This is such a beautiful salad for winter. The colours are so vibrant and the dressing so light, yet the lentils and chicken combine to make this really satiating. I think this is the best way to cook chicken breast (schnitzel excepted). In twenty minutes you get the glorious taste of roast chicken. You can use this concept of cooking the chicken and change the flavour by using different marinades. Some on my rotation are zaatar, harissa or fresh herbs with lemon zest and Dijon mustard. I like to use puy lentils in this salad, but if you want to save time or use one saucepan less, canned lentils are fine too (just rinse well). Also, you can omit the chicken, or substitute chickpeas, for a gorgeous vegetarian version. You could also add 1/4 cup of toasted slivered almonds for textural crunch.
Chicken Salad with Pumpkin, Lentils and Radicchio
2 chicken breasts
generous pinch of salt
2 large handfuls baby spinach
I small head radicchio sliced
1 cup cooked lentils
½ butternut pumpkin or ¼ jap pumpkin, cubed
¼ cup currants
½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
1 tbspn white balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt
½ tspn sugar
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Spray the pumpkin with olive oil and roast for 25 minutes or until golden.
Massage the chicken breasts with 1 tbspn olive oil. Season generously with salt. Heat a non stick oven proof pan to high on the stove. When the pan is hot, sear chicken for 2 minutes. Turn over, sear other side for 1 minute then place in the oven for 20 minutes.
Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Combine dressing ingredients. Combine salad ingredients, pour over dressing, reserving 1 tbspn. Mix well. Arrange chicken slices on top and drizzle over remaining dressing, and toss to combine.