No, your eyes do not deceive you. Yes, that is lettuce. And yes, I am actually advocating a salad.
This is due to the fact that I am becoming increasingly conscious of the fact that in a mere three weeks, I will be celebrating the end of term (as well as my 21st birthday, but I’m choosing not to dwell on the fact that my youth is rapidly becoming a thing of the past) on a beach in Ibiza. And while I would rather spend a week trapped in a room with a Croc shoe than go within 5 feet of a gym, I would also prefer not to look like a heifer in my Instagrams. Sadly, my diet of pancakes and other baked goods is not quite conducive to this, so I’m adapting.
The only way I will go near a vegetable is if it has been disguised and covered with other far less threatening items. Just ask my mother: when I was younger, I used to tell people I was allergic to tomatoes just so I wouldn’t have to eat those little red balls of hell.
But healthy doesn’t have to be bad! I had a craving for Mexican food the other day, and rather than giving up and ordering takeout, I decided to get creative with my fridge ingredients and came up with this vaguely Mexican(ish)-inspired salad. It’s damn good, too.
I feel this is a turning point in my relationship with vegetation; stay tuned, next week I might even go on a foray into the World Of The Brussel Sprout.
But probably not.
(I usually prep enough to make enough for a few salads, that’s why the ingredients aren’t exact; store the chicken and drained veg in the fridge for up to a week for quick to-go lunches or dinners)
Boneless, skinless chicken fillets
canned black beans
your favourite lettuce OR you can use spinach leaves, they’re equally good
for the rub (adjust according to your preferences):
2:1:1 ratio of Cajun spice: garlic powder: paprika
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
olive oil to brush on chicken
for the dressing:
1 T. olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. honey
pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 230C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.
Combine the dry ingredients for the rub in a bowl and set aside. Brush each chicken fillet with olive oil on both sides, then roll it around in the seasoning so that it is entirely covered. Place on baking tray and bake all the chicken for about 10 minutes, flip, and bake again for 15-20 minutes or until the juices run clear and there is no pink when you cut into the centre of the fillet.
Drain and rinse the beans and corn and wash your lettuce. Chop it up and throw all ingredients (corn, beans, chicken, lettuce) into your bowl. This is where portion control comes in: you decide how much beans/corn/lettuce/chicken you want and add that to the bowl. Put the rest in the fridge.
To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together then pour over top your salad.