recipe | wilted spinach chicken salad

I acquired this recipe the old fashioned way. Remember before the internet, before cooking websites and food blogs and printable recipes, people used to watch cooking shows and write down what the chef was making, teaspoon by teaspoon? My grandma always did that when she would come to visit. In between cooking elaborate meals and shining up my mom's pots with ketchup and salt (that really works, by the way) she'd watch cooking shows. If she liked what she saw, she'd write it all down. Later on we'd find them, little pieces of paper with her cursive scrawl all over, almost always recipes that included vinegar or horseradish or bleu cheese, or something else with robust flavor, because she liked stuff like that.

A few Saturday mornings ago I saw a woman prepare this salad on TV. I wasn't sure of the name of the show, and knew I'd have a hard time tracking it down on the internet, so I grabbed a pen and paper and pulled a Grandma Esther. I wrote as fast as I could and I'm still not sure I copied it down completely correctly, but what I did get works really well. The mellow chicken and spinach leaves are brightened by the sharp vinegar and salty olives-- I've been eating it for lunch all week, and can't get enough. Robust flavor, I bet Grams would like it.

Wilted Spinach Chicken Salad

8 cups julienned spinach leaves
2 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
3 T red wine vinegar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup cooked and chopped bacon, optional

1. In a large bowl, add spinach leaves, chicken, and green olives

2. Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add scallions and stir until tender. Add diced tomatoes and stir for a minute or two more. Stir in the balsamic and red wine vinegar. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

3. Pour dressing over bowl, and gently toss to combine.


  1. That looks delicious and your photos are lovely! You have gorgeous light in your house.

  2. "...pulled a Grandma Esther" gave me the biggest giggle. i do remember those days and i love that you found this recipe on TV. will definitely try this soon. xox.

  3. Sounds so good! I'll have to give this a try. I've been watching more and more cooking shows, there's something about dinner inspiration not being from the Internet ;). Haha!

  4. OMG I am so glad you Grandma Esthered this
    Recipe. I saw the same show & kept it a long time after making this delicious salad but then finally erased it because I thought
    I would be able to find it again easily! Boy I was wrong!! So thank you so much,! It is addicting!!