Friday, March 15, 2013

Chicken Zucchini Salad w/ Almond Basil Pesto

Chicken Zucchini Salad with Basil-Almond Pesto

Mmmm pesto.  A versatile sauce, pretty much delicious on anything.  Instead of using the typical pine nuts or walnuts base, I decided to use toasted almonds instead.. just for kicks.


For this post, I used the pesto to create a room temperature salad/appetizer with ribboned zucchini, tomatos, and leftover chicken.  However, the real point is, you can combine the pesto with many different foods and create new, yummy meals out of leftovers or cheaper cuts of meat.  Use it with a different mix of veggies, thinly sliced cheap beef (skirts, flanks, tri tips, etc), leftover Rotisserie chicken, or throw some into an omelette, are just a few ideas.  You get the gist.

  • 5 thin Zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Blanched Almonds, toasted
  • 4 cloves of Garlic
  • 3 cups fresh Italian Basil.  If you have lemon basil, I would add a 1/2 cup of that too.
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup nice Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • 1 Roma Tomato, diced
  • 2 Chicken Breast, cooked, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Sea Salt and Pepper

Instructions:
  1. Gather all ingredients.  Cut the 2 ends of the zucchini off.  Use a Mandoline slicer (extra thin setting) to slice the zucchini.  For a ribboned look, slice the zucchini at an angle with the ticker end going through the blade first.  For the next slice, turn the zucchini slightly so that there is overlap from the previous cut.  Keep rotating and slicing until you almost hit the seeds.  Discard.  When you are done slicing, lightly salt the zucchini to help drain the water.
    3. Ribboned zucchini.
  2. In a hot pan, toast the 1/2 cup unsalted blanched almonds for about 4-5 minutes.  I used slivered almonds.
    4. Toasted slivered almonds.
  3. In a food processor, add the toasted almonds, 3 cup fresh Basil, and 4 cloves of garlic.  Pulse until crumbly.
    5. food processor.
  4. When crumbly, add the 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Pulse until well mixed.  Add 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice.
    6. + cheeseeeee.
  5. Add the lemon juice.  Pulse.  Taste, salt and pepper to likings.
  6. Add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.  Mix.
  7. Dice the Roma Tomato.  Also cut the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  8. In a mixing bowl, add the zucchini noodles and chicken.  Mix in the pesto.
  9. Add the diced Roma Tomato.  Serve at room temperature as a salad or appetizer.  Enjoy!


7. Almond Basil Pesto


8. Snackie

Any leftover pesto should be stored in a small container and covered with a thin layer of olive oil.  Enjoy!

Related Recipes: Chicken Cilantro Pesto Lettuce Wraps

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