TriathlEats: Pan-Seared Chicken With Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

Served with quinoa, garbanzo beans and tomatoes, this high-protein dish makes a flavorful—and filling!—recovery meal.

Photo: Paulius Musteikis

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Served with quinoa, garbanzo beans and tomatoes, this high-protein dish makes a flavorful—and filling!—recovery meal.

Ingredients for vinaigrette
1 oz white distilled vinegar
2 T honey
Pinch salt and black pepper
1 lemon
6 T olive oil

Ingredients for chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 T olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Ingredients for quinoa
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 T olive oil
Pinch black pepper
½ cup uncooked tri-color quinoa blend
7 oz tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic, diced

Add vinegar, honey and salt and pepper to blender. Using a microplane, zest lemon into the container. Cut zested lemon in half and squeeze half lemon into same container (about 1 tablespoon). Place cover on blender and blend. Partially remove cover and slowly add olive oil to vinegar mixture. Set aside. Toss garbanzo beans with olive oil and black pepper in mixing bowl. Spread beans in a single layer on sheet pan. Turn on broiler and place pan in oven, roasting for 10 minutes. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. When cooked, combine tomatoes and garlic with quinoa and roasted garbanzo beans, then set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat. When oil starts to smoke, add chicken (after seasoning with salt and pepper). Brown one side of chicken for 4 minutes and turn over to brown other side, until internal temperature has reached 165 degrees. Add half of quinoa mixture to plate with one cooked chicken breast on top. Drizzle vinaigrette over chicken and quinoa mixture. Serves 2.

Chef Tips
When adding honey to the blender, coat your measuring spoon in olive oil to prevent the honey from sticking to the spoon.

When zesting the lemon with a microplane, make sure you’re getting only the yellow skin, not the white pith, which will make your vinaigrette taste bitter.

RELATED: Roasted Chicken Made Easy

Meet the Triathlete-chef

As a chef at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Nathan Giesen supervises college students who work in the dining hall and helps with menu development. Giesen always had a passion for cooking growing up—he remembers helping his parents in the kitchen—and he has almost two decades of professional chef experience working in kitchens throughout Wisconsin, Michigan and Colorado. He describes his cooking philosophy as “having fun with it.”

“I like to make it great and put some love into it, as if I’m going to serve it to my family and friends,” he says. Giesen started racing triathlon in 2013 when he signed up for two local sprint triathlons, and, three years later, he’s set the goal of finishing the 2016 Ironman Wisconsin, his first Ironman, in less than 12 hours. He says he loves triathlon not only for the physical challenge, but also for the stress relief from his job and the opportunity to get outside. “Plus it helps me focus on the bigger picture, not the little details in front of me,” he adds.

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