Roasted Maple Chicken Salad with Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Gnocchi “Croutons” with Balsamic Fig Dressing

by Lauren on October 30, 2012

I did something tonight I’m quite proud of.

I combined two of my favorite things into one unconventional dish that deserves a worthy note of recognition.

I should preface this by saying, I’m not a big fan of pasta in general.  Regular flour noodles just don’t do anything for me.  I often think it’s tasteless and just a plate filler.  I know I know, you probably hate me for saying that but it’s just how I feel.

With that said, I now need to add an alternative to this statement. I’m not a big fan of pasta unless it’s gnocchi.  Gnocchi is unlike any regular noodle, it’s more like a chewy pillow of dough that melts in your mouth.  If I’m going to eat pasta, I’m going to get my moneys worth and gnocchi fulfills my every pasta desire.

So back to this dish.  I came across fresh made pumpkin gnocchi at the store last weekend and without hesitation, threw it into my cart.  Pumpkin and gnocchi, well that was a no-brainer.

I’ve spent the past 2 days trying to think of a recipe that I could make with my purchase. As good as it is on its own, I knew I needed a bit more substance and definitely more protein.  I toyed with the idea of throwing in added vegetables and then some kind of meat but nothing in my mind seemed to come together until I thought, why not make something that I have absolutely no problems with, a salad and the gnocchi would serve as “croutons.”

Genius!

Roasted Maple Chicken Salad with Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Gnocchi “Croutons” with Balsamic Fig Dressing
Recipe Type: Salad, Entree
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • For the Chicken
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken fillet
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • For the Salad
  • 1/2 cup sliced brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup cubed butternut squash
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 apple, chopped
  • 2 tbsp toasted walnuts
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup refrigerator pumpkin gnocchi
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • For the Dressing
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp fig preserves
Instructions
  1. To prepare chicken, season fillet with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and brown sugar together. Set aside. In a preheated skillet coated with cooking spray, add chicken and cook on one side until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip and add vinegar mixture overtop. Place skillet in the oven (heated at 400 degrees) and cook until done, about 20 minutes.
  2. While chicken is roasting, prepare vegetables. Coat brussels sprouts and squash with cooking spray, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven with the chicken for 20 minutes.
  3. For the gnocchi, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and let it cook until it floats to the top of the water, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, melt butter. Add gnocchi and sauté until they start to brown. Add cinnamon and coat.
  5. For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk balsamic and fig preserves. Set aside.
  6. Begin assembling your salad. Lay greens on a plate, add chopped apple, walnuts and goat cheese. Distribute gnocchi on top along with the roasted vegetables. Lastly, slice cooked chicken and lay on top. Drizzle with dressing.

I know it seems like there is a lot of steps, but this salad actually came together in no time. The gnocchi gives this recipe so much character.  I absolutely loved the different texture elements from the crunch of the apple to the creamy chew from the gnocchi.

Creative and delicious, my favorite kind of recipe.

Question:

What is your favorite kind of pasta?

Giveaway:

Don’t forget, my giveaway for Health Warrior Chia Bars is still running until Thursday.  Enter today!

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