Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blueberry Balsamic Chicken Salad

We have been coming home from the farmers market with a big basket of blueberries for the past few weeks now. We both love blueberries, but I was ready to see what I could do with them other than mixing them into a smoothie or topping off a bowl of Paleo Cereal. I was inspired by a post on the Whole Foods blog that highlighted recipes for cooking with berries and decided to try a chicken salad with caramelized blueberries and onions. I eat a lot of salads because I quite enjoy eating and by including nutritious, but low calorie vegetables in my diet I can put down some fairly sizable meals and that makes my belly happy.

I do have a good reason for being so hungry lately - I am training for my first triathlon! It is still a few months away, but I am already working out twice a day most days. I might swim or run in the morning and then ride my bike or lift weights in the afternoon. Luckily I have my very own Ironman to show me the ropes! I couldn't even swim a full lap in the pool when this all started a few weeks ago, but my husband has been a great coach and now I can swim five full laps without taking a break. I'll have to swim about 10 laps in the race, but I think it is a good start for someone who, until recently, didn't use the pool for much more than laying out in the sun.

Anyway, back to this salad. :) We made this for dinner and found that it was more than enough to make a full meal on its own, but it would also be great with some sweet potatoes or asparagus on the side. Bon appetit!

Blueberry Balsamic Chicken Salad

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp and 1 tbsp of olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp chopped thyme (fresh is best, but dried will work)

1 medium cucumber, diced

6 cups arugula


-Preheat oven to 375 F.

-Brush chicken breasts on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, bake on a baking sheet for 35 to 40 minutes, until no longer pink in the center.

-While chicken is baking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat

-Add onion, saute until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring often so it does not burn.

-Reduce heat to medium/low. Add blueberries, vinegar, thyme and a dash of salt and pepper to pan and stir well to blend. Cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occassionally. Blueberries will break down and create a thick sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.

-Remove chicken from oven and let cool slightly. When chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred and mix with caramelized onions and blueberries.

-Divide arugula evenly between four bowls or plates. Top with chicken mixture and diced cucumbers. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top of each salad and finish with a spinkle of pepper. Can be served warm or cold.