I have a super quick and easy summer recipe for you today.
I love summer! I love everything about it. No early wake ups for school. No rushing out the door every week day. Sunshine. Swimming. Daylight until after 8pm. And the FOOD!!
Summer berries and basil are totally my jam. I can’t get enough. So obviously when my CSA puts fresh basil into my weekly box, this girl is going to make some pesto.
And with a fresh jar of pesto in the fridge, I obviously HAVE to put it on ALL THE THINGS. Like this fabulously fresh Pesto Chicken Avocado Salad that I have been macking on all week. It literally takes no time at all the to throw together, and you don’t have to heat up your kitchen on these hot summer evenings.
What I’m talking about is juicy grilled chicken smothered in pesto on a bed of crisp lettuce with tomatoes, avocado, and pine nuts. I drizzle on a simple homemade vinaigrette to finish it off.
I highly recommend grilling the chicken for this recipe. It gives it that summer flavor. But you can also cook the chicken in a skillet. A grill pan works great. I would grease the pan a bit first.
Here’s the deal with the salad:
- Make dressing. Just a few simple ingredients.
- Make pesto. Super easy to make ahead and store in fridge.
- Grill chicken. I use chicken thighs cuz dark meat just tastes better and cooks faster.
- Add lettuce, tomato, avocado, basil, and pine nuts. Boom! Done!
I love meals that can be prepped ahead of time and thrown together quickly after a long, fun day. I often will wash and chop my lettuce, tomatoes, and basil in the morning. My pesto and dressing are usually already made. So really, all I have to do is grill the chicken (takes less than 10 minutes) and slice the avocado Delicious, healthy, and filling dinner on the table in minutes. Who doesn’t love that?
LOVE PESTO? You may also enjoy:
- 3/4 cup olive oil (THIS is my fav organic brand)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (like this) (or any vinegar or citrus that you like) *** see note
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 large bunch of fresh basil, leaves only
- ½ clove of garlic
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
- ¼ cup pine nuts, macadamia nuts, hemp seeds, or pumpkin seeds
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tbsp butter, ghee, melted (or any fat/oil you like)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 cups romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (like this)
- basil leaves, thinly sliced
- TO MAKE DRESSING: In a glass jar, combine all dressing ingredients, place lid on, and shake vigorously. Set aside.
- TO MAKE PESTO: Place basil leaves and garlic into food processor and process until completely broken up into a paste. Add olive oil and salt and continue to process until smooth. Add pine nuts, macadamia nuts, hemp seeds or pumpkin and pulse until desired consistency.
- FOR CHICKEN: Drizzle melted fat of choice, crushed garlic and salt over chicken thighs. Stir to evenly coat. Preheat grill and turn down to medium heat. Place thighs onto grill and grill on each side until browned and cooked through. Once cooked, remove from grill and place into bowl. Drizzle on a 1/4 cup of pesto, stir to coat, and set aside.
- TO ASSEMBLE SALAD: Place lettuce on large plate or in a large bowl. Slice chicken into strips and place on top. Add sliced tomatoes, avocado, and pine nuts. Top with basil strips. Drizzle on dressing. Serve and enjoy!
** Balsamic vinegar gives this dressing a lovely tangy flavor, but feel free to use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice if you prefer. Or any other vinegar or citrus. This dressing is VERY versatile.
** I highly recommend grilling the chicken for this recipe. It gives it that summer flavor. But you can also cook the chicken in a skillet. A grill pan works great. I would grease the pan a bit first.
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