If you are a long term reader of Fuss Free Cooking, I don’t need to tell you how much I love chicken. Since it is salad weather over here in Australia, I have been obsessing with salad. Chicken salad to exact.  To make salad making even more delightful, I had great luck in sourcing local fresh lettuce leaves from my favourite providores of gourmet local food, A Slice of Orange and super sweet grape tomatoes from Harris Farm Market. I get excited over little things in life, like getting my hands on almost freckle free lettuce leaves, as if it is freshly picked from my imaginary garden or the beautiful charred lines of grilled chicken or croutons in salad. Yes, croutons, the crispy tiny gold bread nuggets which bring the crunch and wow factor to a salad.

To further compliment the fresh vegetables, a homemade pesto was in order. As I would love to grill the chicken over a barbeque to give the smoky flavour, I thought I would get the smokiness from somewhere else which came in the form of smoked almonds which brings me to this smoked almond and parsley pesto.

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Smoked Almond & Parsley Pesto

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup smoked & salted almonds
  • 1 fat clove of garlic
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed parsley
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil


In a small processor, process all the above ingredients until finely chopped. Set aside in the fridge while you proceed to make the salad.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Smoked Almond & Parsley Pesto

What you’ll need for 4 servings:-

  • 500g chicken tenderloins
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 slices of bread, hand tear into chunky pieces
  • Olive Oil
  • Mixed lettuce leaves – about 300g
  • A punnet of cherry tomatoes, trimmed and sliced in half
  • Smoked almond & parsley pesto as above


Preheat oven to 200C.

Marinate chicken in salt and pepper. Then brush the chickens with oil and grill them over a griddle on both sides until cooked through.

While waiting for the tenderloins to cook, hand tear the bread slices and place them on a baking paper lined tray. Drizzle some olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for a couple of minutes (about 8 to 10 minutes) until they are golden brown. Keep a watchful eye as it does not take long for the croutons to turn brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Once the chicken tenderloins have finished cooking, let them rest on a plate with aluminum covering over them.  In the meantime, transfer the lettuce leaves onto the serving plate and scatter cherry tomatoes. Dice the grilled chicken and scatter over the lettuce leaves, followed by the croutons. Serve immediately with the homemade pesto.

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