Cooking a chicken breast shouldn’t be scary. It also shouldn’t take a lot of time. This recipe shows you how to quickly cook a boneless, skinless chicken breast, as well as how to make a quick Italian inspired topping. Once you master cooking a chicken breast, the possibilities are endless. I like this recipe because it’s simple, fresh, and delicious. There are also no grains or dairy in it (I substitute avocado for what would traditionally be mozzarella), so that keeps it light without sacrificing any flavor.
- One bag of pre-washed mix of baby arugula and baby spinach (or any other greens that sound good to you)
- 2-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- A dash of kosher salt
- A crank of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup of diced fresh tomatoes (I used cherry, but you can use whatever you’d like)
- 10 basil leaves
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
Time: 22 minutes
Step 1 — Prepare the Chicken
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Put a cast iron pan on your stove top, and start heating up your pan. Set it to medium-high, leaning towards the high side. While your pan is heating up, sprinkle salt and pepper on one side of the chicken breasts. You don’t need to use a lot of salt — literally, a “pinch” of kosher salt, sprinkled evenly over the chicken, will do the trick. Season with pepper to taste — you will want to see the pepper on the chicken, but you don’t want it to be all you see. After about 1-2 minutes, your pan should be hot. Add about 1/2 Tb. of olive oil and let it heat, about another minute. Once the oil is hot, place the breasts seasoned side down and set the timer for three minutes. Quickly season the other side. After that side cooks for three minutes, using an oven mitt, transfer the cast iron pan into the 450 degree oven. Cook four minutes each side in the oven, and then pull the pan out of the oven.
Timing for the chicken breast:
- Stove Top: 3 minutes per side
- Oven: 4 minutes per side
After the 3 min/3 min 4 min/4min cooking, your chicken will be done. It will have a nice sear on both sides. Who knew a skinless chicken breast could look so appetizing?
Step 2 — Prepare your Topping
While your chicken is on the stove top, you can prepare your topping. Dice your tomatoes, cut up your avocado, and cut your basil into thin strips. You may not finish in three minutes, and if not, quickly flip your chicken and get back to chopping. Be sure to wash your hands if you touch raw chicken. See the instructions above for the timing. It’s really simple: 3 minutes on each side on the stove top, and 4 minutes on each side in the oven. That’s 14 minutes total!
Chop up the tomatoes. I quarter the tomatoes. Halving them works too. If you want to cut a big tomato into cubes, that’s perfect as well. Like I’ve said before, I buy my tomatoes based on which ones smell the least like plastic. Farmers markets and neighbors (or your own backyard) are your best best for tasty tomatoes.
Cut the avocado into cubes:
Cut the basil into thin ribbons. This is easier than it looks. Place the ten basil leaves on top of each other, and roll them up. Then, chop thin vertical strips, and you’ll have basil ribbons!
Place all the tomatoes, avocado, and basil in a bowl, and top with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I use about 1/2 Tb. olive oil and 1/2 Tb. balsamic. I like the tanginess of the balsamic.
Toss and let sit while you finish up the chicken:
Step 3 — Put it all Together
Place a handful or two of greens on a big place, and place the chicken breast on top of the greens.
Using a big spoon, top with tomato, avocado and basil mixture:
And, that’s it! You’ve made dinner! I hope you enjoy 🙂