Chicken and Cantaloupe Strawberry Salad

Cantaloupe, strawberries and crisp greens combine to make this colorful, fresh and unique dish. Add chicken and yogurt for a nutritious and tasty summer dinner salad.

Cantaloupe is a member of a plant family that includes both melon and squash. The melon size varies depending on the growing region, but a medium-sized melon only consists of about 200 calories. Some experts believe that cultivation of cantaloupes dates back to the Biblical period in Egypt and Greece, while others are convinced that they were first cultivated in Persia (present day Iran), Armenia and India.

The strawberry, a member of the rose family, is native to North America. The most common variety is a hybrid from the wild Virginia strawberry. The plant produces its succulent red, conical berries from tiny white flowers and sends out runners to spread and propagate. They have been around thousands of years, but early Americans did not bother to cultivate them because wild strawberries were so abundant. They are a good source of vitamin C.

White, salty, crumbly feta cheese is traditionally made from sheep or goat’s milk, though now it’s also made with cow’s milk. Although it is considered the model Greek brined cheese, it may have originally been Italian. The word "feta" did not even exist in Classical Greek. The New Greek word, originally tyripheta, means "cheese slice," but "feta" comes from the Italian word fette, meaning a slice of food.
This is a simple, summer meal salad great for weekend brunch or for your workday lunchbox entrée.

Chicken and Cantaloupe Strawberry Salad - Makes 4 servings.

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. fruit flavored vinegar (apple or raspberry work well)
1 tsp. poppy seeds
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. sea salt
8 cups salad greens
2 cups cooked skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cups cantaloupe, cubed
1 cup strawberries, halved
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

In small skillet, toast walnuts over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine sour cream, yogurt, vinegar, poppy seeds, salt and pepper in large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup of dressing in separate bowl. Add the greens to dressing in large bowl and toss to coat.

Divide coated greens among 4 salad plates and top with chicken, melon, strawberries, feta and walnuts. Drizzle each serving with 1 tablespoon of the reserved dressing and serve.

Per serving: 295 calories,12 g total fat (4 g saturated fat),15 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 320 mg sodium

The Author:

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $95 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is part of the global network of charities that are dedicated to the prevention of cancer. The WCRF global network is led and unified by WCRF International, a membership association which operates as the umbrella organization for the network .The other charities in the WCRF network are World Cancer Research Fund in the UK (www.wcrf-uk.org); Wereld Kanker Onderzoek Fonds in the Netherlands (www.wcrf-nl.org); World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong (www.wcrf-hk.org); and Fonds Mondial de Recherche contre le Cancer in France (www.fmrc.fr).

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