Thursday, September 27, 2012

Calendula, Chicken and Avocado Salad

Calendula officinalis is used in traditional western herbal medicine to increase wound healing, soothe inflamed skin and improve lymphatic congestion.  Containing high amounts of flavonoids, calendula extracts have been used for medicinal purposes since at least the 12th century for acne, ulcers and insect bites.  It’s petals are also commonly added to herbal tea blends to soothe the digestive system. 

In the culinary world calendula makes a beautiful colorful addition to salads, adding a subtle bittersweet flavor.

Calendula is also known as pot marigold but should not be confused with other plants that are also known as marigolds, such as corn marigold, desert marigold, or marsh marigold or plants of the genus Tagetes. 
Salad Ingredients
(Makes 4 servings)

1 large skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 cups baby rocket
1 blood orange peeled and sectioned
1 grapefruit peeled and sectioned
1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
petals from 6 calendula officinalis flowers
1 avocado – quartered, peeled, sliced

Dressing (Makes 1 cup)

1/2 cup blood orange juice
2 Tbsp tahini
petals from one calendula flower
1 Tbsp honey
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon chives


Serve a bed of rocket and avocado on each plate. Top with shredded chicken orange and grapefruit sections and radish sprouts, creating as much height as possible on the plate. Sprinkle the calendula petals and drizzle with dressing.

To make the dressing blend all the ingredients until smooth. The calendula will produce a bright yellow color that is loaded with antioxidants.  Sprinkle over the salad and garnish with a calendula flower.  Enjoy!

Narelle Stegehuis, is a practicing medical herbalist and naturopath specializing in restorative endocrinology for women, with over 14 years clinical experience.  She is both an accomplished writer, editor and technical training advisor for the media.  A recipient of the Australian Naturopathic Excellence Award, Narelle adopts an integrated approach of both medical science and traditional complementary health care principles.