There are a lot of chefs out there, TV and otherwise, that will bad-mouth the boneless, skinless chicken breasts in favor of the breasts with bone-in and with skin… and I would agree, to an extent, if the discussion is about the all-around flavor of the chicken. However, for the sake of time and convenience, nothing beats them (after all, it only takes 7 to 10 minutes to grill a boneless, skinless breast). To help me try and stay on track with my plan to eat healthier, I grill up four to six chicken breast every weekend and keep them in the fridge for the week ahead. That way, whenever I need a healthy protein snack after a workout or if I’m in a pinch for a quick meal, there they are. For all of you newly resolute low-carb, no-carb, Paleo-rific, caveman types out there, these are great to have on hand!
This salad is one of my favorites and there are a few shortcuts if you want to skip the roasting of the beets and squash… but honestly that only takes 10 minutes of active time – the oven does the rest. The roasting instructions are at the bottom of the recipe – for short cuts – you can buy cooked beets in the refrigerator section of Trader Joe’s or on any decent grocery store salad bar. If you don’t want to take the time to cut and dice the squash (or you have really dull knives), you can find it diced in pretty much every produce department.
Cook’s note: I didn’t put it in the recipe,but I had some toasted pecan leftover from another recipe and tossed those on right be fore I dug in to give them a nice crunch! 😉
- 1-1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided use
- ½ cup olive oil + more for drizzling
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided use
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For serving:
- 8 cups salad mix – I used baby arugula, mâche, and micro greens
- 4 medium red beets, roasted and quartered*
- 1 small butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes and roasted**
- Cherry tomato halves
- Red onion slivers
- Crumbled goat cheese
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced small and cooked
- Place chicken in a large zip-top bag; set aside. To a medium bowl, add lemon juice, mustard, and 1 teaspoon thyme. Whisk in olive oil in a very this stream until emulsified. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper; reserve ⅓ cup and set aside until serving.
- To the remaining vinaigrette, whisk in rosemary and the minced garlic. Pour over chicken and move around until the chicken is completely coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour up to 6 hours
- Set up the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Brush and oil the grates before cooking.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade; discard the marinade. Blot the away most of the oil from the breasts with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken 3 to 5 minutes per side or until marked and cooked through.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the greens with 2 tablespoons of the reserved vinaigrette and toss to coat the leaves. Divide the greens among serving plates. Add the roasted beets and squasg, tomatoes and onion. Slice chicken breast and place over salad and garnish with goat cheese crumbles and pancetta. Serve with remaining vinaigrette on the side.
- *To cook beets: preheat oven to 400°F. Place unpeeled beets on a large piece of foil, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Fold over foil to form a packet and place in oven for 1 hour or until beets are easily pierced with a fork. Remove beets and when they are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to easily pull away the skins. Quarter beets and set aside.
- **To cook butternut squash: preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and add the squash drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle the remaining ½ teaspoon thyme and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and roast for 20 minutes or until cooked; turn squash halfway through cooking.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!