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! 😉 You might also like my Harvest Chicken Salad & Cider Vinaigrette. Salads are so great for meal prep, too.
Did you know? Salads can be very nutrient-dense, but also very calorie-dense! Restaurant salads average over 1,000kcal, being loaded with nuts, dried fruit, cheese, bacon, avocado, and high-fat dressings (all the good stuff). Making your own salad makes it easier to control portion size (while still enjoying all the flavors).
This salad all starts with a bed of mixed greens, roasted butternut, and hearty farro. You could totally swap the mixed greens for spinach, arugula, or massaged kale!
The butternut squash I peeled and cubed then tossed the cubes with avocado oil, dried rosemary (can use 3/4 teaspoon of fresh 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 work here.
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 wild rice or quinoa if you’re intolerant.
For the chicken, I sliced the breasts in half to crosswise to make them thinner. Then, I cooked my chicken in a hard-anodized skillet (PFOA/PFOE-free) with avocado oil over medium-high heat, 4-5 minutes per side, until lightly browned. I also seasoned it with some black pepper, and garlic powder on both sides while cooking. This method always results in perfectly juicy chicken breasts! Roasted turkey or rotisserie chicken would be good in this recipe, too.
I always buy my poultry “organic,” “naturally raised,” or at least “raised without antibiotics.” “Naturally raised” means the birds were not administered hormones or antibiotics, and were fed a vegetarian diet. The labels “natural” or “all natural” just mean the end product is minimally processed and doesn’t contain artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives (i.e., most chicken breasts). “Organic” poultry must be both naturally raised and free range (having access to pasture). Their feed must also be organic – free of GMOs, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers.
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 or bleu cheese would also be good options if you don’t have goat cheese.
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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Chicken, Butternut, Pear & Goat Cheese Salad
- 24 oz. butternut squash* peeled and cubed
- 2 tbsp. avocado oil divided
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt optional
- 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary*
- 1 cup dry farro* optional
- 2 cups water
- 24 oz. chicken breast* boneless and skinless
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 6 cups mixed greens*
- 3 cups pear* diced
- 6 tbsp. roasted pepitas*
- 6 tbsp. dried cranberries*
- 6 tbsp. goat cheese* optional
- 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar*
- 1 tbsp. olive oil*
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup* optional
- 1 tbsp. dijon mustard*
*See above for substitutions.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Peel and cube butternut squash, then toss with 1 tbsp. oil, sea salt and rosemary. Roast for 30-35 minutes until browned in spots. Remove from oven and turn oven OFF.
- Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan with 2-3 cups of water to a boil. Add farro and boil over medium-high for 20-30 minutes until al dente. Turn burner OFF, drain cooked farro, and set aside.
- Preheat a skillet over medium heat with remaining 1 tbsp. avocado oil and carefully slice chicken breasts lengthwise to make them thinner. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, seasoning with garlic powder and pepper, until browned and cooked through. Turn burner OFF and set aside.
- Divide salads between six meal prep containers with 1 cup mixed greens, 3 oz. roasted butternut, 1/3 cup cooked farro, 1/2 cup diced pear, and 1 tbsp. each pepitas, cranberries, and goat cheese.
- Whisk together ingredients for dressing and keep in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to eat. Enjoy fresh!
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