Balsamic Tomato, Chicken & Avocado Salad

This week I wanted to share with you a quick and simple recipe that I created and enjoyed last weekend.  It is a recipe that was inspired by a favorite restaurant dish of mine and a result of me craving this restaurant dish and, at the same time, craving cooking in my own kitchen (as I have done very little of this recently and saw very little of this happening later in the week).  After giving it a good amount of thought, I decided, "Why not compromise and bring a spin on the dish to my very own kitchen?!"  Done and done.

This is a very simple recipe, but with its warm baked chicken, thick sliced tomatoes, chunks of fresh avocado and crumbles of feta, it is one that is satisfying and delicious.  I don't know about you but when the days get longer and the weather is warm and sunny I want to stay out and about as long as possible and I start to crave those fresh and fueling spring and summer dishes.  Just thinking about it is getting me excited for all of the summer fruits and vegetables to come, eek!  This dish was the perfect fresh and filling dinner for a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon.  I texted a picture to my fiancé later (b/c of course I took a picture) and he said to add it to our go-to list of dinners :)  Fiance approved!

Here is the recipe for my Balsamic Tomato, Chicken & Avocado Salad.  It is a perfect dinner for one, for two, for three, or even more!  It can be thrown together after a big day of running around or playing outside with the family when you want something filling and fueling but not hot and heavy on a warm sunny day.  It pairs well with warm crusty bread, warm oven-baked pita and hummus, or oven-baked tortilla chips and your favorite salsa.  If I were serving this outside for friends and family, I would also serve it with a fun sparkling water with hints of lime and mint and / or cucumber.  Or for the adults, I would serve it with a cool and crisp margarita or refreshing basil - lime cocktail.  I have made this a go-to recipe and I hope this recipe also gives you another quick and simple dish to add to your everyday dinners and your moments-notice dinner party ideas.  Enjoy!

Balsamic Tomato, Chicken & Avocado Salad

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two 6- 8 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or more, to taste)
  • 2 vine tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 4 tablespoons crumbed feta
  • 1 avocado, diced into medium dices
  • 4 tablespoons good Balsamic vinegar (plus more to taste if desired)
  • 4 hearts of palm, each chopped into about 6 dices
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed greens

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  3. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons olive oil over each chicken breast, turning the chicken to ensure each one is evenly coated in olive oil.
  4. Season each chicken breast with about 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Place chicken in preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until internal temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit (using a meat thermometer) and the juices run clear.  Cook time may vary depending on your oven and the thickness of the chicken breasts.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest about 5 to 10 minutes.  Then slice each chicken breast into about 1/2 - inch thick slices..
  7. To plate the dish:
    1. Place about 4 or 5 tomato slices on each dinner plate as the base of the dish (overlapping the tomatoes a little).
    2. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over each plate of tomatoes.
    3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of crumbled feta over each plate of balsamic & tomatoes.
    4. Top each plate of tomatoes with the sliced chicken (creating sort of a second layer).  I would do about 3 - 4 ounces of chicken per plate, which means you will probably have leftover chicken for lunches later in the week!
    5. Divide the chopped avocado evenly between the two plates, toping the chicken and tomato (1/2 avocado for each dish).
    6. Sprinkle the top of each dish with 1 more tablespoon of crumbled feta (using your remaining 2 tablespoons of feta).
    7. Divide the diced hearts of palm evenly between both plates, topping the dish and placing around the sides of the tomatoes.
    8. Drizzle each dish with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (using remaining 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar).
    9. Divide the mixed greens evenly between both plates, serve and enjoy!

Serve It Again!   The great thing about this dish is that any leftover ingredients can be incorporated into a variety of dishes later in the week.  One of my favorites is to turn a salad into a bowl, adding quinoa as the base, or creating a stuffed pita or wrap.  To create the stuffed pita or wrap, simply take all of these ingredients, chopping the tomatoes, and roll them into a whole wheat wrap or tortilla and pair with fruit, crackers, a small cup of soup, and / or veggies and hummus for a quick and simple weekday lunch.