It’s summer, and the best way to celebrate it is to eat the garden-fresh bounty provided by the season. With the high temperatures, it’s never a bad idea to eat light and healthy, either. Don’t worry – that doesn’t mean you can’t eat full-flavored, filling foods! Healthy chicken recipes like this grilled chicken and zucchini salad make it easy to accomplish just that while also looking great in those swimsuits.
I don’t know about you, but I’m well accustomed to planning my meals by whichever produce is freshest and most abundant. In Italy, the kitchen always follows the season. When the gardens are full of winter squashes, Italians eat hearty, roasted meals. In the spring, the dishes start to lighten up with radishes and peas. And then, summer arrives with more fresh produce than you can blink an eye at. That makes it easy to prepare tasty, healthy salad dishes that everyone will love! You might think that chicken is the star in this grilled chicken and zucchini salad, but it’s really all about the zucchini squash.
Why We Love Using the Grill
All you need is a stove-stop griddle (or, even better, a real grill) to cook the chicken and zucchinis. The grill is such a perfect way to keep your house from warming up while also infusing some great, healthy flavor into your food. You don’t need an excess of oil, so it’s easy to keep the calories low. My other favorite part about grilling is that the ingredients are ready in fewer than 20 minutes. Quick, easy, and delicious – you really can’t go wrong with that combination!
There’s another reason that cooking the grilled chicken and zucchini salad components on the grill really helps them taste full-flavored. Why is that? We have a secret ingredient, of course! The simple (and easy-to-make) vinaigrette for the salad has a dual purpose. After the chicken and zucchini come off the grill, we pour the salad dressing onto the hot food to really seal in all those great flavors! Then, you’ll dress the lettuce with the greens to make sure they’re all well-seasoned, too.
Finally, we finish off this incredible salad with slices of apricots to add a touch of sweetness. They’re in season this time of year, too, so they should taste like candy. We also love adding the optional fresh basil leaves and walnuts if you have them around. Not only are they rich in vitamins, but they also add balance and richness to this simple salad.
Pairing a fresh salad like this with a glass of wine can be tricky because of the acidity of the vinaigrette. But, in the wine world, you can always find something to pair perfectly with your meal! Start by experimenting with your tastes. With the prevalence of grilled chicken and vegetables, an oak-aged white wine, like Chardonnay, Verdicchio or Timorasso, could work very nicely here.
No matter what you choose, we know you’ll love this grilled chicken and zucchini salad. It’s quickly become one of our favorite healthy chicken recipes! Let us know in the comments what you thought.
Yields: 6 Servings | Serving Size: about 1 1/2 cups | Calories: 379 | Saturated Fat: 6 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Carbohydrates: 8 g | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 7 g | Protein: 24 | Cholesterol: 85 mg | Sodium: 400 mg | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 3
- 4 medium zucchinis, sliced thinly and vertically
- 1 pound chicken fillets
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 apricots, sliced
- Basil leaves (optional)
- Walnuts (optional)
- Spray the griddle with non-stick oil spray.
- On medium fire, using the griddle, grill the zucchini and chicken on both sides, about 8 minutes each side (depending on the thickness of the slices).
- While the chicken and zucchinis are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette by whisking the mustard, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When cooked, slice the chicken to strips then transfer them to a bowl along with the zucchini.
- Pour the vinaigrette in the bowl and mix, coating the zucchini and chicken well. Leave some to dress the lettuce too.
- On the plates, place the chicken, zucchini, lettuce, apricots, basil and walnuts if using.
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