Stone FRUIT that is! This is a double-protein summer salad that takes advantage of stone fruits like nectarines and peaches being in season! I'm loving the combo of fruit in my savory salads lately and this was my latest culinary exploration. The earthiness of the lentils goes so well with the stone fruit which also juices up the chicken!
- 1/2 cup French green lentils (Puy lentils)
- sea salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts, thighs or use halloumi cheese or a cauliflower steak
- Balsamic vinaigrette or your favorite store-bought, like Newman's
- 2 large nectarines or peaches, halved and pitted
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, de-stemmed and rough chopped
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved vertically
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, rough chopped
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, rough chopped
- Place 2 tablespoons of the Balsamic vinaigrette in a medium bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat and let marinate for 30 minutes. Set the remaining dressing aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the lentils with 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are just tender but not falling apart, about 20-25 minutes. Drain, return to pan and lay the chopped Swiss chard on top of the hot lentils and cover to wilt the leaves.
- While the lentils are cooking, preheat a grill over medium heat.
- You can choose to grill your nectarines/peaches, then chop and add to your salad, or like me, just chop it without grilling. (I like the juxtaposition of the cool fruit with the hot chicken and warm lentils.) Place the chicken/halloumi/cauliflower steak and and nectarine/peach halves, cut side down on the grill. Cook until the chicken/halloumi/cauliflower steak is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Cook the nectarines/peaches until charred on the cut side and softened slightly, 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes if using chicken. Cut chicken/halloumi/cauliflower steak into thin slices and the nectarines/peaches into bite-size pieces.
- Use tongs to remove the chard from on top of the lentils and set aside. Divide the warm lentils among plates.
- Arrange the chicken/halloumi/cauliflower steak on top of the lentils, then top with the chard and drizzle each salad with 1/2-1 tablespoons of the Balsamic dressing.
- Place the cherry tomatoes and nectarines/peaches on top, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the fresh basil and mint.