Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pan-Seared Chicken, Orange, & Walnut Salad {Plus a Giveaway}


Next Friday is the one-year anniversary of my very first blog post (note the cringe-worthy photos).  Even though I didn't know much about blogging back then, I totally stand by that first recipe--the lemon curd is so delicious.  It's amazing that this site, which is such a big part of my life now, didn't even exist just one year ago.

To celebrate, I made us a salad.  If you don't think a salad is the proper way to celebrate a blogiversary, you're right--I don't think of salads as celebratory, either.  I totally have plans for an over-the-top grain-free cake for next week, but thought I would balance things out by making this nutritious salad first.

My favorite part of this salad (other than the gorgeous hue of the Cara Cara oranges) is the creamy dreamy dressing.  I'm pretty boring with dressings, and usually just make a simple balsamic vinaigrette, perhaps with a touch of honey or Dijon mustard if I'm feeling fancy.  However, I do have a soft spot for rich, creamy dressings.  I wondered if I could make a great creamy dressing without any dairy, so that people with allergies (or people doing a Whole30 or strict paleo) could eat it.


Luckily, the answer is yes!  This dressing is delectably creamy thanks to the walnuts, perfectly sweet from just the oranges, and wonderfully savory thanks to the shallots.  After I made it, I kept sneaking spoonful after spoonful as I made the rest of the salad.  It's so good.

Even though I love the dressing plain, it's even better with some spring greens, pan-seared chicken, orange slices, and toasted walnuts.  This salad is the perfect way to transition from winter to spring, and eat a bunch of healthy food while you're at it.


I almost forgot to mention the giveaway!  To celebrate one year of blogging, I'm giving away the winner's choice of a paleo prize pack ($50 value) including the items listed below (can be shipped to U.S. addresses only) or a $35 Amazon e-gift card (can be sent to anyone).  Scroll down to the end of the post and use the Rafflecopter widget to enter.  Thank you so much for reading my blog, leaving comments, and chatting with me on social media--interacting with you makes my day.  

The paleo prize pack includes the following items:
  1. A copy of Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan--one of my favorite paleo cookbooks.
  2. A jar of Pure Indian Foods Grassfed Organic Ghee --by far my favorite paleo cooking fat.
  3. A set of 3 magnetic peelers, including a julienne peeler, so you can make zoodles to your heart's content.
This giveaway is sponsored by me and by my boyfriend's comedy podcast, Space Robots.  It's really funny, and I love it that we both have creative online projects to work on at home.  If you enjoy listening to funny people, I hope you download an episode and check it out!

Pan-Seared Chicken, Orange, & Walnut Salad with Creamy Shallot Dressing
Yield: 2-3 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

For the creamy shallot dressing:

Juice of 1 orange
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons minced shallot (from about 1 small shallot)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (or white wine vinegar), or more to taste
Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

For the salad:

2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
4 ounces spring mix or your favorite salad greens
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted if desired*
1-2 oranges, sliced and trimmed or peeled and segmented**

*To toast walnuts, toss them in a dry skillet over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly darker and fragrant.

**I used one regular orange and one Cara Cara orange, but we had some orange slices left over.  To prepare the oranges as shown in the pictures, slice the orange crosswise into 1/4-inch thick wheels, then lay each wheel flat and make small cuts around the edge to trim off the peel and most of the pith, forming an octagon shape.

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a two-cup measure and process with an immersion blender until smooth (or puree in a food processor or regular blender).  Taste and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar as desired.

To make the chicken, heat two tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and place the chicken pieces between two pieces of parchment paper.  Use a meat tenderizer or rubber mallet to pound the breasts to an even thickness, making them as thin as you can.

When the ghee or oil is hot, add the chicken and cook, turning once, for 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness, until well-browned on both sides and no longer pink in the middle.  Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice into strips.

To assemble the salads, divide the greens between two or three plates, and top with walnuts, chicken, and orange slices.  Drizzle on dressing to taste and serve.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase on Amazon after clicking one of my links, I receive a small commission (the price you pay is not affected).  Thank you so much for supporting my blog!

46 comments:

  1. Happy 1st Birthday and well done!
    What a delicious looking salad! So healthy and tasty!
    Gourmet Getaways

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  2. Happy birthday to your blog Becky, I hope there are many more years to come.

    What a gorgeous looking salad, I love the pairing with the dressing you chose...I'm pretty much the same, either lemon and olive oil or a vinaigrette style dressing because I"m always too lazy, I think I'll have to try this though, it looks yummy....my favorite Paleo ingredient is coconut oil, I put that stuff in everything, I had loved it way before I knew anything about Paleo so I was so excited when I decided to start eating real food and turned to Paleo....I love to spoon it on frozen cherries for dessert.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Samantha! I love coconut oil, too. I've never tried it on frozen cherries, but have had them with a little coconut milk on top and it's delicious!

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  3. I love to use organic cilantro in a lot of my dinners. Its great in anything Mexican and it really jazzes up a sweet potato hash

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    1. I LOVE cilantro, too--by far my favorite herb. I just picked up sweet potatoes to make hash, so I will have to try adding cilantro to it!

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  4. I love all shrimp , so I put a few cooked shrimp in my salads or whatever!

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    Replies
    1. Me too! That's actually what I'm planning to have for dinner tonight :)

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  5. I love almonds, so I try to incorporate them into meals whenever I can. They're great by themselves!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they are! Lately I've been making a little trail mix with almonds, dried cranberries, dark chocolate chips, and a pinch of sea salt--it's so good!

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  6. happy 1st blog birthday. I like using coconut oil and also all kinds of nuts

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  7. Replies
    1. Me too! Do you have a favorite way to eat them? I LOVE them on chili.

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  8. I usually put berries into my salads, the orange slices will also give them a nice light flavour.

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    Replies
    1. Berries would be great in a salad like this, too!

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  9. we use coconut oil quite a bit
    thanks for the giveaway and have a lovely day
    aunteegem@yahoocom.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Julie! Coconut oil is great & very versatile :)

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  10. It must be Spring, salads are everywhere! This looks amazing!

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    1. Thank you, Jasey! I'm trying to make my food springy, even though Boston is supposed to get another snowstorm tomorrow night...

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  11. Avocados, but of course. I put them atop my chili!

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  12. Happy Blogiversary!!! This salad is gorgeous and I love that you thought to add the walnuts to give it the creamy texture!

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  13. Congratulation for the anniversary and the salad looks so amazing

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  14. I am so happy for you; yay for one year! You know how much I love a salad and this one looks great. :)

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  15. I'd have to say my favorite ingredient for any category, is the Avocado! Mmmmmm. yum! I love it on anything
    Debi @ Life Currents

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  16. Congratulation , I love Pasta and love to make Pasta salad

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    Replies
    1. Pasta is my weakness! It's the food I miss most, since I try not to have any gluten these days.

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  17. (And I enjoy using strawberries in salads).

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  18. I love meat. All kinds of meat!

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    Replies
    1. Yay, I do, too! I have a lot of vegetarian friends but I could never give up meat :)

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  19. I love Banana it's my favorite thanks!!

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  20. I love egg and especially omelet

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    1. Me too! Just had some eggs for breakfast :)

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  21. That dressing looks SO wonderful!!!
    My go-to paleo ingredient these days is ghee (I love that stuff).
    ******************
    {in the contest I am Margot Core on the Rafflecopter}

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    Replies
    1. **not an entry*** Just to say happy blog birthday; I don't know hoe blogger even do it!

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