March 23, 2024

Chicken Butternut Pear & Goat Cheese Salad

When a salad is this loaded, it’s hard to decide what to leave out of the name… the crunchy pepitas? The chewy dried cranberries? The hearty farro? The roasted butternut squash? The sweet pear? The grilled chicken? The savory goat cheese? The maple dijon dressing? You better just make it for yourself, because this “Chicken Butternut Pear & Goat Cheese Salad” is too good for words! This salad works great for meal prep, too.

You might also like my Harvest Chicken Salad & Cider Vinaigrette!

Did you know? Salads can be very nutrient-dense, but also very calorie-dense! Restaurant salads are typically over 1,000 calories - after all they're usually loaded with nuts, dried fruit, cheese, bacon, avocado, and high-fat dressings (all high in calories). Making your own salad makes it easier to control portion size while still enjoying all the flavors.

Chicken Butternut Pear Goat Cheese Salad

Salad vegetables

This salad all starts with a bed of mixed greens, roasted butternut, and hearty farro. You can totally swap the mixed greens for spinach, butter lettuce, arugula, or massaged kale.

The butternut squash I peeled and cubed then tossed with avocado oil, dried rosemary, and sea salt. Then, I roasted the squash at 425 degrees F for about 35 minutes until browned in spots. Sweet potato would also be delicious!

Chicken Butternut Pear & Goat Cheese Salad

What is farro?

Farro is a hearty, nutty grain from Italy, similar to barley or thicker brown rice. It’s not gluten-free, but can easily be swapped for buckwheat groats (kasha), wild rice, or quinoa if you need gluten free.

Chicken Butternut Pear & Goat Cheese Salad closeup

Chicken and alternatives

For the chicken, I sliced the breasts in half to crosswise to make them thinner. You can also buy thin-sliced chicken breasts. Then, I cooked my chicken in my favorite hard-anodized skillet with avocado oil over medium-high heat, 4-5 minutes per side, until lightly browned. While cooking, I seasoned it with some black pepper, and garlic powder on both sides. This method always results in perfectly juicy chicken breasts! Roasted turkey or rotisserie chicken would work here too.

I always buy my poultry “organic,” “free range,” or at the very least with “no antibiotics ever.” The labels “natural” or “all natural” just mean the end product is minimally processed and doesn’t contain artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives. It doesn't say much for the quality of the poultry or how they were raised! 

Chicken Butternut Pear & Goat Cheese Salad forkful

Fruit and other toppings

To make this Chicken Butternut Pear & Goat Cheese Salad even better, I topped it with diced pear (could use apple), roasted pepitas (could use sunflower seeds or any nuts you like), and goat cheese! The goat cheese can be left off for dairy-free, but it’s adds so much flavor to this salad. Feta would also be a good option if you don’t have goat cheese.

Chicken Butternut Pear & Goat Cheese Salad meal prep

Maple balsamic dressing

Last but not least, the dressing! I whisked together some aged balsamic vinegar, olive oil (can also use avocado oil), maple syrup and dijon to make a simple yet flavorful drizzle. You can totally trade the maple syrup for honey, or replace it with more olive oil for slightly lower carbs and sugar.

Here’s the recipe for this Chicken Butternut Pear & Goat Cheese Salad! I hope you will rate this recipe and comment below if you try it 🙂

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