Smoked Chicken, Mozzarella and Olive Pesto Salad

Smoked Chicken, Mozzarella and Olive Pesto Salad

Smoked chicken mozzarella olive pesto salad

To say its been a busy few weeks is an understatement. There’s no let up in the weeks ahead either. It hasn’t been all work though. I have been away for our annual cycling pilgrimage to France. This year we visited Bordeaux. What a beautiful place. Most of France is beautiful, but Bordeaux had that big city feel without being imposing. The surrounding countryside is picture perfect villages and grand residences. We stayed at Chateau Cordeillan de Bages (2* Michelin) in Medoc, Hostellerie de Plaisance (1* Michelin) in St Emilion and finally the Grand Hotel Of Bordeaux. All of these hotels were amazing in their own right. As expected the food was, at times, out of this world. The wines, sadly not. I’ll post about the dinners we had in each over my next few posts.

We were cycling about 40-50km per day. While we were there it was a heatwave in Europe. Being 40°c+ on some days. You can imagine how hot it must have been on a bike out in the open. Luckily when we made it home to the UK it was still warm and we were craving something filling, quick and summery at the same time. This salad hit the spot.

It is quite simply a grain of your choice, this time red and white quinoa, with an olive tapenade/pesto folded through it. I smoked my own chicken and then added some torn buffalo mozzarella. Served with a nice chilled white Burgundy, I couldn’t be happier.


  • 200g, any colours Quinoa
  • 200g, mixed colours Olives
  • 30g Basil
  • 30g Parsley
  • 75ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 250g Buffalo Mozzarella
  • 250g Asparagus


  1. Cook the quinoa per packet instructions.
  2. Blitz all the olives, basil, parsley and oil together until a thick paste is made. Add a squeeze of lemon or other acid if its too salty. While the quinoa is still warm add half of this pesto and mix in. Season to taste with a little more pepper.
  3. I have a little stove top smoker at home. The chicken breasts are cooked after 8 minutes in the smoker. If you don't have a smoker, griddling the chicken breasts will have a good effect. Slice on the diagonal into 5 pieces per breast.
  4. Cut the asparagus into tops and bottoms. Blanch for 2 minutes and then into cold water. Cut the thicker stems into 1 inch pieces and add to the quinoa. Slice the tips in half to expose the white interiors.
  5. Finally tear the mozzarella into pieces, scatter over the quinoa with the chicken and asparagus. Drizzle over the remaining dressing.


  1. This sounds amazing. I love salads as meals. The Bordeaux area is beautiful. I’ve visited Stephane from twice, and I’m going back in the fall, although we’re going to the Riviera and Provence with him.

    • Dave Crichton

      Hi Mimi, thanks for the link to Stephane. We must have literally cycled past his place last week. It might be ideal though as we are thinking of going back later in the year. I’ll find a spa for my wife and Stephane and I can go to the market and cook dinner.

  2. Hi there David! I can’t wait to hear more about your trip in France but the 40+ heat does not sound too fun. I have always wondered about the biking/winery tours.. You see you might be okay on your first or maybe even getting to your second winery on bike but I think I might have to finish my trip in a taxi… LOL Gorgeous salad and it is so ironic because I just make an olive pesto for my son this afternoon as we were looking for something different to toss in his pasta. Great minds think alike. Take care, BAM

    • Dave Crichton

      I think we are wired the same BAM. We quite often cook the same thing, then have the same blog template….

      The cycling tour we do, is more about getting from A to B. Reach destination very hungry and thirsty and then get a lot of wine tasting done!

      I’ll explain how it works in the hotel write-ups.

      Take care

  3. I love smoked chicken and your salad sounds wonderful. I’m really looking forward to hearing about your trip.

  4. I am sorry that the wines weren’t up to par, I’ll look forward to reading your upcoming posts as to why. I have never eaten at a Michelin star restaurant but we did take a cooking course in Lyon with a Michelin star chef. Staying at a Michelin star hotel would be amazing too. This salad sounds fantastic, exactly the type of summer food I crave. And good for you both doing the bike tour, that’s not a lightweight distance. I’m not familiar with the topography — is it mainly flat or hilly? I suspect you had some outstanding lunches on the road too. Can’t wait to read about it.

    • Dave Crichton

      I can’t believe you’ve not been to a Michelin starred restaurant, Eva. They are generally so inspiring and such a great event, but expensive.

      Bordeaux is generally flat terrain, the odd incline, so you can keep a good average speed up. Lunches are generally a bag full of pastries. As everything closes at lunchtime in France, going to posh places for dinner in our cycling gear was never too appealing.

  5. Hi David, I know about the heat, we were in Paris at the time. Thank God, I wasn’t riding a bike . I love the Hostellerie de Plaisance .

    • Dave Crichton

      Hi Gerlinde, as hot as it was, being in cycling wear was more acceptable than sweaty day wear.

      When did you visit Plaisance?

  6. We were staying at the Plaisance throughout the nineties and the last time in 2009.

  7. I’m tired just thinking about you cycling 50 miles a day in that heat. My hat’s off to you, Sir!

    I can’t wait to see the meals you had in France but while I wait I’m going to enjoy this gorgeous salad.

  8. How much does this recipe serve of ?

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