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strawberry rhubarb salad with orange chicken

Orange Chicken Salad with Strawberries (Whole30, Paleo)

Summer Yule
Savor fresh, whole foods with this orange chicken salad with strawberries! Under 400 calories with Whole30, Paleo, gluten free, and low carb options!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 367 kcal

Ingredients

For the orange chicken:

  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders (454 grams, raw chicken strips)
  • ½ tablespoon orange zest
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce (use coconut aminos for gluten free, Paleo, and Whole30)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

For the strawberry dressing:

  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped rhubarb (peeled unless the skin is tender and pink; stems only, rhubarb leaves are poisonous)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon Swerve, granular (skip or replace with pureed Medjool dates for Whole30)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • cup water

For assembling chicken salads with strawberries:

  • 8 cups baby spinach (not packed; approximately 10 ounces/283 grams)
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled (113 grams; substitute with chopped avocado for Whole30 or certain Paleo diets)
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, diced (about 10 ounces/283 grams)
  • ½ cup pistachios, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions

To make the orange chicken:

  • Combine all of the "for the orange chicken" ingredients except the chicken to make your marinade. Put the chicken strips in a single layer in an 8x8-inch (20x20 cm) oven-safe glass baking dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken and allow it to marinate for 2-12 hours in the refrigerator. Flip the chicken every few hours, if desired.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). While it preheats, put the marinated chicken on the counter so you don't put the cold baking dish straight in the oven. Bake the chicken in the marinade about one-third of the way from the top of the oven for 25 minutes. 
  • Use a meat thermometer to check that the chicken reached a minimum safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Bake it a little longer if it has not.
  • Lift your chicken out of the marinade once it has finished cooking. I chose to grill the chicken with a stovetop grill for two minutes on each side to get some nice grill lines, but this is optional.
  • Cut the orange chicken into bite size pieces and let it chill while you finish the recipe.

To make the strawberry dressing:

  • Chop the strawberries for the dressing and the rhubarb into ½-inch (1.27 cm) pieces. Peel the rhubarb if the skin is not tender.
  • Put all of the "for the strawberry rhubarb dressing" ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • When the rhubarb has softened and Swerve has dissolved, put the cooked mixture in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Refrigerate the strawberry rhubarb dressing until serving time.

To make the chicken salads with strawberries:

  • Divide the baby spinach between four meal prep containers or serving bowls.
  • Top each bowl of spinach with an even amount of sliced strawberries, orange chicken, cucumbers, feta, and pistachios.
  • Drizzle the salad with the strawberry dressing and garnish with cilantro right before serving. Yum!

Notes

This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). The marinade was not included in the calorie count on this dish since it is not consumed.  
As a high-volume eater, this is precisely the sort of lunch option that I favored during my weight loss journey. All of the strawberries and non-starchy veggies I’ve tucked in here provide a lot of volume for very few calories. The protein from lean chicken breast rounds out the meal and will help to keep you full. 
Strawberries align well with most dietary patterns (low-carb, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, etc.). In addition, two cups of strawberry halves are under 100 calories. Compare the amount of food you get to one of those 100-calorie snack packs; strawberries are the clear winner for fat loss! 
All chicken salads are not the same, however. For instance, salads that are drowning in mayo or other added fats may not be the best choice for weight watchers. 
Added fats and oil typically add 100-120 calories per tablespoon. If you’re trying to maintain the calorie deficit needed for weight loss, the calories from added fats can add up fast. 
If you need a higher energy meal, try serving this salad in a wrap or a sandwich instead. I think the marinated chicken, berries, spinach, and feta would be excellent drizzled with some of the dressing and tucked in a wrap (or two). Alternatively, add some bread on the side. 
  
Nutrition information is for one serving and does not include the chicken marinade. Calories and carbohydrate content may be (slightly) underestimated due to marinade that adheres to the chicken. Carbohydrates listed are net carbs (total carbs minus fiber and erythritol). 

Nutrition

Calories: 367kcalCarbohydrates: 16.6gProtein: 37.7gFat: 15.5gSaturated Fat: 5.8gSodium: 549.5mgPotassium: 1254.7mgVitamin A: 123% DVVitamin C: 125.2% DVCalcium: 45.4% DVIron: 22.2% DV
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