The perfect summertime blueberry corn chicken salad with fresh blueberries, grilled corn, shredded chicken, roasted pecans and a maple balsamic dressing.
Y’all – this antioxidant rich, immune boosting baby is loaded with heart healthy, brain powering, and gut nourishing ingredients. Talk about a superfood salad fit for a queen!! Comprised of seasonal fruits and veggies, healthy fats, protein, and a light maple vinaigrette, this colorful meal-sized salad is not only beautiful on the table, but a wellness package in disguise.
We hear health buzzwords thrown around all the time, but do you actually know what they mean? Let’s break down this superfood salad so we can see where it get its power.
Antioxidants prevent or reduce free radical damage to our cells that can cause inflammation and contribute to the formation of various long-term ailments (infections, diseases, and cancer). Phenols – a family of antioxidants found in blueberries, pecans, and maple syrup – are known as “neuro-protective agents” and are tasked specifically with defending our brains against degeneration. Pecans contain the mineral copper which is also essential for good brain function, while the phenols found in blueberries and maple syrup are natural anti-agers. As if I needed another excuse to add these gems to everything from my morning oats to my evening sweet treats!
Immunity is the ability to defend our bodies from toxins and infection, which is managed by our greater immune system. Beyond our genetics, our lifestyles play a key role in the strength or weakness of this system. Poor diet, lack of sleep, little exercise, and chronic stress decrease our immunity by straining our internal organs. The good news? Maple syrup contains two essential nutrients, zinc and manganese, which can help boost your immune system. Zinc keeps your level of white blood cells up, which is crucial for increasing your resistance to sickness. Manganese, found in both syrup and pecans, protects immune cells from inflammation and damage. #winning
Heart healthy is something I see slapped on processed snack packages all over the grocery store, which has muddied the waters on what a beneficial food to this organ actually means. Foods that aid in lowering your blood pressure, or keep your cholesterol in line promote heart optimization and are therefore considered favorable. The problem is that not all of these foods contain valuable nutrients or whole ingredients, but don’t get me started on this. Pecans are considered cholesterol-lowering foods (as are most nuts), while blueberries have been shown to decrease bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, and lower blood pressure naturally!
Prebiotics are the current hot topic in the ever-developing area of our gut microbiome. Most of you probably have heard of probiotics by know, which are the beneficial bacteria that live within our digestive system. Prebiotics, however, are the non-digestible food sources that the probiotics use as fuel. Maple syrup contains the prebiotic inulin, and recent studies have shown wild blueberries have prebiotic potential as well. Blueberries are also a natural source of soluble and insoluble fiber, similar to the fiber found in pecans, which helps keep you regular if you catch my drift. Read more about new research exploring the benefits of maple syrup here.
Alright, so now we know why this blueberry corn chicken salad is super nourishing, let’s eat because the combo is absolutely delicious. As a self-proclaimed sweet corn lover I can’t get enough of it.
I highly recommend trying this recipe ASAP as it’s perfect while fresh corn and blueberries are in season, and makes an easy dinner if you have leftover grilled chicken or corn from a summertime weekend cookout. Aligning our bodies with the season elevates our energy levels, so consuming more raw, hydrating, and cooling foods is key! Feel free to get creative in the kitchen and add your own toppings to the salad. Avocado, goat cheese, or pepitas would be great additions.
Blueberry, Corn and Chicken Salad with Maple Dressing
- 1 large container of spring mix or baby greens
- 12 oz grilled and shredded chicken
- 1 cup corn (fresh, frozen that's been thawed or leftover grilled corn cut off the cob)
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup raw pecans
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Maple Balsamic Dressing
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and pepper
- Roast pecans: Pre-heat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add pecans to the sheet and toss with maple syrup and sea salt. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, toss and allow to cool completely. This step can be done a day in advance.
- Prepare dressing: Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Prep onions: Heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat in a medium sauté pan. Add diced onions and cook until translucent and starting to brown, about 7-8 minutes. If you’re using raw or thawed corn, you can add it to the sauté pan with the onion for extra flavor. If you’re using leftover grilled corn, there’s no need to add it.
- Prep salads: Grab 3-4 plates and load on salad ingredients starting with a base of greens, shredded chicken, corn, onion, blueberries and maple roasted pecans. Serve with maple balsamic dressing, allowing everyone to add as much or as a little as they'd like. Store any leftover dressing in the fridge for later.