Harvest Salad with Crispy Cornmeal Chicken, Apples and Gorgonzola

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I made this salad over the weekend and it was such perfection that I had to share it with you guys immediately. Salads get such a bad rep, at least from a yumminess perspective. Because salads are for being "good," not tasting good, right?? 

Now, this is one salad you're gonna actually be excited to eat. There's crispy cornmeal crusted chicken. Tart and juicy Granny Smith apples. Creamy sliced avocado. Toasted pecans. Peppery watermelon radish. And let's not forget that gorgonzola cheese - my favorite! 

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Side bar on gorgonzola cheese: I was teaching a nutrition class last week to a group of teens in an adolescent intensive outpatient program I work with, and I mentioned that cheese was my favorite food. One kid asked what my favorite kind was, so I just started naming all the kinds of cheese I like. One of the kids chimed in "so, everything except moldy cheese?" And I was like, "nope, I like that too!" Because blue cheese is moldy cheese (in case ya didn't know). I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head 🤣 🤣 🤣  The look of disgust I got was priceless! 

Anyway, we munched on this salad Saturday before going out Christmas shopping. Since we were basically the only people on the east coast not to get snow, eating a salad for lunch seemed appropriate. All we got was wet rain. So if you're one of those people who posted all your pretty pictures of snow, just know that I was super jealous of you. 

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To make a salad that actually satisfies and tastes good, here's the components I'm always sure to include: 

  • Greens - duh, it is a salad after all. I'm kinda picky about my greens. For lettuce, I love to get local lettuce from City Roots because it honestly tastes SO much better. I also love romaine, arugula and butter lettuce. 
  • Protein - chicken, fresh fish, canned fish (love when it's canned in olive oil because all you have to do is add a squeeze of lemon juice to make dressing), baked tofu, beans, cheese and nuts, etc
  • Carb - roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, fruit, crushed up tortilla chips, etc
  • Fat - the dressing works, but I personally find salads are more satisfying when I have a few different kinds of fat, like nuts, olives, cheese, avocado and/or seeds
  • Flavor boosters - because a salad needs to taste good. Really good crumbled cheese, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted nuts, dried fruit, etc. Basically anything that adds a lot of flavor. 
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Harvest Salad with Crispy Cornmeal Chicken, Apples and Gorgonzola

Serves about 4

Ingredients:

Chicken: 

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 /4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb chicken tenders 

Dressing: 

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Salad: 

  • 1 5-ounce bag mixed greens
  • 1 large or 2 medium Granny Smith apples, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted 
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with oil. 
  2. Prepare three shallow bowls for breading the chicken. Place the flour in the first. Scrambled the egg with 2 tablespoons water in the second. Mix the cornmeal with paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in the third. 
  3. Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, then the egg, and then the cornmeal mixture. Place on the baking sheet. Spray the chicken with oil then bake for 15-17 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and crispy. 
  4. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk all dressing ingredients together and season with salt and black pepper to taste. 
  5. In a large bowl, mix together remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing. Divide between four plates, top with sliced chicken and serve.

More salads you'll actually want to eat:

 Persimmon Kale Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Persimmon Kale Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

 Crunchy Lentil and Brown Rice Salad with Tahini Dressing 

Crunchy Lentil and Brown Rice Salad with Tahini Dressing 

 Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing 

Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing 

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