Is it just me, or does a good salad never get old? For the most part, salads are quick and easy to throw together, great for on-the-go, full of endless possibilities, and oh yeah, did I mention good for you? They can be packed with phytonutrient- and fiber-rich fruits and veggies, healthy fats, and lean proteins for a nourishing and satisfying meal that helps to crowd out other, less nourishing options and promote energy and vitality.
But I get it. If you don’t love salads as much as I do, hopefully you’ll at least give this one a try (I promise, it’s delicious)! Make it Paleo by ditching the goat cheese (although, I LOVE the flavor and creaminess the goat cheese adds), or make it as a vegetarian side dish by omitting the chicken.
And if you’re like me and you like to meal prep once every few days, be sure to prepare plenty of each fix-in ahead of time, storing them in your fridge and assembling your salad when you’re ready to eat 🙂
Pear & Goat Cheese Salad
Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
For the chicken –
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 teaspoons each salt and sugar
- garlic powder, onion salt, pepper, and chicken seasoning (I used black truffle be Runa seed salt)
- drizzle of olive oil
For the salad –
- 8 cups baby mixed greens
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced
- 1 4oz block plain goat cheese (look for local and humanely raised from your farmers market)
- 1 pear, cored and diced
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 1/2 – 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 – 1 tablespoon maple syrup
For the dressing –
- 1 small pear, cored and diced
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- juice of one small lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2-3 teaspoons honey
- salt and pepper to taste
Start by brining the chicken. Place thawed chicken breasts in a large baking dish and fill with water until the chicken is mostly covered. Stir in the salt and sugar, and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. After the chicken is done brining, preheat the oven to 350° F, drain the brining solution, and season the chicken on both sides with olive oil, onion salt, garlic powder, and other seasonings as desired. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.
Meanwhile, as the chicken is baking, candy the walnuts. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low to medium heat, then add the walnuts. Toss to coat, then drizzle in the maple syrup and toss again. Once the nuts are fully coated, remove from heat and let cool. Chop the onions and pear and set aside.
Also while the chicken is baking, prepare the dressing. Toss all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Once the chicken is done, remove it from the oven, let cool, then slice into bite-sized chunks. Prepare a single serving of the salad by placing 2 cups mixed greens on a large salad plate. Top with 1/4 of the baked chicken, then sprinkle with pear pieces, candied walnuts, and green onions. Crumble 1 oz of the goat cheese on top and drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!
**Tip: Place any ingredients you don’t use in individual containers in the refrigerator, and enjoy a fresh, quick, and easy-to-assemble salad later in the week!