I am so in love with nut salsas at the moment. Especially this Parsley Walnut Salsa.
I just adore how you can make a fresh sauce with the beautiful crunch of roast nuts. So it becomes both sauce and textural interest.
I also love that they’re super quick to make. Just chop some herbs and nuts while you’re cooking the rest of the dinner. Stir in some nice peppery extra virgin olive oil and either lemon or vinegar.
Yum yum yum!
This Parsley Walnut version is my go-to in the Winter when parsley is pretty much the only soft herb in garden. But it’s delicious any time of year.
It’s beautiful here with moist poached chicken, but like pesto works well with any protein or vegetable.
Quick Chicken with Parsley Walnut Salsa
- 2 chicken breast fillets 400g / 14oz
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley 50g / 2oz
- 1/2 cup roast walnuts 60g / 2.5oz
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 bag baby spinach leaves 150g / 5oz
Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise so they’ll cook quicker. Place chicken in a medium saucepan large enough to fit them in a single layer. Cover with cold salted water and bring to a gentle simmer.
Set your timer and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. You’re aiming for 73C (165F) when tested with a meat thermometer. Or when no longer pink in the middle if you cut through one to test.
While the chicken is cooking, make the salsa. Finely chop the parsley leaves and stems and place in a small bowl. Roughly chop the walnuts and add to the bowl. Stir in oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Taste and season with more salt or more lemon as needed.
When the chicken is cooked remove chicken from the pot with tongs and place in a clean bowl. I usually discard the poaching liquid but you could save it for soup as a light flavoured stock. Allow chicken to cool for a few minutes .
Using clean fingers or two forks, shred chicken into bite sized chunks. Toss chicken in the salsa and divide between 2 plates. Serve with baby spinach leaves on the side.
NET CARBS: 13g / serve
Variations & Substitutions
short on time – pan frying the chicken will save you a few minutes.
nut-free – the salsa is gorgeous with green or black olives instead of the walnuts. Or use pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds.
more substantial (carb lovers) – toss in cooked pasta or rice.
more substantial (low carb) – extra chicken, extra walnuts, avocado other nuts. Or cooked low carb veg.
different herbs – coriander (cilantro), basil, oregano (use less), mint or a mix of any of these.
different nuts – amazing with pistachios, pine nuts, almonds, macadamias or even pecans.
different vegetables – feel free to replace the baby spinach with any cooked or raw veg.
different protein – the salsa is gorgeous with steak, roast chicken, lamb chops, pork chops, sausages or any of the vegetarian protein options listed above.
more fancy / for entertaining – serve with a more substantial salad like my Reliable Cabbage Salad.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
chicken breast fillets – freeze them.
parsley – will keep in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag for a few weeks. Can be frozen or make a parsley oil by packing the leaves into a clean jar and covering with extra virgin olive oil.
roast walnuts / extra virgin olive oil – keep them in the pantry.
lemon – whole lemon will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.
baby spinach – either freeze or wilt down in a pan with a little oil and then keep in the fridge for weeks.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – more salt! Or more lemon.
too dry – overcooked chicken. Next time get it out earlier or use a more gentle simmer. For now a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil will help.
soggy walnuts – it’s important to serve the salsa within 15 minutes of adding the nuts to the oil and lemon. For now adding more nuts can liven things up.
Yes! Just cook the chicken as per the recipe. Make the salsa at the last minute or no more than 15 minutes ahead. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a week or can be frozen. Don’t freeze the baby spinach.
Recipes Similar to Quick Chicken with Parsley Walnut Salsa
- Chilli Chicken Tahini Sauce
- Walnut + Brown Butter Omelette
- Lemon Basil Roast Chicken
- Amrita’s Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Salsa
- Hearty Walnut, Kale & Goats Cheese Frittata
Have fun in the kitchen!