Thursday, September 1, 2016

Italian Heirloom Salad with Pickles

     At Whole Foods, Heirloom Tomatoes are a late summer favorite!  This beautiful Italian Heirloom Salad with Pickles exudes freshness, each of the 8 large servings are only 345 calories, 12g net carbs and 28.5g protein.  These funny shaped gems come in a rainbow of colors and are a special addition to a recipe or perfect to be savored on their own with a little sprinkle of salt.  When selecting Heirlooms it's important to note the very thing that makes them taste so great as well as makes them more fragile than most tomatoes.  Here are some quick tips for picking and handling these culinary crowd-pleasers:

1) Only buy enough for a few days!  Heirlooms ripen faster than modern commercial varieties.
2) Pick Heirlooms that are somewhat firm to the touch.  This is more important with the larger varieties but if you buy a soft Heirloom of any size, chances are it's overripe. 
3) Avoid Tomatoes with open splits and cracks.  A Tomato with a large surface area where the stem was attached will likely have a hard area inside that is unusable.
4) Don't refrigerate!  One of the best characteristics of Heirlooms is their texture and like all Tomatoes, prolonged exposure to temperatures below 41 degrees will soften Tomatoes and make them mushy.
5) Keep recipes simple to allow the flavors to shine!  Pair with fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Vinegar or with local Corn.

Ingredients for 8 large servings~
Large Heirloom Tomato, diced and drained on paper towel several hours
2 pounds Grilled Chicken, diced
4 cups mixed Greens
15oz can Garbanzo Beans, drained
English Cucumber (approx 14oz), can sub with regular Cucumber, diced
4oz Feta, crumbled
4 Dill Pickle Spears, diced
3.8oz dry weight sliced Black Olives
Thick slice Purple Onion, diced
2 medium Avocados, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup Italian Vinaigrette BRIANNAS Dressing, plus more for marinade
Salt, to season
Pepper, to season

     Dice and drain Heirloom Tomato on paper towel for several hours, set aside.  Marinate Chicken Breast in BRIANNAS Dressing for a few hours, then grill and dice, set aside.  Meanwhile, add Green to large salad bowl.  Top with diced Chicken, Garbanzo Beans, Cucumber, Feta, Pickles, Black Olives, Onion, and Tomato.  Add sliced Avocado to perimeter of the bowl and drizzle with 1/2 cup of Dressing, season with Salt and Pepper.  Enjoy  :)

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