Don’t you feel that lunch is the most “unloved” meal of the day? We are often far too busy to think about what to eat in the middle of the day. The result is we either get an expensive and often unhealthy takeout or eat the same ol’ boring sandwich. In other words, nothing to write home about.
Well, not all is lost and I’ve got an excellent reason for you to get excited about breaking into your lunchbox again. Persian Chicken Salad is a modern update on the timeless classic. This energy boosting salad made with tender and juicy chicken breasts, crunchy vegetables and black smoky olives and seasoned with yogurt and lime dressing and loads of herbs. It’s especially delicious in a wholewheat pita mixed with a bunch of spinach leaves. So fresh and satisfying!
Eating it in a pita pocket is so appealing to children! Here is your school lunch sorted.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts- 3
- Olive oil ( for cooking chicken)- 1 tbsp.
- Salt-1 1/2 tsp.
- Pepper- 1/2 tsp.
- Plain Greek Yogurt- 1 cup
- Mayonnaise (I used low fat)- 1/3 cup
- Dijon Mustard- 1tbsp.
- Lime juice- from 2 limes
- Carrots (grated)- 4 medium
- English Cucumbers (diced)-2
- Celery (diced)-2 ribs
- Frozen petite peas (thawed)-1 cup
- Red Onion( chopped fine)- 1 small
- Black Olives (halved and pitted, I used Smoky Moroccan Olives but Kalamata Olives will work as well)- 1/2 cup
- Flat leaf Parsley(chopped)- 1/3 cup
- Fresh Basil(chopped)- 1/2 cup
- Wholewheat pitas-4
1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and brown your seasoned with salt and pepper chicken breasts on both sides over medium heat until done, about 5 minutes per side, it might take a couple of minutes longer if your chicken breasts are very thick. Remove from the pan, let it cool until it’s safe to handle and slice crosswise into bite-sized pieces.
2. In a small bowl mix together yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice and remaining salt and pepper. In a large bowl combine together chicken, carrots, cucumbers, celery, peas, onion, olives, parsley and basil and carefully toss together with the dressing.
3. Serve in a pita pocket or on its own for a gluten-free lunch.
I can’t believe it took me so long to share one of my favourite things to eat with you friends! However, summer is upon us, and since even England is reluctantly warming up, it calls for colourfully fresh outdoor dining.
This salad is something that appears on our table any season of the year but tastes best in the summer when the tomatoes are ripe and flavourful. It comes in many incarnations as long as there are the major players present-tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic, chillies and lime juice. The rest is variable and optional. I usually make it into a fresh salsa but once in a while I change it up and add various beans, corn and such. You can use it as a filling for your burritos and fajitas but you can also eat it as a salad. My kids called it a dip because they were dipping tortilla chips into it. Whatever you call it, this concoction is bursting with flavours, vitamins and is out-of-this-world delicious.
- Cherry Tomatoes (red and yellow)- 2 large handfuls
- Red Onion-1 small
- Garlic-2 cloves
- Cilantro- a bunch
- Red Chilli (minced)-1
- Lime Juice (I was out of limes and used lemons!)- from 1 lime
- Green Onions-3
- Chick Peas/Black Beans- 1 can
- Green Lentils (optional)-1/4 cup
- Corn- 1 cup
- Avocado (diced)-1
- Salt to taste
Half or quarter the cherry tomatoes, dice the red onion finely, mince the garlic cloves and red chilli, then add chopped cilantro, sliced green onions and lime juice. To the mixture add the beans/chick peas, lentils, corn and salt. Mix everything and taste for the right balance of spices. You can see that this is hardly an accurate recipe and more of an idea. I like my pico de gallo spicy but you can skip or half the amount of onion and garlic if you prefer a milder version. Add diced avocado right before serving to avoid browning.
This Pico De Gallo is truly a flavour winner and packed with power foods like chick peas, lentils and avocado. My kids were scarfing it down, having completely forgotten that they can’t stand tomatoes!
Nothing screams “summer is here” louder than a gloriously sunny 3-day weekend and a fired up barbecue. Will you agree with me if I say that absolutely everything taste better when it’s cooked outside? Suddenly simple and everyday foods get transformed into heavenly bites. The images of happy childhood camping days start flashing in front of your eyes as soon as you smell a bit of smoke coming from your barbecue, only now you can also indulge in a margarita. I love a quality margarita, only not the sweet and slushy kind you get in a pseudo-Mexican restaurant but “the real deal-squeezing your own lime juice-on the rocks margarita”. There is something magical in the combination of sour and refreshing lime juice and tequila that goes further than just making a drink great. No surprise, it also works wonders as a marinade for chicken.
- Chicken Wings (split in half)- 2lbs
- Fresh Green Chilli Peppers-2
- Lime Juice-1/2 cup
- Lemon Juice- from 1 lemon
- Lime Zest- from 1 lime
- Tequila- 1/2 cup
- Garlic- 3 cloves
- Cumin- 1 tbsp.
- Chili Powder- 1 tbsp.
Put all the ingredients except for the chicken wings in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Put the chicken wings in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over them, cover with a cling film and let the marinade work its magic for at least 5 hours. Grill on the barbecue until a golden crust develops and the juices run clear or cook them in the oven at 450F/250C for approximately 20 minutes.
Serve with grilled corn, Pico de Gallo and corn chips and, of course, don’t forget to toast the arrival of the barbecue season with a homemade margarita. Cheers!