As with most dieters, I yo-yo with my healthy eating. I’m not trying anything drastic, just a few more healthy options and conscious choices. However, it can sometimes be boring eating salads, as well as thinking about making them nutritionally balanced. This salad is something I created a few months ago when my friend was coming round for dinner. I wanted something healthy, high in protein and fibre, low in carbohydrate but still absolutely delicious. And seeing as it was successful, I made it again this weekend!
I use lots of flavours like paprika and garlic to give the salad a kick. It takes a bit longer than a simple salad because of the roasting, however it’s worth it if you have the time. If you’re not bothered about your carbohydrate intake, eat this salad with a delicious crusty loaf of bread.
Notes: If you don’t like raw courgette, use cucumber ribbons instead. I love olive oil, but again, you can swap this for your favourite cooking oil. And, if you have fresh herbs in your kitchen or garden, a few leaves of basil work beautifully on the tomatoes.
Hot Chicken Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Vine Tomatoes
Start to finish time: 1 hr 15 mins
4 tbsp olive oil plus extra for drizzling
400g butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 ripe vine tomatoes, halved along the middle (not the top)
1 courgette, ribboned
80g your favourite salad leaves
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 chicken stock cube
1/2 tsp paprika
A few sprigs of fresh thyme (*optional)
A few basil leaves (* optional)
For the dressing:
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
Salt & pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. On a tray, toss the butternut squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, the thyme, salt and pepper. Place in the middle of the oven.
2. Place the tomatoes on another tray, drizzle with olive oil, and put a slice of garlic on each half. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and place in the oven.
3. While the tomatoes and butternut squash roast, we prepare the salad and chicken. Make a few slits in the chicken breast to help it take in the flavour. In a bowl or mortar, mix the paprika, crushed garlic, and chicken stock cube with 2 tbsp olive oil. Grind to a paste and then coat the chicken in the paste and leave aside.
4. In a bowl, mix the salad leaves and ribboned courgette (you can simply do this with a potato peeler). Add the dressing and mix it all together.
5. When the squash and tomatoes have been roasting for about 40 minutes and look golden, move them to the bottom of the oven and switch to grill. (Or cook the chicken in a separate grill.) Place the chicken under the grill and cook for about 7 minutes or until it’s turned white and then turn over and cook for another 7 minutes. Then, check the chicken has cooked by slicing it and checking the juice runs clear.
6. Assemble the salad by placing it in the middle of the plate with the chicken breast on top. Put the tomatoes and roasted squash around the plate.
Another healthy salad: