Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Grilled Mediterranean Chicken and Vegetable Salad

Perfect Pairing:  Store-bought pesto


You might think that because I have this cooking blog, and an intense love for cooking, all of my meals are exciting.  This is definitely not the case.  I eat a lot of boring meals so I can feel better about the exciting ones.  I pretty much eat the same breakfast and lunch five days a week.  I have done this for about three years.  I used to bring leftovers into work, but now I make the same shake each day for lunch.  It is really nice not having to worry about packing lunch, and it keeps the day’s calories in check.  Yes, it does get boring but it is just a habit now. 

Every once in awhile I will go out to lunch with friends for a special occasion.  Sometimes the special occasion is just needing to go out.  That is special enough for me.  We often go to Bravo! Cucina Italiana.  The food is always good, the waiters know us, and it is right across the street from our office.  I pretty much get one of two things every single time I go there.  One is a fish wrap and the other is this Mediterranean Vegetable Salad with chicken.


Every time I had this salad at the restaurant I would think that I should try to recreate it at home.  Finally I gave it a shot and was thrilled with the results! 


Greens are topped with roasted red peppers, grilled zucchini and asparagus, orzo, chicken, grape tomatoes, and pine nuts.  The restaurant also uses farro but I skipped that part because they didn’t have it at the store when groceries were purchased for this adventure. 


The asparagus, zucchini, and chicken are lightly coated in olive oil, seasoned with your favorite Italian seasoning, and grilled.


The homemade dressing is slightly sweet and has a great punch of flavor from prepared pesto.  The easiest route is to purchase some store-bought pesto.  If you are the gardening type you might just have some pesto stored in your freezer for this purpose. 


The restaurant version has a drizzle of balsamic reduction and a sprinkle of feta on top as well.  I didn’t think it needed it, but feel free to jazz it up!


Grilled Mediterranean Chicken and Vegetable Salad

Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 zucchini, ends removed and cut lengthwise into quarter inch slices
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
  • ½ cup orzo
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 4 Tb rice vinegar
  • 2 Tb honey
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 Tb prepared pesto
  • 12-16 oz field greens
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved


Preheat the grill to medium high. 

Turn on the oven broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil, place the bell peppers on the foil lined pan.  Broil the peppers, turning occasionally with tongs, until all sides are blackened.  Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with a plate to steam for at least 15 minutes.  Rub off blackened peel and remove stems and seeds.  Cut roasted peppers into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Lay the asparagus on one side of a baking sheet and the zucchini slices on the other side.  Drizzle with olive oil and season all sides generously with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Put the seasoned vegetables and chicken on the grill. Grill the vegetables until lightly charred and tender, about five minutes on each side.  Grill the chicken until lightly charred and cooked through (160 degrees), about 5-7 minutes on each side.  Remove and allow to cool slightly.  Cut the asparagus and zucchini into bite sized pieces.  Slice chicken.

While the chicken and vegetables are grilling cook the orzo according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  To make the dressing mix the mayonnaise, rice vinegar, honey, olive oil, garlic salt, and pesto in a small bowl.  Whisk to combine. 

Toss the field greens and halved grape tomatoes in a large bowl.  Top with the roasted peppers, grilled vegetables, orzo, sliced chicken, and toasted pine nuts.  Serve with dressing.


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