A Tasty and Healthy Chicken and Pumpkin Salad Recipe


chicken saladHere is an very tasty chicken and pumpkin salad recipe I came up with to get more healthy pumpkin into my diet. It makes a simple and tasty lunch or dinner and is really good for your health and energy too.

When fresh pumpkin is not in season, butternut squash makes a fine replacement. If you don’t have pumpkin seeds you can use cashews, which also taste great in this, but pumpkin seeds are particularly good for health nutrients and worth getting.

Ingredients for 2

  • One organic chicken breast or equivalent thighs cut into thin strips – It’s really worth paying a bit more for organic chicken. The standard chicken you find in supermarkets is full of hormones, have inflammatory fat profiles and the chickens have lived pretty miserable lives. Organic chicken tastes better too.
  • One small pumpkin or half a medium one (the remaining half can be wrapped and kept in the fridge to use for another pumpkin soup in a day or two). Remove the skin if you like but this is unnecessary and it contains many nutrients.
  • Organic salad leaves – I like a mixture of spinach, watercress and rocket for this recipe. These leaves are incredibly healthy but also unfortunately often grown with a heavy pesticide load. Soaking them in hot water and a splash of vinegar should help to remove this but I’d rather pay a little more for organic here.
  • A cup of cherry tomatoes, halved.
  • Organic coconut oil – Don’t be too concerned about a little fat when using coconut oil. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil have been found to make it one of the healthiest oils to cook with.
  • Crush garlic, cracked pepper and real salt to taste – the best salt I’ve found for all cooking is Himalayan crystal salt. There is also a great variety of rock salts out there full of minerals. Mineral stripped sodium chloride cannot be considered true salt and has many damaging effects in our bodies.
  • Optional: Virgin olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. With the coconut oil you may not feel you need these on the salad leaves. It’s still very tasty without. If you do use them only a small splash of each is needed.

How to Make Chicken and Pumpkin Warm Salad

Paleo free-bookStart by cutting the pumpkin in half and removing the seeds (keep these for later if you’re going to roast them). With a strong knife, cut the pumpkin into lengthwise strips of the width you’d like in your salad.

Place them in a steaming saucepan or covered saucepan with a steaming insert and steam for 10 to 12 minutes, until a fork goes easily through the pumpkin pulp to near the skin.

With the pumpkin steaming, put a teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add your diced organic chicken on a gentle fry, turning regularly with the heat hot enough to cook thoroughly, but not so hot as to make the chicken tough.

I find a lid on the frying pan can help the chicken to cook better and you lose less moisture and need less heat. Check a larger piece is done if you’re unsure.

While the pumpkin is finishing steaming and the chicken gently frying, you can wash and place the salad leaves in a serving bowl. Add a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar (it shouldn’t need much, this recipe is tasty enough). Throw them in and toss the salad lightly.

When the chicken looks just about cooked, add the pumpkin seeds, crushed garlic, crystal salt and cracked pepper and stir through. After a minute, scoop the chicken and pumpkin seeds out and throw them into the salad bowl onto the salad leaves.

Add a little more coconut oil to the frying pan and gently fry the pumpkin scoops very briefly. Literally just long enough to infuse a bit of coconut and garlic flavor into it. Less than a minute should be fine.

You also don’t want to move the scoops around too much as they can be quite soft depending on the pumpkin.

Once the pumpkin is lightly fried, add it to the warm chicken salad along with the cherry tomatoes and gently toss, so all the ingredients are mixed. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Photo credit with thanks: Martin Ng 

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