Strawberries are in season at the moment in Queensland, Australia (my home). Typically I try to limit my fruit intake to a maximum of 1 serve per day and try to stick to berries due to their lower fructose content. The latest research suggests that low levels of fructose when combined with glucose promote lipid storage and expansion of adipose (fat) tissue cells (1)(2). I am not going to go in to detail about fructose metabolism in this post but I plan to in a future post. The point is that too much fruit is not conducive for burning fat, but honestly anything in excess is not good for you (even oxygen and water).
Anyway, I am enjoying the price and the quality of strawberries that are available at the moment so I decided to include a few in a salad. I liked this Balsamic chicken and strawberry salad so much that I made a vegetarian version with chickpeas also. The balsamic vinegar and strawberries pair well together. Both salads are quick, easy, healthy and affordable meals with protein, fibre and an array of vitamins and minerals that could be easily prepared on a weeknight.
Balsamic chicken OR chickpea and strawberry salad
Makes 1 large salad (enough for 2 large serves)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 chicken breast, cubed OR 1 400 gram tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
Lettuce OR kale massaged with a drizzle of olive oil, ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice and salt
1/3 of a red capsicum
3 large strawberries, sliced
½ a 400 gram tin of five bean mix (for Chicken salad)
2 tablespoons of low-fat Greek yoghurt
½ tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
½ tablespoon mustard
Non-stick fry pan
Small mixing bowl
- Add the garlic clove and crumbled stock cube to a non-stick fry pan along with about ¼ of a cup of water. Cook the garlic until it is soft (about 3 – 4 minutes).
- Add in either the chicken breast or chickpeas. For the chicken, cook the chicken until is almost cooked through then turn the heat down to medium-low.
- For the chickpeas, heat the chickpeas through, adding another splash of water, then turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Add in the balsamic vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Finish cooking the chicken OR chickpeas in the vinegar mixture and allow the vinegar to completely reduce.
- Prepare the salad in a salad bowl. Mix the ingredients together for the dressing in a small mixing bowl until well combined.
- Top the salad with either the Balsamic chicken and five bean mix OR chickpeas and drizzle with the salad dressing.
- Legeza B, Balazs Z, & Odermatt A (2014) Fructose promotes the differentiation of 3T3-L1 adipocytes and accelerates lipid metabolism. FEBS letters 588(3):490-496.
- Du L & Heaney AP (2012) Regulation of adipose differentiation by fructose and GluT5. Molecular endocrinology 26(10):1773-1782.