Tuesday, 29 May 2012

'Pesto di Pollo' Salad

My food history has quite humble origins. When I was younger I used to work as a waitress at Pizza Express. Now, anyone who has waitressed at a restaurant with a limited menu (such as mostly pizza) knows that you quite quickly get bored of eating the same thing every shift (and you do eat the same thing as its free food, who's going to buy their own dinner when you can get it for free?). So every once in a while I liked to mix it up and have a salad. The 'Pollo Salad' (which I'm not sure that they do any more).

This salad is a variation based on that very salad, hence I have kept the Italian themed name (if it's grammatically wrong I apologise, I don't actually speak Italian). It is the perfect salad for the lead up to summer; it's full of red pepper which is unbelievably good for you and is very low in fat, except for the goats cheese which you are welcome to leave out. However, every thing in moderation leads me to believe that a little bit of cheese every now and then wont do you any harm.

The 'pesto di pollo' salad is unbelievably easy to throw together which is ideal when you would rather be out in the sun than cooped up in the kitchen. 

To make this salad for two, what you'll need is:
  • 1 Red Pepper;
  • 1 Tomato;
  • 1 Bag of Salad (I used Baby Leaf Salad);
  • a handful of Mixed Olives (use fresh ones from the counter if you feel fancy);
  • 1 - 2 Chicken Breasts (depends how hungry you are);
  • 2 slices of goats cheese;
  • Olive oil;
  • Balsamic Vinegar; and 
  • Salt and pepper.

What you need to do is:

1.   Cut up the chicken into bite sized pices and fry them in a little oil, I like to use flavoured oils when cooking any thing for salads, for this I used basil infused olive oil. (You can oven bake the chicken if you like, I just fried it because it was faster.)

2.   When the chicken is almost done add a spoonfull of your favouite pesto to it and finish cooking it. (If you are baking the chicken, mix it in pesto before you pop it in the oven.) I used 'roasted red pepper pesto'.

3.   Meanwhile prepare the rest of your salad: divide the salad between two plates, chop up the red pepper, tomato and goats cheese and scatter them over the leaves, along with the olives.

4.   Dress the salad. You can either mix together the olive oil and balsamic to make a dressing or you can use a pre-made mix. It you add just a squeeze of lemon juice into the balsamic and olive oil mix it's also very nice.

5.   When your ready to eat, pop the chicken on top and enjoy, I recommend with a glass of white wine.

I should also mention that this salad was designed to go with the pizza express house dressing so if you've seen it in the shops and fancy trying it this would be the opportune moment. (P.s. the dressing is mildly adictive and I havent stopped loving since I worked there 7 years ago.) Alternatively you can pop along to an actual Pizza Express and try the original Pollo Salad, that is if they still do it. 


  1. Yummy!!! Looks so posh!

  2. Can't wait to try this when we go out next week! xx