How to Make A Quick, Healthy, Protein-Packed Salad

If I had a professional chef on staff, I would probably eat salad every day for lunch. But….since it is just me as the short order cook in the house, I don’t usually have time for something inventive enough to be interesting or with enough protein to keep me full. Seriously, who has time to grill chicken in between preschool pickups and naptime? If I were smart, I would grill up a bunch of chicken or salmon at night to have for the week. But I can barely plan for one night of meals much less 5. Just between us (because I am horrified by this list) here is what I had for lunch the past 5 days:
Leftover pizza
Leftover mac n’ cheese
A weird protein bar that tasted like cardboard
Some stale chips with cheese melted on them

My solution? Ok, and this might sound weird, but I put Gilbert’s craft sausage on my salad the other day because….it was the only thing in my fridge. And it was amazing. Best part besides how yummy it is? That it takes 25 seconds to heat up in the microwave. No grilling. No thawing. Just heat, slice and top your salad. I also remember having goat cheese croutons at a restaurant once, and I wish I could have ordered a bowl full. They are super easy to make and perfectly complement the flavors in this salad.

Kale Chicken Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese Croutons

Shallot Vinaigrette-

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Ground pepper
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Add in shallots, then gradually whisk in olive oil until smooth. Adapted from Food Network recipe.


1 Gilbert’s Kale Chicken Sausage
Baby Kale
Dried Cranberries
Goat Cheese
Panko Bread Crumbs

Place kale on plate and drizzle with Shallot Vinaigrette. Doing this first will help soften the leaves since the acid in the vinegar will break them down a bit. Make quarter-size “coins” of goat cheese and coat in panko bread crumbs. Quickly fry in a pan of extra virgin olive oil- keep it at least at medium heat and flip when the crumbs brown. Let drain on paper towel. Cook sausage according to directions on package and slice on the bias. Add sausage, cranberries, and goat cheese croutons to salad.

1 link of Gilbert’s Kale Chicken Sausage has 13 grams of protein, no sugar, and no nitrates or nitrites. And they are all natural. And I am not eating leftover pizza anymore.

You can grab them at a variety of locations- check their store finder to find the closest one to you.

Thank you to Gilbert’s for giving me amazing food to try out!