I have some beautiful fresh basil growing right outside my door, and it grows like crazy so, I am going use as much fresh basil as I can!
This recipe was adapted from a recipe from the Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley. It makes a perfect meal with high quality protein, good-for-you fats, and healthy greens loaded with antioxidants and fat burning power.
The dressing contains the fresh herbs, thyme and basil. Thyme and basil contain healthy volatile oils with well-documented health benefits.
The oil in thyme, ‘thymol’ was found to significantly increase the the amount of healthy fats in cell membranes and other cell structures.
When you eat omega 3 fats containing DHA (a very important part of omega 3’s), thyme helps to get those healthy fats right where your body needs them. It even protects brain cells and decreases aging.
So, thyme and omega 3 fats are a winning combination!
Thyme also contains a variety of flavonoids, including apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin. These flavonoids increase thyme’s antioxidant power, and combined with the manganese it contains, put thyme at the top of the list of powerful antioxidants.
Basil actually contains a substance that works like anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen.
The enzyme-inhibiting effect of the eugenol in basil makes it an excellent “anti-inflammatory” food, and adds healing benefits and relief for people with inflammatory health problems like arthritis or inflammatory bowel conditions.
The really interesting thing about both basil and thyme is their ability to kill certain bacteria and fungi. Staphalococcus aureus (staph), Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli (e.coli), and Shigella sonnei are some of the bacteria that these herbs can kill.
Herbs and spices have been used to help preserve foods for thousands of years, and new research shows that both thyme and basil contain these properties.
So you see, it makes very good sense to include thyme and basil in your recipes, especially for foods that are uncooked, such as salads. Adding generous amounts of fresh thyme and basil to your next vinaigrette will not only enhance the flavor of your fresh greens, but will help ensure that your fresh produce is safe to eat. Enjoy!
3 cups chicken stock or water
2 boneless skinless free range chicken breasts
½ lb pencil thin asparagus, cut into 2” pieces
½ cup Nicoise olives, pitted
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 Tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot minced
2 generous tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp or more finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (1 medium lemon)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
In a deep medium-sized saucepan bring the stock or water to a simmer. Add the whole pieces of chicken and simmer for 10-12 minutes until tender. Cool chicken in the liquid, drain and shred the chicken by tearing into long thin pieces with forks. Set aside. Cook the asparagus for 3-4 minutes until tender but crisp. Drain and cool under cold water.
Add olives, tomatoes, capers, basil and pepper to the chicken and stir to combine.
Mix the ingredients for the dressing, and add to the salad mixture. Stir gently to combine. Arrange on a bed of organic baby greens, Bibb lettuce, or romaine lettuce. Garnish with some Parmigiana Reggiano (this is the Italian version of Parmesan cheese; it’s aged and raw-which makes it easier to digest, and way tastier). Using a vegetable peeler, shave a few thin pieces onto the salad.
This salad can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead of time and refrigerated. Add the dressing just prior to serving. Serves 2-4, depending on appetites.
Till next time,
Stay healthy and lean!