This salad features chicken breast, seared peaches and spiced chickpeas...

This salad features chicken breast, seared peaches and spiced chickpeas with a raspberry vinaigrette. Credit: Marge Perry

This is a recipe for one dinner, or three recipes you can turn to over and over. As a single main dish dinner salad, it is an incredibly satisfying blend of textures and flavors — and what summer cook won’t appreciate that it all happens in just one pan?!

Each component of the recipe stands on its own and can be used for many other meals.

  • The raspberry vinaigrette is a great, fruity salad dressing that happens to be as wonderful on a watermelon salad as it is on a classic lettuce salad.
  • Spiced chickpeas are great in salads but also perfect to serve on the patio while sipping whatever is cold.
  • Simply seasoned and perfectly cooked chicken breasts are a staple in our house in the summer. Slice them up into salads, leave them whole for a sandwich, or chop them into a mayonnaise-y chicken salad. With these in the fridge, there is always something good to eat.

Finally, if you haven’t already discovered the pleasure of seared or roasted peaches, the time is nigh! Simply toss them with a little oil and sear or roast until they are lightly browned and somewhat more tender. Cooking peaches intensifies their inherent flavors, and searing and roasting bring out their natural sugars. I generally sear them if I am cooking stovetop, and roast them, spread in a single layer on a sheet pan, if the oven is on. Hard and underripe peaches undergo a magical transformation, although they may need a pinch of sugar to help them along.

Chicken, Peach, and Chickpea Dinner Salad

Dressing:
1 tablespoon raspberry red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon country-style Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

Peaches:

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 medium firm ripe peaches, pitted and cut into 8 wedges each

Chickpeas:

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Chicken:

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 to 7 ounces each

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

12 cups mixed lettuces

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Make the dressing: combine the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until combined.

2. Sear the peaches: heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until very hot. Add the peaches and cook, turning once, until nicely browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and reserve.

2. Make the chickpeas: combine the paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat: when it is hot, add the chickpeas and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the spice mixture and toss until the chickpeas are well-coated.

4. Cook the chicken: Add the oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet. Cook 6 minutes without turning, until nicely browned on the underside. Flip the chicken over and continue cooking until the underside is well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken register 160°F. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Slice the chicken across into 1/4-inch thick slices.

5. Toss the lettuce and peaches in a bowl with about 3/4 of the dressing. Arrange on a platter and garnish with the chick peas, feta cheese, and sliced chicken. Drizzle remaining dressing over the chicken slices and serve.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS