I don’t know about you but I am fan of tomato, basil, and mozzarella with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. It is a great side dish but it is even better incorporated into a main dish, such as my Chicken Caprese Salad. This is a simple dish to make after a long day. I like this dish because it contains a variety of nutrients making it a well balanced meal. A balanced meal includes complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fat.
For this recipe, you can make your own chicken or pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Chicken is considered a lean protein because it is low in saturated fat. Saturated fat contributes to heart disease therefore no more than 10% of your calories should come from saturated fats. Foods containing saturated fat include butter, dairy products, and red meat. Avocado provides heart healthy monounsaturated fat and fat soluble vitamins. These are your healthy fats that should make up 20-35% of your caloric intake each day. Monounsaturated fats reduce the risk of heart disease and help lower bad cholesterol.
Tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants including Vitamins C and A. Romaine lettuce is only 8 calories per cup and provides Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Folate. I love romaine for this entree because it is crisp and refreshing. The downside of romaine is that it only provides 1-2 grams of fiber per cup. If you prefer a fiber-rich lettuce choose a dark leafy green, such as kale or spinach. You can also mix dark leafy greens with romaine to provide a little variety. Basil is another nutrient dense food providing Vitamin K, Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, and Folate. You are getting healthy now!!
Now, you may be asking about the mozzarella cheese. Cheese is the #1 source of saturated fat in the American diet so it is important to have it in moderation. Hard cheese, such as Cheddar cheese contains more fat than softer cheese, such as mozzarella. One ounce of mozzarella cheese contains 72 calories, 7 grams of protein, and 4.5 grams of total fat (3 of the 4.5 grams are saturated fat). As compared to 1 ounce of cheddar cheese containing 116 calories, 7 grams of protein, and 9 (6 of the 9 grams are saturated fat) grams of fat. Therefore, if you are going to enjoy cheese, mozzarella is the wiser choice.
As you can see, this dinner salad includes a wide variety of nutrients and is a good source of lean protein. The Chicken Caprese Salad is a perfect balanced meal any night of the week. Enjoy!
Chicken Caprese Salad
- 1 rotisserie chicken chicken removed from bones
- 5 cups Romaine Lettuce washed and chopped
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup mini mozzerlla balls
- 1/4 cup basil leaves thinly sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 15 ounce can Butter Beans drained and rinsed
- Cut the chicken into strips or bite size pieces
- Combine lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella, butter beans, and basil. Toss to combine. Add avocado and gently combine into salad. Top with chicken and drizzle with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette.