Thursday, June 7, 2012

Greek Layered Spinach, Feta & Artichoke Salad

It’s that time of year when we're going to, and cooking for, lots of parties, picnics and showers.  We're celebrating holidays, birthdays, beautiful weather and being outside, new babies and new love that has blossomed into the commitment of a wedding.  Our celebrations run the gamut...we just LOVE parties, don't we?  Well, I do.

Do you wrack your brains for what to make to take?  It's not always an easy decision, is it...especially when you want to fancy it up a little bit for a shower. I made this colorful and delicious salad for Janelle's bridal shower at work tomorrow.  

A layered salad makes such a beautiful presentation.  They’re SO pretty in a clear glass bowl!  We all know that you eat with your eyes first.  That makes this gorgeous salad a feast for the eyes and for the tastebuds!

Greek Layered Spinach, Feta & Artichoke Salad

  • 2 large chicken breast halves, shredded (Buy them at the deli counter - if you're lucky, you can just buy the breasts.  Otherwise, buy a whole rotisserie chicken, use the breasts and use the rest for something else.)
  • 3/4 English cucumber, diced small
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon Jane's Crazy Salt

  • 2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 large lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Jane's Crazy Salt

  • 5 ounces fresh spinach, preferably baby spinach, torn - 1 bag
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
  • 12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, reserve juice
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 3/4 cup kalamata olives, seeded and quartered
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

A day or two ahead, mix the garbanzo beans (chickpeas) with the lemon juice and minced garlic, olive oil & Jane's crazy salt in a tall, narrow container.  Using a fork, stab the beans, stir, stab the beans, stir; cover & store in fridge.  Shake the container occasionally to marinate well.  Don't make the beans mooshy, just get some nice holes in them.  It lets the marinade permeate & gives the beans a hummus-y flavor!

The night before you're going to serve this, sprinkle Crazy Salt on diced cucumbers and let drain in a strainer over a bowl while you layer the salad.

In a glass bowl, put the spinach in the bottom, scatter the garbanzo beans and all the marinade next.  Next do a layer of the roasted red peppers, then chicken and sprinkle with basil and a little Crtazy Salt. 

Next do an even layer of the artichokes, cutting to bite-size, if necessary.  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.  Scatter with the kalamata olives - be SURE you get all the pits out!  Next crumble the feta over all.

Now drain the cucumbers well, pressing them against the sides of the strainer.  Mix the cukes and the tomatoes, sprinkle with a little Crazy Salt, pour the reserved artichoke liquid over all, mix and scatter the mixture over the salad.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

The juices and marinades form the dressing.  Serve with tongs, digging down deep through the layers to get a little of everything in every serving.  Nice with some pita!

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