This Chicken, Apple and Sweet Potato Salad is the hearty salad of my dreams

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To know me is to know someone whose devotion to bread is unwavering. I adore the squishy carb, unable to resist its vapid, delicious charms.

I also love fitting into my pants, and sometimes a girl just has to pull back a little bit, you feel me? This month, I'm trying to be low-carb whenever possible, mostly during the week so I can still indulge on the weekends when I'm leaving the brewery with an insatiable craving for french fries. 

My current inspiration is my husband, who has been on the ketogenic diet for the past couple months and has lost almost 30 pounds. The results are impressive! And with good reason: You can barely eat any carbs, not even the ones found in fruit, instead relying on a lot of (healthy) fats like avocado and cheese and olives to fill you up. 

I could probably never do it, but it has opened my eyes to the fact that I don't need to consume a starchy carb with every single meal. And it has forced me to embrace protein, things like hardboiled eggs and chicken and cheeses. (Though let's be real, I never didn't embrace cheese.)

This salad is a result of all that, a dinner that doesn't need carbs to really satisfy your hunger. It's loaded with all manner of bright, yummy accoutrements. And it's a real stunner on the plate, an underrated tool for making at-home meals appealing. The recipe has you make your own dressing, but if you're feeling a little blah about the idea of a salad, throw on some creamy storebought stuff and call it a day. 

ALSO: I wrote about some food prep go-tos that help make putting together a salad real easy. CLICK HERE TO READ THAT.


Apple and Sweet Potato Salad

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For the vinaigrette:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the salad:
1 medium sweet potato, diced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 cups baby spinach
1 large apple, cored and sliced
4 ounces goat cheese
4 tablespoons toasted, unsalted walnuts, chopped

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Make the dressing: In a bowl, add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper, and whisk to combine.

Make the salad: Place sweet potato and chicken breast on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray and season with olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika.

Bake until chicken is cooked through and sweet potatoes are tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Slice the chicken breast.

Add spinach to a large bowl, and top with sweet potatoes and sliced chicken, plus sliced apples, goat cheese and walnuts. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

Serves 2.

Source: Adapted from Buzzfeed