too. You can find most of the ingredients you need for this week's recipe at the Happy Boys Farm stand at the Oakland Medical Center or at your local farmers' market. This is a wonderfully tasty and simple dinner salad that is perfect for a hot night or a cold night.


  • 1 lb boned and skinned chicken breasts, about 4 small halves
  • 3/4 lb baby spinach leaves, rinsed and chilled
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 medium red onion, minced (works well with yellow onion too)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (if you cut off the hard stem end before smashing them, the peel almost jumps off the clove)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Salt and pepper


Rinse the chicken and cut into 1/4" wide strips. Whisk together the vinegar, 3 Tbsp of the olive oil, capers and mustard in a small bowl. Put the spinach in a large salad bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining olive oil and chicken. The chicken needs to cook about four minutes, but you can't start to stir it right away or it will stick. Add the onion and garlic. Stir for about one minute. Add the vinaigrette and stir until it’s hot. Pour it all over the spinach. The leaves will wilt somewhat but still be recognizable. Top with cherry tomatoes and mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • 315 calories
  • 29 gm protein
  • 15 gm of fat (only 2.2 gm sat)
  • 16 gm carbohydrate (6 gm fiber)
  • 426 mg sodium
  • 66 mg cholesterol