Why do I call this TJ’s Salad? Because all the time saving ingredients came from there…
Precooked and vacuum packed lentils – check
Pre cubed butternut squash – check
Brussels sprouts – check
Organic pre-washed arugula – check
Candied and toasted walnuts – check
Fresh goat cheese – check
Boneless chicken thighs – check
You could save even more time if you used their precooked chicken breasts. I would simply cut them into 1/2 inch slivers, toss with olive oil and season with ground cumin and coriander. Let them sit in the fridge for an hour or so (if you have time) to let the seasonings sink in.
I cooked the chicken, butternut squash and Brussels sprouts earlier in the day so they would have a chance to cool before being tossed in the salad.
This is a whole meal salad, everything you need in one bowl.
Ode to Trader Joe’s Salad
- 1 1/2 lbs of boneless and skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 package of precooked lentils (about 1 1/2 cups)
- I package of pre-cubed butternut squash (about 2 cups)
- 3 cups of Brussels sprouts, halved or quartered if large
- 1/2 cup of candied walnuts
- 1/3 log of fresh goat cheese
- 1/2 package of organic arugula – about 3 handfuls
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 5 tablespoons of olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
- In a bowl toss the butternut squash with a tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add them to a sheet pan.
- Toss the halved or quartered Brussels sprouts in the same bowl with another tablespoon of oil and salt. Add them to another sheet pan. (I usually line the pans with parchment paper for easier clean up.)
- Roast both pans for about 30 minutes until the edges of the vegetables are brown and toasty looking. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
- Meanwhile cut the chicken thighs into strips about 1/2 inch wide and 1 inch long. Toss them in a bowl (you can use the same one) with a teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander and kosher salt (if not using kosher, use less).
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add the chicken. Saute until cooked through, then put aside until time to assemble the salad.
- Place the lentils in a large salad bowl. Season with the 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, pinch of salt, the minced garlic, and the remaining olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your own liking. Let them sit until you are ready to assemble the salad.
- When you are ready to eat, add the roasted vegetables to the lentils and toss. Add the chicken, toss again. Add the arugula and walnuts and toss. Taste and adjust any seasonings.
- Garnish with dollops of the fresh goat cheese.
This could easily be a vegetarian entree without the chicken. Roasted tofu would be wonderful as well. I would season the tofu with the cumin and coriander before roasting until it has crispy edges. A trick I learned is to coast the butternut squash (or tofu or sweet potatoes) with a generous teaspoon of cornstarch after the oil and before roasting. The edges get super crispy while the center is still creamy.
I am going to take this salad to the folks on Fiesta Friday. It’s Fiesta Friday #428 and it’s been ages since I have contributed. It’s all our new puppies fault plus the demands of spring gardening. Who knew retirement would be so busy! Fiesta Friday is hosted by Angie and this week’s cohost is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook