Lunchtime Southwest Couscous Bowls.

These southwest couscous bowls are an excellent make-ahead meal for lunch or dinner! They are served with a chili lime dressing that is extra flavorful too. Super easy and delicious! New lunch idea, coming right up! It’s no secret that I am always on the hunt for excellent lunch recipes that can be prepared ahead […]

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These southwest couscous bowls are an excellent make-ahead meal for lunch or dinner! They are served with a chili lime dressing that is extra flavorful too. Super easy and delicious!

New lunch idea, coming right up!

southwest couscous bowls

It’s no secret that I am always on the hunt for excellent lunch recipes that can be prepared ahead of time. And here I am today with a super delicious one for you. These couscous bowls have tons of flavor and are simple, satisfying and customizable. 

That’s what I love to hear. 

Much like my baja grain bowls, you can put these together the night before! Whether you toss it all or keep it segmented, it’s one of those recipes that works for make-ahead prep and may even taste better the longer that it sits. Music to my ears, thank you very much. 

southwest couscous bowls

We’re in back-to-school mode over here and that really means back to routines. Dinner meal planning comes fairly easy to me given this job, but it’s lunch that I find to be a struggle. It’s better for me during the week to have a few ideas in mind – sometimes that means cooking something ahead of time, using my 10 minute meal prep theory or just generally having an idea of what I can grab.

Anything to make me have less decision fatigue, especially on big work days at home.

So let me introduce my new favorite lunch! And how it comes together.

First, the couscous. I sauté some bell peppers and onions in with the grain before adding liquid, then cook it all together. This is SO wonderful. It really adds an extra depth of flavor that you don’t get with raw diced onion and peppers on top. This is my new favorite way to cook a grain and a method I’ll use with rice and quinoa too. 

I almost always have a cooked grain on hand during the week. It is such a simple part of meal prep that can be done on the weekend without much thought. And grains are incredibly versatile. So if you know you want to make this, prep it ahead of time and it makes things that much easier. 

Here’s what we have in our bowl:

The couscous – pearl couscous to be exact. It’s my favorite. I use this one and get it at my local grocery store.

Beans! I like black beans here. But any beans work.

Corn, for which you have many options. You can use frozen or fresh corn, right from the cob. You can use leftover grilled corn. For this, I love to use that roasted corn from Trader Joe’s that comes frozen. Really whatever corn you have and enjoy. 

Tomatoes, green onions and fresh herbs (like cilantro) round everything out.

If you’re looking for more, this is also a fantastic base to use for chicken (I’d just grab a rotisserie one!), shrimp or even steak. 

One of my favorite parts about this bowl is the dressing! You know what a huge fan I am of homemade vinaigrettes and this one does not disappoint. It’s a chili lime dressing, originally found in Everyday Dinners, that adds so much flavor to any bowl or salad. I love the weeks when I have this one in the fridge because it’s delish on all the things. 

This bowl can be served warm or cold, it’s entirely up to you. You can make this into smaller or larger portions, depending on what you’re looking for. You can also toss the entire thing together as a side dish. And of course, you can easily multiply it to feed a ton of people, because grain bowls are easy like that. 

I couldn’t ask for more! (more…)

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Pesto Risotto Stuffed Peppers.

We are in love with these pesto risotto stuffed peppers! Creamy, parmesan risotto laced with classic basil pesto, stuffed in sweet bell peppers and roasted until perfect. Cozy, comforting summer food! These stuffed summer peppers are cheesy and herby and everything you want a delicious summer dinner to be.  Creamy parmesan risotto with lots of […]

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We are in love with these pesto risotto stuffed peppers! Creamy, parmesan risotto laced with classic basil pesto, stuffed in sweet bell peppers and roasted until perfect. Cozy, comforting summer food!

These stuffed summer peppers are cheesy and herby and everything you want a delicious summer dinner to be. 

pesto risotto stuffed peppers

Creamy parmesan risotto with lots of fresh basil pesto is loaded into halved bell peppers, then topped with cheese and baked until the peppers because little warm boats of love. These are divine. 

bell peppers ready to roast

The risotto stuffed pepper is not a new thing here! In fact, I made these peppers by accident one day for dinner, because I didn’t have all the ingredients I wanted for my other recipe. I was blown away at how simply delicious they were, and even though it feels a little cop-out-ish, I knew I had to share. You are going to love them.

risotto with pesto

Because here’s the thing! 

I was inspired to make these peppers because of how much we all LOVE my summer risotto stuffed peppers. They are a staple meal during this warm season – and bring a cozy, comforting vibe when certain grilled and uncooked dishes do not. You know? Those peppers are incredibly satisfying and delicious and surprisingly good for a make-ahead meal prep dish. They are filled with corn and zucchini, but you really could add in any summer vegetables that you enjoy.

pesto risotto

So, pesto risotto peppers it is!

These peppers are slightly less substantial – they are more cheesy, creamy risotto instead of all the summer produce. They are an excellent side dish or could be your main dish with a big summer salad on the side. You can make a big pan of them for the week ahead and use them for lunches with a greens salad or as side dishes with dinner. 

pesto risotto

And my favorite way to make these is with LEFTOVER risotto! It makes it super easy and fast, especially if you want to prepare these on a weeknight. You do lose a bit of that hydrated creaminess that risotto is known for, but the texture and flavor is still there, big time. 

pesto risotto stuffed peppers

To make these, I do a super classic version of risotto here. I use arborio rice, chicken stock and white wine, plus lots of parmesan cheese. Risotto is intimidating at first, but once you make it a few times, it’s simple. You know the drill, how it works. And I’ve said this many times in my recipes before, but risotto is all about how the rice feels as it cooks. Yes, feels! 

No, I don’t want you to put your hands in the pot and pick up scoops of hot risotto, but you will learn how the rice feels against your spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks, when it’s hydrated enough and when to add more liquid. Of course, I will add the instructions in the recipe below too. But once you do it a few times, you certainly get a good feel for it and it makes this entire process very simple. 

pesto risotto stuffed peppers

When my risotto is almost finished, I stir in a lot of pesto.

In the summer I like to use fresh pesto. In the winter, I am not above using a good jarred pesto if I can find it. And while I like to do a traditional basil pesto with this recipe, the sky is the limit. Arugula, kale, sun dried tomato – all of these pesto varieties will work. I just suggest tasting your risotto after you add the pesto, and making sure it’s perfect before add it to the peppers.

pesto risotto stuffed peppers

As for the peppers, I like to do my stuffed pepper hack here while I make the risotto.

I slice the peppers and remove the seeds and stems, then I do a little pre-roast on them. I talk about this more in my taco stuffed pepper recipe, but I find that this makes the peppers more caramely, sweet and deliciously roasted. If you don’t roast them a bit before, it’s fine. But they won’t be as tender without drying out the filling. A little pre-roast is key!  (more…)

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Zucchini Corn Fritters with Lemon Basil Aioli.

We love these zucchini corn fritters! Crispy, crunchy fritters filled with fresh zucchini and crisp summer corn, fried until golden and perfect. Serve with a lemon basil aioli for dipping. Heaven! Welcome to one of my favorite summer meals!  Okay, maybe these fritters don’t qualify as an entire meal, but I’m pretty sure if you […]

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We love these zucchini corn fritters! Crispy, crunchy fritters filled with fresh zucchini and crisp summer corn, fried until golden and perfect. Serve with a lemon basil aioli for dipping. Heaven!

Welcome to one of my favorite summer meals! 

zucchini corn fritters with lemon basil aioli

Okay, maybe these fritters don’t qualify as an entire meal, but I’m pretty sure if you eat a whole plate of them, they can. 

These.are.phenomenal. 

corn and zucchini in batter

A mix of corn and zucchini, the ultimate summer garden treats, come together in these fritters for a savory and sweet crispy crunchy bite. Add the lemon basil dipping sauce and it’s snacktime heaven. We can’t get enough! 

zucchini fritter batter

Just look at how perfect that batter is.

zucchini corn fritter batter

I don’t make fritters often – these days I hate frying anything on the stovetop, even when it’s a shallow fry like this. I have a recipe for broccoli fritters in Everyday Dinners and those are also incredible – the kids love them. 

And now that we are so enamored with the zucchini corn version, I’m going to be a fritter making queen. When it comes to cooking them, I do an easy pan fry and it works out great. 

zucchini corn fritters with lemon basil aioli

Nothing says vegetable love like little fried cakes of batter. Seriously, back when I loathed all vegetables, fritters were a no brainer for me. Of course I would eat them!

So if you have a veggie skeptic in your house, try a fritter first. They will not be able to resist.

zucchini corn fritters with lemon basil aioli

I love how simple this recipe is. Zucchini and corn of course. Flour, some dried spices, eggs and scallions. Plus an oil for cooking. They come together fast and are very simple, but look extra fancy when you cover them with fresh basil.

zucchini corn fritters with lemon basil aioli

Then we have our dipping sauce!

I love to make a lemon basil aioli for this – I use my nutribullet. I use it constantly for sauces, dips like this and dressings. It’s easy and much simpler to clean than using a whole big blender. (more…)

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Grilled Street Corn Grilled Cheese.

This street corn grilled cheese is the sandwich of the summer! Charred corn with melty cheddar on toasted bread with cilantro lime butter, chili lime seasoning and a sprinkle of cotija cheese. It’s fantastic. Street corn grilled cheese just may be my new favorite thing for all of summer. This is for everyone who loves […]

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This street corn grilled cheese is the sandwich of the summer! Charred corn with melty cheddar on toasted bread with cilantro lime butter, chili lime seasoning and a sprinkle of cotija cheese. It’s fantastic.

Street corn grilled cheese just may be my new favorite thing for all of summer.

street corn grilled cheese

This is for everyone who loves every version of grilled mexican street corn!

This little grilled cheese doesn’t look like much but I can’t even explain how much it is bursting with flavor. We have sweet corn, melty cheddar, crumbly cotija and salty chili lime seasoning with a kick. Every bite is something special and it’s more delicious than I can even explain!

street corn grilled cheese

I love a classic elote recipe and while I’ve never made one that is traditional and authentic, it’s an item on the menu that Eddie and I can’t resist. The flavors are so delicious and crunchy and wonderful.

street corn grilled cheese

So I’ve wanted to make a version of summer corn grilled cheese for years now and this one came at the perfect moment.

These flavors together create absolute magic, with the sandwich tasting about a thousand times better than I expected. With the combination of the outside spread, the cheese, the crunchy corn and the toppings, this takes a traditional grilled cheese over the top and makes everything feel extra fancy and special.

street corn grilled cheese

There is a ton of texture, so much crunch, so much cheese! 

As if I need to explain how much I adore grilled cheese. 

street corn grilled cheese

Okay, this is how it comes together! 

I grill the corn first and slice it off the cob. You can do this however you wish – use leftover corn, don’t grill it at all, whatever is easiest. The key is to have good, crisp fresh corn here – that is what makes it great. Of course, if you’re making this in the off season, manage with what you can find.

We start with a cilantro lime butter. Oooooh yes. Fresh cilantro and lime and salt in a softened butter. That’s going to be the spread on the outsides of the bread! You can also use mayo in this situation if you want to keep that element in the recipe. 

street corn grilled cheese

The inside of the grilled cheese consists of the corn, some grated cheddar cheese and thinly sliced scallions. Lots of flavor here, the corn stays relatively crisp and if you use sharp cheddar… it’s perfect. 

After cooking the grilled cheese in a pan, out come the toppings. I like to sprinkle on cotija cheese, some chili lime seasoning (I love tajin) and fresh cilantro. You could also do a tiny mayo drizzle if you wish.  (more…)

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Grilled Hot Honey Chicken with Sweet Corn Salad.

This grilled hot honey chicken is simple and flavorful. Paired with a fresh sweet corn salad that is crisp, refreshing, crunchy and full of lime, this is a weeknight meal that cannot be missed! I’ve got summer dinner for you tonight! Really, I mean I wish I could cook it FOR you tonight. It’s easy. […]

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This grilled hot honey chicken is simple and flavorful. Paired with a fresh sweet corn salad that is crisp, refreshing, crunchy and full of lime, this is a weeknight meal that cannot be missed!

I’ve got summer dinner for you tonight!

grilled hot honey chicken with lime corn salad

Really, I mean I wish I could cook it FOR you tonight. It’s easy. And simple. It’s flavorful. And tastes so good that you won’t even be able to wait for the leftovers.

grilled hot honey chicken

This grilled chicken is marinated in a simple lemon and hot honey dressing, then served alongside a lime corn salad that is crunchy, creamy, refreshing and bright. Seriously. If that’s not the best weeknight dinner for July I don’t know what else is. 

corn salad ingredients

It’s no secret that I’m always looking for a way to spice up (literally?) our grilled chicken. I can’t handle boring chicken recipes and I’m always on the hunt for a way to make grilled chicken feel extra special. I like to use grilled chicken in lots of leftovers and lunches, so I want to make sure it tastes good enough to eat twice. Or thrice! 

For this chicken, I marinate it in a simple lemon hot honey mix. I used to always make my own hot honey, then I discovered mike’s hot honey so I use that. If you want to make your own – here is how I do it! The hot honey doesn’t exactly shine as a marinade, but when you grill the chicken it will have a bite. I also drizzle the chicken with more hot honey, because I am convinced that you can never have enough. 

grilled hot honey chicken

Served next to this crunchy, fresh corn salad, it’s so fantastic. The chicken is spicy and warm, the corn salad is cool and sweet. It’s a combination that I can’t get enough of.

fresh lime corn salad

My inspiration for the corn salad comes from my chipotle corn salad in Everyday Dinners. If you haven’t had that recipe before – oh my gosh. Go get the book right now! I serve it with a grilled pork tenderloin and it is serious perfection. Everyone loves it. 

Since we have hot honey chicken, I didn’t want to make the chipotle version of the corn salad that’s in the book. So I took a few liberties with my own recipe and made a lime corn salad. It’s still just as delicious with lots of citrus, complements the spicy hot chicken so well and is easy enough to toss together while the chicken is on the grill.

corn salad up close

That’s the best kind of meal! It feels fancy, satisfying and “complete,” but you can prep the side while the main cooks and things are super simple that way all around. 

grilled hot honey chicken with lime corn salad

We love this meal for leftovers – it is just as delicious the next day. It’s also a great one to meal prep for a few days too. I’ve done that for Eddie with this recipe and the flavor is all there.

You can even toss everything together for an extra spicy, warm, sweet crunch.

grilled hot honey chicken with lime corn salad

This checks all the summer meal boxes and I am here for it!

(more…)

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Pesto, Peach and Prosciutto Pizza.

This pesto peach pizza is seriously divine! Made on the grill, it has burrata and thinly sliced prosciutto on top, lots of parmesan and fresh herbs. Perfect for a summer pizza. This pizza has all the Ps. Pesto, peach, prosciutto… all on pizza! I don’t know if it can get more delicious than this. I […]

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This pesto peach pizza is seriously divine! Made on the grill, it has burrata and thinly sliced prosciutto on top, lots of parmesan and fresh herbs. Perfect for a summer pizza.

This pizza has all the Ps.

pesto peach pizza with prosciutto and burrata

Pesto, peach, prosciutto… all on pizza! I don’t know if it can get more delicious than this.

pesto peach pizza with prosciutto and burrata

I love peaches on pizza so much. They are unexpected but complement nearly anything else you can add: all sorts of cheese, herbs, tomatoes, even chicken or other vegetables. You don’t THINK you will enjoy peaches on pizza and then you have said pizza and can’t believe you went so long without the combo. 

pesto peach pizza with prosciutto and burrata

Of course, this is not the first time I put peaches on your pizza! A few years ago I made this peach and corn pizza and it is truly divine. One of the best summer pizzas you can make. I’ve also done a peach ricotta pizza with microgreens. Serious yum. 

So now, you have three summer peach pizzas to make! How to choose… 

pesto peach pizza with prosciutto and burrata

Peaches and pesto go together like PB and J. So herby, so fresh, so sweet – the combination is delicious any way that you serve it. On salad, in a sandwich, as an appetizer and obviously pizza. Cannot get enough over here. 

Which reminds me – I need a post of just my classic pesto recipe! It is the absolute best. I make it every week and we use it on EVERYTHING. Nothing is off limits. 

Now that doesn’t mean you have to use a traditional pesto here, even though I do love the basil and peach combination. You can use any pesto you make at home or buy. Kale pesto, pistachio pesto, arugula pesto – truly anything.

pesto peach pizza with prosciutto and burrata

We already know the pizza has three P’s – pesto, peaches and prosciutto.

What I haven’t told you yet is that it also has burrata! Oh YES.

As if this pizza could get any better? I mean burrata is one of the highlights here. 

And the entire pizza is grilled, which gives it a crispy, chewy crust and lots of charred and smoky flavor. 

This is divine. 

pesto peach pizza with prosciutto and burrata

When it comes to grilling pizza, the key is to move FAST. I almost exclusively grill our pizzas in the summer. Otherwise I use the ooni pizza oven.

When I prep the pizza for the grill, I have everything ready to go. In this case, I thinly slice my peaches. I pull the burrata cheese apart and have it on a plate so I can quickly transfer it to the dough. I have my pesto out with a spoon and spatula.

Moving fast is important so the dough transfers easily from the peel to the grill. Have all the things ready to go and you’ll have grilled pizza success. (more…)

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Crispy Pistachio Chicken with Zucchini Ribbon Salad.

This pistachio crusted chicken is super crisp and juicy with a nutty and rich breading. Serve alongside a zucchini ribbon salad that has lots of fresh lemon and parmesan cheese. It’s a match made in heaven! Welcome to one the most made meals in my kitchen. This crispy, nutty chicken is so buttery and rich, […]

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This pistachio crusted chicken is super crisp and juicy with a nutty and rich breading. Serve alongside a zucchini ribbon salad that has lots of fresh lemon and parmesan cheese. It’s a match made in heaven!

Welcome to one the most made meals in my kitchen.

pistachio crusted chicken with zucchini ribbon salad

This crispy, nutty chicken is so buttery and rich, so crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. It’s served with a zucchini ribbon salad, marinated in a lovely little vinaigrette with lots of shaved parmesan and is the most perfect complement to the crispy crunchy chicken.

I can’t get enough.

zucchini ribbons

Seriously, this is one of my dream meals. This is one of those meals that I love to have for lunch or dinner – one that is easy for me to make and one that tastes so darn good.

pistachio crusted chicken

See, another one of the meals I make more than anything is my parmesan crusted chicken with lemon arugula. You may recognize it because it’s also one of YOUR favorites. It’s one of the most popular recipes on the blog!

When I say that that is easily one of our favorite meals – something I make constantly, on repeat – again and again, I am not exaggerating. It’s so simple yet so flavorful, with lots of texture and crunch. And at the same time, it feels light and isn’t super heavy if you’re looking for that kind of meal.

Plus it just tastes amazing. 

zucchini ribbon salad

This is similar! Except we’re adding pistachios to our parm. Here we’re doing a pistachio parmesan crust and making a zucchini ribbon salad. These zucchini ribbons remind me of the arugula greens, but also of my shaved asparagus salad from earlier this year.

I have loved the pistachio crusted salmon all year long and knew this side dish would work based on that meal alone. So glad it does.

pistachio crusted chicken

An easy vinaigrette, parmesan cheese, lots of salt and pepper – oooooh. That is what we pour on our zucchini ribbons and they take a little soak before serving. I don’t even understand how these simple ingredients come together to create something so delicious, but they sure do.

The zucchini basically marinates in the dressing and the ribbons are so thinly sliced – they will almost melt in your mouth. Lots of lemon is the key here as it brings so much refreshing flavor and bite. 

zucchini ribbon salad

I also love to use my parmesan vinaigrette here. Adding some freshly grated cheese to the dressing itself gives a rich and decadent flavor, which works so well on the raw zucchini. Of course, you can always add MORE parm to the zucchini ribbons. Are we even friends if you don’t?! 

These tangy, lemony zucchini ribbons are the perfect side to the crunchy chicken. The salad is cool and refreshing and bright; the chicken is warm and crunchy and buttery.  (more…)

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Grilled Chicken Summer Rice Bowls.

We love these grilled chicken rice bowls! The chicken is juicy and flavorful, marinaed in cilantro lime dressing. The bowl is filled with corn, tomatoes, avocado and pickled onions. Super easy and leftovers are great! Nothing beats a good summer bowl. My grilled chicken rice bowls are what I make on Sundays or Mondays when […]

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We love these grilled chicken rice bowls! The chicken is juicy and flavorful, marinaed in cilantro lime dressing. The bowl is filled with corn, tomatoes, avocado and pickled onions. Super easy and leftovers are great!

Nothing beats a good summer bowl.

grilled chicken summer rice bowls

My grilled chicken rice bowls are what I make on Sundays or Mondays when I have NO idea what else to make. Marinated grilled chicken, jasmine rice, cilantro lime vinaigrette, juicy tomatoes, corn, pickled onions and avocado. Leftovers are incredible and the elements come together fast – especially if you have a few minutes to chop everything before.

These are a must-make! 

grilled chicken

I have shared so many incredible vinaigrettes with you guys over the years, but I’m often highlighting my absolute favorite ones. Since the recipes for the dressings often make more than you need, I always want to give you another option. Of course – leftovers are always a win. 

But if I make a vinaigrette at the start of the week, I love having two different meals to use with it. It offers so much variety and really elevates my menu for the week, even if the menu is SIMPLE. 

My goal is to highlight how versatile these vinaigrettes can be – whether they are used as marinade, a drizzle, a dressing or a dip!

cilantro lime dressing

That’s what these chicken bowls are all about!

For this recipe, I marinate the chicken in my cilantro lime marinade. It’s one of my favorites – if not my #1. If cilantro lime is NOT your favorite, I have a few other suggestions that work just as well.

You can marinate the chicken in this basil vinaigrette. This raspberry chipotle vinaigrette is also another option. This classic balsamic is a great one to use, and very picky-palate friendly. And finally, a classic apple cider vinegar can’t be beat. That one reminds me of a “house italian” dressing at restaurants, which, yes – are always slightly different but tend to have the same flavor profile. 

The point is, almost any dressing will work. I even love to marinate my chicken in creamy dressings like ranch or blue cheese.

grilled chicken summer rice bowls

My choice for this bowl is usually the cilantro lime vinaigrette. It’s what I’m using here. I love how vibrantly green it is – it makes everything taste so incredibly fresh. And it looks super pretty too!

grilled chicken summer rice bowls

For the bowl itself, I like to cook jasmine rice. It’s so beautifully fragrant and our family’s favorite rice. Then I go to town with toppings!

My usual go-tos are: 

Tomatoes – cherry or diced or whatever you have on hand.

Avocado – it’s so creamy and adds a satisfying element.

Corn – sometimes grilled or even cut straight from the cob! Sweet and crunchy.

Pickled onions – because they are always in my fridge.

Extra dressing – to make the whole bowl pop. 

grilled chicken summer rice bowls

I LOVE the combination here. The hot, grilled chicken. The citrusy, herby vinaigrette. The jasmine rice which is light and chewy. Creamy avocado, crunchy corn, fresh tomatoes and those pickled onions with a tangy bite.  (more…)

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Blackened Chicken Watermelon Salad.

We love this grilled chicken watermelon salad! Blackened grilled chicken, arugula, watermelon, cucumbers, feta and pistachios drizzled in a watermelon vinaigrette. Super delicious for summer! You know how much I love a good summer salad. This blackened chicken salad has so many of favorite things, plus lots of texture, tons of flavor and everything to […]

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We love this grilled chicken watermelon salad! Blackened grilled chicken, arugula, watermelon, cucumbers, feta and pistachios drizzled in a watermelon vinaigrette. Super delicious for summer!

You know how much I love a good summer salad.

blackened chicken watermelon salad

This blackened chicken salad has so many of favorite things, plus lots of texture, tons of flavor and everything to make a fantastic weeknight meal!

blackened chicken

If you have a copy of Everyday Dinners, then you know that there is a grilled chicken watermelon salad in the book. OH MY WORD. This salad guys… the second I started making grilled chicken and watermelon salads? My summer was made.

I photographed that recipe in 2019 and tested it in 2018… meaning I have lots of chicken and watermelon salads under my belt. The combination is so fabulous. It’s the best summer salad because of the smoky, charred chicken paired with the juicy, refreshing watermelon. There are so many things about it that I love!

watermelon vinaigrette

So this isn’t that exact salad. I know. Which may come as a disappointment since I just raved about it. But you can grab the book!

See, the thing is, that last fall, Eddie grabbed some bagged salads at the grocery store for his work lunches. This was in September, so watermelon season was on its way out. But one of the salads that he grabbed had a watermelon vinaigrette. Like a pre-made, bagged watermelon vinaigrette.

I just about died. WHAT! Why hadn’t I been making watermelon vinaigrette all my life?

So that was that, and ever since I’ve been watermelon vinaigrette.

Had to wait until it was in season to share it with you, but it was worth the wait. I promise.

blackened chicken watermelon salad

P.S. if you’re wondering about the dressing in the book version of this recipe – it’s my chili lime vinaigrette which is equally outstanding. A little heat and lime on this salad is also perfect.

But back to TODAY’s watermelon chicken salad.

I like to do a blackened chicken on the grill because it’s very flavorful and one way I adore eating chicken. I will sometimes double this chicken and grill it, chop it, then store in the fridge for salads, quesadillas and even a quick clean-out-the-fridge pasta.

blackened chicken watermelon salad

Here is what makes this salad unique!

  • Arugula. Crispy, peppery arugula as the base. It may be my favorite green? I love the bite so much. Of course – use whatever lettuce you like here. Kale would be good, you just need to massage it first. Butter lettuce, romance, anything! 
  • The blackened chicken – preferably warm. It doesn’t have to be but have you had warm grilled chicken on a cold, crisp salad? It’s so darn good. 
  • Watermelon! Of course.
  • Cucumbers too! I like the savory, icy, refreshing coolness of the cucumbers in this salad. Also gives a tiny crunch here. 
  • Feta cheese. I like it crumbled. You could also do goat cheese or even cheddar here. However, the feta + watermelon combo is a classic.
  • Pistachios! Live for a super crunch here. Any nut works but the pistachio is so buttery, nutty and it doesn’t hurt with a pretty pop of green.
  • Finally, the watermelon vinaigrette. Um, it’s freaking amazing. 

blackened chicken watermelon salad

This vinaigrette is simple. I highly suggest getting a nutribullet and using it for dressings. It’s what I use it for 95% of the time! 

I throw some watermelon cubes in the nutribullet. Any blender will work. No extra liquid needed because the melon is so water packed. I blend it up, then I strain it through a fine mesh strainer (a tiny one like this) to remove the pulp. 

Once I have the watermelon juice, I measure out about ¼ cup. You can drink the rest! It’s delicious. Also use it in cocktails, omg. 

Then a classic vinaigrette happens here! Some red wine vinegar, a drop of honey, a little garlic, some olive oil. The dressing may have this crazy orange tint to it once it is emulsified. If you’re just whisking the dressing, it may never turn this color completely – but if you use a blender to bring the vinaigrette together, it will. Still tastes the same and is practically drinkable. (more…)

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Easy Avocado Pesto Pasta.

We love this avocado pesto pasta! The pesto is made with basil, toasted pine nuts, ripe avocado, pecorino romano and a hint of lemon. It is so summery and delicious, and absolutely wonderful tossed with hot pasta. We live for pesto in our house! This avocado pesto pasta is the perfect weeknight meal – whether […]

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We love this avocado pesto pasta! The pesto is made with basil, toasted pine nuts, ripe avocado, pecorino romano and a hint of lemon. It is so summery and delicious, and absolutely wonderful tossed with hot pasta.

We live for pesto in our house!

avocado pesto pasta

This avocado pesto pasta is the perfect weeknight meal – whether it’s your main dish or side dish. The avocado pesto is so incredibly creamy and coats the hot bucatini until you have green silky strands of pasta. Tastes wonderfully nutty, cheesy, creamy, refreshing and like a big bite of summer.

That’s the best kind of meal.

making avocado pesto

I didn’t grow up eating pesto as a kid and it took me quite a while to get into it. These days, I have my kids completely obsessed with pesto – any and all versions. Max eats it on rotini, Emilia loves to make it with me and Jordan is just venturing into his pesto pasta obsession. 

It’s one of Eddie’s favorite side dishes and something I will throw together when I only have a few minutes. It’s just so super simple but packs so much flavor.

avocado pesto in a food processor

During the warmer months, I like to have pesto in the fridge. Any variety!

We use it for garlic bread, spread it on chicken or steak, toss it in pasta like this or even use it as a dip or drizzle for grilled vegetables. It’s so incredibly versatile and reminds me of sunshine and those light, refreshing dinners on the patio. 

bucatini topped with pesto in a pot

This recipe combines a mix of my classic basil pesto with perfectly ripe avocados. I’ve done an avocado pesto before, with this steak and corn. It is very similar except that one uses asiago for a sharper punch. 

When I make pesto, I love to go heavy on the toast pine nuts. They bring out my favorite flavor. I also like a lot of garlic and parmesan along with just a pinch of crushed red pepper for heat.  

bucatini pesto in a pot

Adding avocado to this pesto makes it extra creamy. It’s richer and hugs the pasta more than usual, thanks to the smooth avocado. I also just absolutely love the flavor. It does not a have a heavy avocado taste.

Eddie doesn’t love avocado, but in the pesto it doesn’t bother him at all. In fact, he had no idea this was filled with avocado until I told him… AFTER the meal of course. 

avocado pesto pasta

I love this as the main meal in summer. Top it with lots of cheese, fresh basil leaves and a little spritz of lemon. It is such summer perfection.

avocado pesto pasta

One of simplest pleasures right now is a plate of pesto pasta, a chilled glass of white wine, some light music and a summer sunset. It doesn’t get better! (more…)

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