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Recently I acquired a large bag of delicious California grown walnuts (from Primavera farm in Linden, CA). I love eating them in my cereal, muffins or as is, but wanted to create a savory vehicle for this delicious ingredient. Substituting nuts for croutons is a trick I often use, especially to make a salad gluten free and keep the crunch factor.

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As you can see I've already enjoyed a few of them (like half the bag)!

As you can see I’ve already enjoyed a few of them (like half the bag)!

Walnuts are loaded with Omega-3 healthy fat along with other vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Try replacing them for the pecans in my Maple-Pecan Granola. Yummy for breakfast or a snack on top of Greek yogurt (sometimes I add a little dark chocolate too, but that’s a secret, well not anymore). Or use as a topping on my Autumn Apple, Cheddar & Prosciutto Di San Daniele Crostini.

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The recipe is for two, but you can easily double or triple to serve as a side or main dish for a refreshing lunch on the patio or backyard picnic. Juicy grilled chicken, sweet mango, rich creamy avocado and smoky bacon, what could be better than that combo? With the walnuts and goat cheese, it’s a crowd and taste bud pleaser.

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CALIFORNIA AVOCADO, WALNUT & MANGO CHICKEN SALAD
gluten free
serves 2

Salad:
• 8 oz CHICKEN BREASTS, BONELESS, SKINLESS
• 1/2 tsp GARLIC POWDER
• SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
• 4 cups MIXED SPRING GREENS or BABY SPINACH
• 1/2 MANGO, peeled & chopped
• 1/2 AVOCADO, chopped
• 4 slices LEAN TURKEY BACON, cooked*
• 2 tbsp FETA or GOAT CHEESE, crumbled *
• 2 tbsp WALNUTS, chopped

Dressing:
• 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
• 1/2 LEMON, juiced
• 1 tsp MUSTARD, PREPARED, DIJON *
• 2 tsp PURE HONEY
• 2 tbsp 100% PURE ORANGE JUICE (I like the Simply brand)
• SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

*Gluten free option: Use GF variety turkey bacon, cheese (if using) and mustard.

1. Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to medium-high heat (or oven to 350 degrees). Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Spray or oil grill, or baking dish with cooking spray. Cook chicken breasts 6-8 minutes per side on grill (or until cooked through), or 20-25 minutes in oven. Cool slightly and chop into bite size pieces.

2. To make vinaigrette: whisk together lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper; set aside.

3. On each of two plates layer 2 cups of fresh greens, 1/4 mango, 1/4 avocado, 4 ounces chopped chicken, 2 slices crumbled turkey bacon, 1 T. walnuts, 1 T. feta or goat cheese and drizzle of half the vinaigrette. Serving size one salad.

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VARIATIONS: Use fresh orange segments or dried fruit for mango. Try grilled shrimp for chicken.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 440 calories, 23g fat, 4g sat fat, 85mg cholesterol, 29g carb, 7g fiber, 18g sugar, 34g protein

PRINT RECIPE – PDF

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