Friday, January 21, 2011

Late Summer Salad (with Chicken, Squash, Pears, and Pecans)

When on our recent family vacation in South Carolina, I had a very simple but delicious salad. What made it so good was the addition of cinnamon pecans. Although the pecans didn't look like they had anything on them, they had a very subtle but distinct cinnamon flavor. Here is my take on that salad, with a healthy boost of extra ingredients to make it a complete meal. The butternut squash preparation is the most time consuming; you can do it 1-2 days in advance to speed up your dinner prep.

Serves 2-3, with some leftover squash.

1/2 cup pecans, whole
1 Tbsp unsalted, grass-fed butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 2-lb butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 pear
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp coconut oil (can substitute olive oil)
1/4 cup shallots, sliced thin
3 Tbsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
5 oz mixed salad greens

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. If using coconut oil, add 1 Tbsp to a rimmed baking sheet and place it in the oven for 1-2 minutes or until melted. Carefully remove from oven.
  3. Place cubed squash on the baking sheet and toss well to coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast on center rack for about 20 minutes or until browned on one side. Turn the squash and continue roasting for 5-10 minutes or until soft and toasty. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. While squash roasts, cut pear in half and remove stem and core. A melon-baller works great to remove the core (or use a small spoon). Cut halves in half lengthwise and then slice the quarters into 1/4-inch slices. 
  6. Heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add shallot and let it cook, without moving for 3-4 minutes or until one side begins to brown, turn and cook an additional 2 minutes until well browned but not burnt. Remove from pan and set aside.
  7. Add pears to the same pan and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until one side starts to lightly brown. Turn, add pecans, 1 Tbsp butter (optional) and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp sea salt. Toss to combine. Continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  8. In a medium bowl, add salad greens and drizzle with about 1 tsp olive oil. Toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  9. To serve, divide greens evenly between plates. Arrange chicken, squash, pears, pecans, and shallots on top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar (and additional olive oil, if desired).


  1. My husband and I are totally addicted to Paleo Table! Your meal plans are amazing. I have been planning our meals around yours and we haven't been disappointed yet. We've also shared many of your recipes with our CrossFit gym. Thanks so much for sharing for time and talents!!


  2. That's awesome, Sarah! So happy to hear you and your hubby like Paleo Table! I love that you are sharing the recipes. :) What CrossFit gym do you go to? Do they have the Paleo Table widget on their site? If not, they can download it from right sidebar. Thanks for the nice comments! (I checked out your website--super cute bags! I especially like the reusable lunch bags.)