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A Healthier Panzanella Salad

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Ok – so let me preface with – this is not a “true” Panzanella salad in every sense of the word. There is not near the amount of bread that is in a typical Panzanella and I’ve added greens in lieu of all of the bread. Nor did I marinade the croutons in tomato juices, etc. BUT, it eats like a Panzanella. Everything is in big pieces and the juices from the roasted tomatoes create some of the dressing and that seeps into the croutons and mmm… I mean, I can’t get enough!

This is one of those salads I crave at least once a week. It is one of my favorite and easiest meals to make. And yes, I just called a salad a meal and I promise you will feel this way once you’ve had this one!

Mo and I are eaters. Foodies for sure. But we really like to eat food. 🙂 So if you haven’t made any of my other salads and therefore you’re not “in the know” yet – you can trust that my salads are not for the faint of heart. This definitely took some convincing with Mo when I first started cooking for him. This is where the “inside joke” of “We’re having a ‘big salad’ for dinner…” came from. When I was racing triathlon a bunch and had a full load of clients, etc., etc. salads were an almost nightly thing at our house! But if you ask Mo – he loves them. They are filling, full of nutrition and full of flavor and texture! …I’m big on texture! Gotta have some crunch!

So this salad pulls out my Italian heritage. As I said, it is not an exact replica of a true Panzanella salad. But, the anti-inflammatory nutritionist in me cannot help myself, plus, we really like it better this way!

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Primal Panzanella Salad

Serves 2-4

Ingredients for the Salad:

  • 1lb free range chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¾ large container pre-washed baby spinach
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • 1 large shallot, very thinly sliced
  • ½ cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 large avocado, diced into large pieces
  • 1 ½ cups baby cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 pieces good sourdough bread, cut into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Real Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ – 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions for the Salad:

  • Place chicken a large Ziploc baggie with 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, lemon zest and juice, oregano and ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper. Seal bag and gently toss (over the sink – yes, I’ve learned the hard way! J) to combine. Marinade for 30 minutes, up to overnight. Pull out of the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line two small sheet pans with foil.
  • While oven is heating up, on one sheet pan, place the tomatoes and on the other sheet pan, lay the sourdough out, in an even layer. Drizzle the tomatoes and sourdough with ½ tbsp olive oil each and sprinkle both with salt and black pepper. Set the croutons aside and place the tomatoes into the oven to roast for 7-10 minutes until slightly browned and starting to burst open.
  • Using tongs, pull the chicken out of the bag and place each piece in an even layer, without touching, onto a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; discard the remaining marinade. Let cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until each piece is cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, in a large salad/serving bowl place spinach, basil, goat cheese and avocado.
  • When you’re ready to pull the tomatoes out of the oven, place sourdough on the top rack of the oven to toast for 2-3 minutes and pour the tomatoes, while hot, in with the spinach and then add the chicken.
  • Drizzle remaining olive oil and balsamic over the top and toss gently to combine and coat with the dressing. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using) and place croutons on top. Toss again to combine and serve!
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Primal Panzanella Salad
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Course Dinner, Main Dish
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Ingredients
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Servings
people
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Place chicken a large Ziploc baggie with 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, lemon zest and juice, oregano and ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper. Seal bag and gently toss (over the sink – yes, I’ve learned the hard way! J) to combine. Marinade for 30 minutes, up to overnight. Pull out of the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line two small sheet pans with foil.
  3. While oven is heating up, on one sheet pan, place the tomatoes and on the other sheet pan, lay the sourdough out, in an even layer. Drizzle the tomatoes and sourdough with ½ tbsp olive oil each and sprinkle both with salt and black pepper. Set the croutons aside and place the tomatoes into the oven to roast for 7-10 minutes until slightly browned and starting to burst open.
  4. Using tongs, pull the chicken out of the bag and place each piece in an even layer, without touching, onto a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; discard the remaining marinade. Let cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until each piece is cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large salad/serving bowl place spinach, basil, goat cheese and avocado.
  6. When you’re ready to pull the tomatoes out of the oven, place sourdough on the top rack of the oven to toast for 2-3 minutes and pour the tomatoes, while hot, in with the spinach and then add the chicken.
  7. Drizzle remaining olive oil and balsamic over the top and toss gently to combine and coat with the dressing. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using) and place croutons on top. Toss again to combine and serve!
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Pumpkin, Kale and Sausage Stew

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It is finally getting cooler here, in Texas. I swear – we really should move. I really don’t enjoy our summers and I am always taken aback, every year, without fail, about how damn hot it gets and STAYS here. I grew up in Texas. I’ve never lived long-term in another state. Why do I still get annoyed by the heat? I remind Mo at least once a week that I am slowly migrating west.

