Grilled Lemon Thyme Chicken Salad

  • Yield 12 servings

A full-flavored, yet light for summer salad, with liberal amounts of lemon and thyme.

Grilled Lemon Thyme Chicken Salad
Teresa Blackburn

Ingredients

Marinade and chicken:
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons (heaping) fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
Salad:
1 1/2 pounds dry penne pasta
1 pound sugar snap peas
1 pound yellow and orange bell peppers
1 pound baby spinach
Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black bepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place marinade ingredients into a bowl and whisk well. Place chicken breasts into a 1 gallon zip-top bag. Pour in marinade, swishing it around to coat all of the pieces. Seal and refrigerate  1 hour. Don’t marinate more than 1 hour—the acid in the lemon will “cook” the meat.
  2.  Prepare grill.
  3. Remove chicken from the  bag; discard marinade. When coals are ashen, place  chicken on grill rack . Cook about 7 minutes per side, or until done.
  4.  Cook  pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. Drain well. Place in large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  5.  Heat a large skillet. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté sugar snap peas, in batches, until bright green, about 2 minutes. Add to penne.
  6.  Sauté  bell pepper  until caramelized. (If using baby sweet bells, place them in the skillet whole and let them char on all sides. Remove and cut into julienned strips when cool.) Add  to penne.
  7. Slice chicken breasts into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
  8. To prepare vinaigrette: Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until emulsified.
  9. To assemble salad:  Place spinach leaves in a large mixing bowl. Add penne, vegetables and chicken. Pour lemon-thyme vinaigrette over top and toss well  until everything is lightly coated with dressing.
  10.  Garnish with lemon twists and fresh thyme, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Nancy Vienneau and  Third Thursday Potluck

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