Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

My three-day fruit fast is over, hallelujah! I’m enjoying a chilled coffee (no ice, but frosty cold) as I write this, ahhhh, and will have a toasted bagel soon. The fast was much easier this time than when I did it three years ago. I was frustrated and angry back then; I hated the idea of limiting my diet to fruit. But this time I accepted it gracefully and focused on the positive:

  • This is a great time of year for seasonal fruit.
  • Considering my recent high cholesterol diagnosis, it’s also a good time to get in the habit of eating more fruit every day. Did you see the latest USDA dietary guidelines, My Plate? Fruit should be one quarter of our daily diet.
  • Week 4’s theme is Restoration. The fast is a spring-cleaning of sorts. According to Baron Baptiste, it gives “your metabolic organs a chance to rest and renew themselves.”
  • I work at home so won’t be subjected to as many temptations as I was in my old Sacramento office.

There were some temptations; the smell of Jim’s coffee in the morning was the toughest. However, I surprised myself by volunteering to make Salmon with Sweet & Spicy Rub for Jim’s dinner on Tuesday night. I bought it before I realized I would do the fast. Tuesday is one of my dinner nights and I didn’t want to leave him in the lurch. But he was on his own the other nights while I ate my avocado, tomato, cucumber and red bell pepper salad drizzled with lime juice. Did you know that cucumbers and bell peppers are botanical fruits? I didn’t but I’m glad I discovered that fact; it made dinner much more enjoyable.

But now I’m back to normal life and eating. Will I be able to resist the siren song of jalapeno pretzels? Only time will tell.

Last week I made this healthy dinner salad of grilled chicken, peaches and pecans. I found the original recipe on Whole Foods website. The dressing recipe makes enough for several meals. My ingredient list is a bit vague because you’ll eyeball what you want to put on each dinner plate. I make my dinner salads, cover them with plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator until dinnertime.

We’re hooked on these pickled red onions. They become a vibrant fuchsia color and are fantastic on regular side salads and in sandwiches.

grilled chicken salad recipe peaches pecans

Photo by Liz West

Grilled Georgia Chicken Salad

  • Toasted pecans
  • Peaches, pitted and sliced
  • Red onion, sliced, or pickled red onions (recipe below)
  • Mix of green leaf lettuce, arugula and spinach
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned, grilled and chopped – I use my Superfast Spicy Sweet Chicken
  • Grape tomatoes, halved
  • Cucumbers, sliced
  • Cheese – Muenster, goat, blue/gorgonzola or brie cheese


  • Grill the peaches and red onion.
  • Use mango instead of peaches.
  • Use shrimp instead of chicken.
  • Use almonds instead of pecans.

Peach-Pecan Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped candied ginger (optional)
  • 1 peach, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Purée pecans, vinegar, ginger, peach, 2 to 4 tablespoons water, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Add more water if you’d like a thinner dressing. Press through a fine sieve for a silkier dressing.

Original recipe: Grilled Chicken Salad with Peach-Pecan Vinaigrette, Whole Foods

Pickled Red Onions

  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar (I swapped half with cider vinegar because I was running low on red wine vinegar)
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 really good shots hot sauce
  • 1 red onion, sliced into very thin rings

In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar with water. Stir in salt, sugar and hot sauce. Add the sliced onions and let sit for at least one hour, the longer the better.

4 thoughts on “Grilled Georgia Chicken Salad

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