There’s a salad bar close to work where I’ve started ordering the same salad every time: chicken, avocado, goats cheese, couscous, plus salad leaves (tokenism, at this point) and dressing. If my afternoon looks to be free of opportunities to converse with colleagues, I’ll even throw in some red onion.
At home, I usually make this salad with dried apricots to counter the tang of the dressing. When I made it this time, we were fresh out (my favourite first world problems relate to running out of dried fruits, don’t yours?) so I did without. CB suggested throwing in raisins or sultanas instead to replicate the sweetness, but after a childhood spent between two former British territories, I find any mixture of chicken and raisins a la coronation chicken (aka. The Jewel of the Empire) to be a little discomfiting.
This recipe is my current favourite Friday night go to – it’s quick, fairly healthy and filling – perfect for summer nights when you want to be full but you don’t want anything hot. It can be paired with your favourite dressing (nothing creamy or too spicy) but I’ve included my favourite generic salad dressing recipe too, in case you’re stuck.
Serves 2 big appetites for dinner, or 4 for lunch
350g chicken breast
60g soft goat’s cheese, chopped
1 large avocado, chopped
6 dried apricots, chopped
1 x 200g bag of sweet salad leaves (try Florette salads)
70g uncooked couscous
150ml of chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of spicy red pesto
Your favourite chicken seasoning – I use herb salt, chicken all purpose seasoning and lots of pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp whole grain mustard
Plenty of ground pepper
Juice of 1/4 of a lime
- Season the chicken generously and cook for 10 minutes if you are using a George Foreman grill, or cook as preferred.
- Regardless of the packet instructions, put the couscous in a bowl and add the stock, lemon juice and a good grind of pepper. Cover with a plate or some cling film and steep for 5 minutes.
- Roughly shred the salad leaves into the salad bowl and add the goat’s cheese, avocado, apricots, pesto and couscous. When the chicken is cooked (pierce it in the middle – it’s cooked if the juices run clear), shred it and add to your bowl.
- To make the dressing, quickly whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a mug. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly.
Use the remaining 3/4 of the lime for weeknight Coronas.