Mexican Chicken and Roasted Veggie Dinner Salad

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Yaaaay summer!  I love it.  I’m so glad it’s here.  The best thing about summer is the food. I love grilling, berries, melon, peaches, and the bounty of fresh vegetables.  I love being inspired to reinvent food like fresh salsas and slaw. I’m so excited to be back in the South and to reap the benefits of the long growing season.  No offense to my sweet yankee friends.  I really do miss you and all of your varieties of kale.

Seasonality is ingrained in me.  In the winter I tend to eat a lot of soups and stews, and I drink red wine.  In the summer I drink white wine and I love to eat salads.  I take the development and construction of my salads quite seriously.  Like a fine work of art, there must be a balance of salty, sour, creamy, and most importantly, crunch.  This Mexican Chicken and Roasted Veggie Salad has all of the above.  It’s tasty, satisfying, packed with veggies, and oh so good for you!  There is no need for dressing in this salad. The marinade for the chicken and veggies provide enough bold flavor without the added calories of dressing. This delicious and filling dinner is only 375 calories.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Make the marinade.  Squeeze the juice of one lime into a bowl.

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Add two cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped.

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Add 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar, 2 tsps ground cumin, 2 tsps chili powder, 2 tsps black pepper,  2 tsps ground coriander, and stir to combine.  I usually don’t add salt to meat or vegetables until right before I cook them.  The salt tends to draw out the moisture.

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Spoon half of the marinade over the boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Reserve the remaining marinade for the vegetables. This recipe serves two.  Each salad gets half a chicken breast.  There are three pictured here.  I like to be efficient and cook extra chicken to have in the fridge for quick lunches and dinners.

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Be sure that the chicken is covered evenly with the marinade. Set the chicken aside at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, turning the chicken over with a pair of tongs, halfway through.

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In the meantime, prepare the vegetables.  Chef tip:  Heat the sheet pan in the oven so the vegetables sizzle when you pour them on the pan.  This will keep them from sticking to the pan.  It works really well with potatoes, too.  French cut the onion, and cut the zuchinni lengthwise, and then into half moons.  Trim the rough part off of the bottom of the asparagus.  Cut into two inch pieces, keeping the size similar to the other vegetables. Cut the bell pepper into strips, similar in size to the other vegetables as well. Clean the corn.

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Add the vegetables (except for the corn) to a large bowl.

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Pour the remaining marinade over the vegetables.  Add two tsps Diamond Krystal kosher salt (if using Morton’s add one tsp) and one Tblsp olive oil.  Toss well to combine.

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Remove the hot sheet pan from the oven.  Pour the vegetables onto the pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Return pan to the top rack of the oven.

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Place the cleaned corn right on the lower rack.

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Roast the corn for 10 minutes.  Roast the rest of the vegetables for 15-20 minutes, until tender and slightly browned.

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Once the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off of the cob.  Set aside.

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While the vegetables are cooking, start cooking the chicken.  Get a cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed saute pan hot over medium high heat. Generously salt the top side of the chicken breasts.

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Add the chicken breasts to the hot pan, salted side down. Generously salt the other side of the chicken breasts.

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Cover the pan and cook for about 8 minutes. Remove the cover.  Using tongs, turn the chicken breasts over.  Replace the cover, and cook 5 to 8 minutes more, until the chicken is just cooked through.  If you are unsure, temp the chicken with a thermometer at 155 degrees.  Allow the chicken to rest for 8 to 10 minutes.

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While the chicken is resting, roast the pumpkin seeds.  Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.  Place 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan.  Toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, until just golden brown.

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Now that you have all of the prep done, it’s time to build the salad.  Start with two cups of fresh greens per plate.   Here I’ve used arugula and spinach.

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Top with about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of roasted vegetables.  This is the beauty of vegetables, you can add as many or as little as you like. Divide the corn kernels betweet the two salads.

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Take one chicken breast.  Cut it in half lengthwise.  Place the cut side down and cut each half into bite sized pieces and place each half of pieces on each plate.  Divide the toasted pumpkin seeds between the two plates, and sprinkle on top.  Lastly, top with two Tblsps of goat cheese feta. If you’d rather substitute cow feta, that is fine.  I found a lovely goat cheese feta at my local farmer’s market. Fabulous!  This entree salad adds up to 375 calories. Oh, did I forget to mention that it’s gluten-free?

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MEXICAN CHICKEN AND ROASTED VEGGIE DINNER SALAD RECIPE

Serves Two

Marinade:

Juice of one lime

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, diced very small

2 tsps ground cumin

2 tsps chili powder

2 tsps black pepper

2 tsps ground coriander

Salad:

1 each boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I usually cook extra just to have around)

1 each yellow onion

1 bunch asparagus

1 red bell pepper

2 each medium zuchinni

2 tsps Diamond Krystal Kosher Salt (use 1 tsp if using Morton’s)

1 Tblsp olive oil

2 ears of sweet corn

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

4 Tblsps goat cheese feta

4 cups fresh greens (arugula, spinach, lettuce mix, baby kale, or any combination of these)

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Make the marinade.  Place lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, coriander, black pepper, and white wine vinegar in a bowl.  Mix to combine.

2. Spoon half of the marinade over chicken. Reserve the other half for the vegetables.  Set the chicken aside at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, turning halfway through.

3. Place a clean sheet pan in the oven.  Prepare vegetables.  French cut the onion, cut the zucchini horizontally, and then into half moons.  Cut the rough end off of the bottom of the asparagus.  Cut the asparagus stalks into 2 inch pieces.  Cut the red pepper into strips.  All of the vegetables should be similar in size.  Clean the corn.

4. Place all of the vegetables except for the corn into a large bowl.  Add remaining marinade, kosher salt, and olive oil.  Toss well to combine. Remove sheet pan from oven and pour the vegetables on the pan, spreading evenly with a spatula.  Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot pan.  Return pan to the oven on the top rack.  Place the corn directly on the bottom rack. Roast corn for about 10 minutes.  Roast the other vegetables for 15-20 minutes until tender and starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside. Once the corn is cool enough to handle cut the corn off of the cob and set aside.

5.  Heat a cast iron or heavy bottomed skilled over medium high heat.   Generously salt the chicken on the side facing up.  Spray pan quickly with olive oil pan spray and place the chicken salted side down in the pan.  Generously salt the other side of the chicken.  Cover the pan and cook for about 8 minutes.   Remove cover and turn the chicken over with a pair of tongs.  Replace cover and cook another 5-8 minutes until chicken is just cooked or a thermometer reads 155.   Rest chicken for 8-10 minutes.

6. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.  Place raw pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

7.  Build the salad.  Divide greens between two plates.  Top with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the roasted vegetables.  Place half of the corn on each salad. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and divide between the two plates.  Sprinkle each plate with half of the pumpkin seeds and 2 Tblsps of goat feta.

Enjoy!  375 calories and gluten free!

One thought on “Mexican Chicken and Roasted Veggie Dinner Salad

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