Before Mo and I got married we took a long walk on the beach in La Jolla (where he proposed (insert swoon!)) and I told him, in my most serious voice, “I need you to understand that I am meant to be in Southern California. I will not spend the rest of my days in Texas. If you’re not okay with this, then I suppose we should choose a path apart.” Needless to say, he completely agreed and therefore I remind him of this agreement at least weekly. In the summers, more like daily! But now that it’s getting cooler – I simmer a little and welcome the cold fronts with open arms!

About a week ago, we got our first legit cold front and it was PERFECT outside. Low 50’s, overcast, it was a Sunday. I mean, life felt perfect. You know those days? The ones that seem to be in all the movies? It was one of those days and even though it go up to 70 something later in the day, dammit, I was making a stew. We were going to turn the heat on in the house, even if just for 5 minutes, and eat stew and pretend like it was officially cold. LOL! No, I’m not joking – we really did turn the heater on for 5 minutes. You know that smell of the heater when you turn it on for the first time in a while? It’s the best, right?

If you know me at all, you know that I am semi-obsessed with pumpkin anything. I love it sweet, savory, in muffins or bread or soups – you name it! And I LOVE, LOVE actual pumpkins – not just the eating kind. But the decorative kind. I don’t know – maybe it’s a Cinderella thing, but I literally swoon when I see the “Fairytale” pumpkins at Central Market.

So, here you have it. This hearty, warming and SO easy to make Pumpkin Stew. While you will feel warm inside and comforted by it, you will also reap all of the nutritional benefits of eating it – especially if you’re able to use bone broth as the base. Try not to overlook that part. It’s a gem if you can find a good free range chicken bone broth.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did and that it welcomes you into the fall!

Pumpkin, Kale and Sausage Stew

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½lbs pastured sausage of choice
  • 1 tbsp organic tomato paste
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small buttercup or pumpkin pie pumpkin or butternut squash*
  • 1 bunch kale (any variety)
  • 4 cups chicken broth*
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup raw parmesan, pecorino or Manchego, grated
  • 1 bunch chives, finely chopped (optional)

Directions:

  • Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add sausage, tomato paste, allspice, garlic powder, fennel seed, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add onions to the saucepan and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until onions are softened.
  • Add pumpkin, kale, broth and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for approx. 20 minutes.
  • Add vinegar and stir. Taste and season with salt and red pepper flakes as desired.
  • Serve with grated parmesan cheese and sprinkling of chives (if using) on top.

Notes:

  • Consider buying pre-peeled/chopped pumpkin/butternut squash, if you can find it. It will make life easier. Otherwise, here is a great method for peeling/chopping your own. I suggest the oven method as it is most “nutrient-safe.”
  • If you can find a good, free-range chicken bone broth – use that. If you can’t – feel free to substitute with low sodium vegetable broth or low sodium free-range chicken broth. Pacific brand is my go-to when I need to use boxed broths…

 

 

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Pumpkin, Kale and Sausage Stew
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Servings
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Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
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Instructions
  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add sausage, tomato paste, allspice, garlic powder, fennel seed, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add onions to the saucepan and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until onions are softened.
  3. Add pumpkin, kale, broth and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for approx. 20 minutes.
  4. Add vinegar and stir. Taste and season with salt and red pepper flakes as desired.
  5. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and sprinkling of chives (if using) on top.
Recipe Notes

Consider buying pre-peeled/chopped pumpkin/butternut squash, if you can find it. It will make life easier. Otherwise, here is a great method for peeling/chopping your own. I suggest the oven method as it is most "nutrient-safe."

If you can find a good, free-range chicken bone broth – use that. If you can’t – feel free to substitute with low sodium vegetable broth or low sodium free-range chicken broth. Pacific brand is my go-to when I need to use boxed broths...

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