Many people think that salads are a summer dish and should only be reserved for days that are too hot to cook. While salads can be refreshing on a hot day and are a great way to use up all of summer’s wonderful produce, a hearty chopped salad with the right combination of flavors and textures is welcome at any summer season. year.
This Chicken, Pear, and Walnut Chopped Salad recipe, created by Tasting Table recipe creator Jennine Rye, is a dish that can be enjoyed all year round. Refreshing and fresh, but also hearty and satisfying, this salad will satisfy even the most picky eaters. This dish is a feast of flavors: loaded with roasted chicken breast for a healthy dose of lean protein, plus sweet pears, toasted walnuts, beets, and dolce Gorgonzola. Finished with a simple and delicious Dijon-maple vinaigrette, this salad is anything but boring.
Perfect on its own for a healthy, hearty lunch, or as a side salad to accompany other dishes, this chopped chicken, pear and walnut salad will please almost everyone.
Read more: The 20 Best Olive Oils for Cooking
Gather the ingredients for this chicken, pear and walnut chopped salad recipe
To start this Chopped Chicken, Pear and Walnut Salad recipe, you will first need to gather the ingredients. You will need walnuts, chicken breasts, olive oil, thyme, lettuce, pears, pre-cooked beets, Dolce Gorgonzola, salt and pepper. Additionally, for the dressing, you will need more olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar.
Step 1: Preheat the oven
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Step 2: Toast the nuts
Spread the nuts on a medium-sized baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
Step 3: prepare the chicken
Arrange the chicken breasts in a baking dish, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with thyme, salt and pepper.
Step 4: Cook the Chicken
Bake for 25 minutes until just cooked, then remove and leave to rest.
Step 5: Prepare the dressing
In a jar with a lid, add the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, ⅓ cup olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste.
Step 6: Mix the Dressing
Place the lid securely on the jar, then shake the ingredients for 10 to 15 seconds until well mixed. Put aside.
Step 7: Chop the Chicken
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Step 8: Chop the Nuts
Cut the nuts into pieces.
Step 9: Combine Salad Ingredients
In a large bowl or on a plate, combine the lettuce, pear, beets, Gorgonzola, chicken and walnuts.
Step 10: Add the dressing and serve
Drizzle the mixed dressing over the top and toss to coat with the dressing immediately before serving.
How can this recipe for chopped chicken, pear and walnut salad be adapted?
One of the best things about salads is their adaptability. Unlike a cake or pastry, which relies on the chemistry between specific amounts of different ingredients to work properly, salads can be easily customized without screwing up the recipe. This dish can be adapted for those following a vegetarian diet simply by omitting the chicken. You may want to consider another ingredient in its place, such as a plant-based chicken substitute, which would keep the dish close to its original format. You can also sweeten the dish by using roasted squash or sweet potatoes to add a great pop of color and flavor.
The ingredients for this chopped chicken, pear and walnut salad are quite autumnal, but it can be adapted for different seasons. Simply replace any out-of-season ingredients with those that are freshest at any time of year. Finally, if you prefer your cheese to be a little less tangy, you can replace the Gorgonzola with other types of cheese that go well in a salad; we recommend feta or Manchego as different and delicious options for this salad.
How to store this chopped chicken, pear and walnut salad?
Keeping a salad fresh once made can be quite tricky, if you don’t finish it in one go it can become soggy and unpleasant. However, if stored properly, this chopped salad can last up to 3 days in the refrigerator and can be a great meal prep option for the week ahead.
The first thing, and perhaps most important, is not to season the salad until you are ready to eat the meal. So if you’re prepping ahead to go to work for a few days, keep the dressing in a separate small Tupperware jar and dress it up at the last minute to keep your salad nice and crisp. Second, for an easy tip, simply place a piece of paper towel in your storage container before sealing it, then store the salad in the refrigerator upside down. Sealing the can will help the salad retain moisture and the paper towel will absorb any excess moisture that would otherwise make your lettuce soggy.