Grilled Chicken, Pear, and Avocado Toasts

Grilled Chicken, Pear, and Avocado Toasts SM

This recipe takes two of everyone’s favorite things, pears and avocados, and combines them to create a beautiful and satisfying meal or snack. A nice alternative to a mayonnaise-based chicken salad, this recipe uses mashed avocado and lemon to bring the ingredients together. Enjoy these open-faced sandwiches for lunch or divide the topping between slices of toasted baguette and arrange them on a platter for an elegant appetizer.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
1 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 large or 2 small avocados
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 firm ripe USA Pears, such as Bartlett, thinly sliced
6 – 8 slices artisan bread, toasted
Micro greens, for garnish

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Drizzle the chicken breasts with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Once the grill is hot, cook the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and allow to cool slightly. Take half of the avocado (either one small or half of the large) and place in a large bowl with the lemon juice. Mash with the back of a fork until smooth, and season with salt and pepper. Dice the remaining avocado and the chicken breasts and add to the bowl and stir to combine. Lastly, add the sliced celery and pears and toss gently. Toast the bread lightly. Top each slice of toast with about one-eighth of the chicken and pear mixture. Arrange the open-faced sandwiches on a platter. Drizzle each one with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and top with micro greens for garnish.

yield: Serves 8
prep time: 10 mins
cook time: 10 mins

Boston and Bresaola Salad

Last week, I shared a great article on pears by food writer Mark Bittman. He’s famous for his fresh, simple approach to whole foods, and this roundup of ten (!) pear salad recipes are just that: novel in their fresh interpretations and reassuringly simple. Best of all, in my handicapped opinion, they’re mostly free of strong cheeses. While that ingredient seals the deal for most foodies, my tastebuds disagree vehemently, so I’m always looking for a different savory spin on pear salads.

I love these seasonal recipes so much I’ve decided to re-create them in my own kitchen. Recipe inspiration for you, delicious lunch for me! First up: Boston and Bresaola.

I admit I had to look up bresaola. It’s a salted, air-cured beef. I couldn’t find any at my local grocer, so I used prosciutto, per Bittman’s suggestion. Combined with buttery quarters of avocado, sweet slices of Bosc pear, and a simple vinaigrette (made with apple cider vinegar, in my case), the prosciutto lent the perfect savory touch to this simple salad.

Fall for Pears!

Fall is here, which means school is back in session! I remember school lunch when I was in elementary school, and have especially fond memories of my mom packing lunch for me. When I brought lunch I would usually have a sandwich, milk, a piece of fruit, and a treat, such as two small cookies. Although school lunch is being overhauled this year to increase fruits and vegetables and decrease unhealthful fats and sodium, what happened to simple brown bag lunches? Lunch was always my favorite part of the school day! I looked forward to lunch, to eating with good friends and having a break to refresh and recharge.

I think we should focus on getting back to basics at lunch. Instead of snack foods packed with refined grains and sugar, pick a fruit that will help your child stay satisfied and energized through the school day. This fall, fall for pears! Whether it’s a side for lunch, part of breakfast or a snack, pears are the perfect, packable, pick-me-up that your child will love.

What’s on Your Plate?

Yesterday marked the first-ever National “What’s on Your Plate?” Day, a fitting time to reflect upon whether your meals match the MyPlate recommendations…especially now that it’s a few months after the fresh start of the new year. So, what’s on your plate? Whole foods, like protein, veggies and fruit? Or quick and easy, but processed food?

Here’s what was on my plate at lunch today:

Leftover ham, carrots and jicama, and an Anjou pear. To me, it’s important that I fuel my body with protein and fresh foods so I can stay alert and energetic during my work week and maintain strength and endurance in my weekly workouts. What’s on YOUR plate? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!

Love your lunch.

I’m quite proud of my capability to pack a lunch for work every day. Aside from a stint when I first moved back to Oregon and spent my time bouncing between Chipotle and Nordstrom Café for lunch, I make my best effort to brown-bag it to work. It’s cheaper. It’s healthier. It feels better!

Needless to say, pears star regularly in my homemade lunches. Here are my top five ways to make your lunch better – with USA Pears:

  • Pack ‘em up. When I have a ripe Anjou pear at home, I bring it to work in a pear packer (to protect it from bruises, of course). At lunch time, I slice it up and slather it liberally with almond butter. Yum.
  • Perk up your tuna salad. One of my go-to lunch recipes is a fresh, homemade Tuna Waldorf Salad, created by my friend Melissa. Her original recipe calls for a diced apple (a Granny Smith is a lovely choice), but when I’m looking for something sweeter to provide contrast to the crunch of the nuts and the lemony mayo, a Bosc pear works wonders. You can even make it fancy by serving spoonfuls of salad on top of circular pear slices. Oh, yeah.
  • Slice them over a salad. You know the combo – fresh greens, some spiced nuts, maybe some pungent crumbly feta or gorgonzola (but not if you’re cheese-averse like me), dressed with some slightly sweet vinaigrette.
  • Slurp down some pear sauce! Yes, it is the lesser known relative of applesauce. And it’s delicious. I’ll be sharing my super-simple recipe for Bosc Pear Sauce in a few weeks. In the meantime, check out our friend Brook’s Cinnamon Pear Sauce (or for a wintry spin, the gorgeous Bosc Pear Cranberry Orange Sauce).
  • Treat yo’ self. Although I never save any of my dessert for lunch the next day, it would be nice. One of my favorite (and totally easy) treats is to slice a Bosc pear, sauté it in coconut oil, and sprinkle it liberally with cinnamon. I put it in a bowl and add some cold almond (or coconut) milk. Oh, so good! Another appetizing option? Pack part of a dark chocolate bar in your lunch box and enjoy with ripe pear slices.