Healthy Summer Chicken Salad
Salad is something that can easily fall into the realm of boring food. It’s very easy to make the same old salad, with lettuce or cabbage and mayonnaise. But it doesn’t have to be that way; it is actually really easy to make a salad very interesting and different each time. I personally don’t believe that any food should be boring and I am a huge lover of a good old salad. By far it is one of the easiest dishes to make and it’s also one of the few healthy meals that taste amazing. So today I’m keeping it really simple with a gorgeous and healthy chicken salad.
Ladies I think that this recipe will appeal more to you; you can easily incorporate it into your diet; and even if you are not on a specific diet, this is just a really tasty way to get your 5 a day. Honestly it tastes so good you won’t even notice that you are eating healthy; and you can eat some and store the rest in the fridge for another day; but better yet you can literally stuff your face on this salad without any guilt. However, I am not sexist and I know that the men might want to get in on the action too. So; male, female, dieters, non-dieters whatever you are, wherever you are; roll up your sleeves and enjoy this filling and delightful salad.
Now, before we get started, just a little side note; I find that chicken skin has a lot of flavour and I prefer to keep it on; I also don’t discriminate about which piece of the chicken to use in a salad; but, for all of you health freaks, that are super conscious about your weight, please do use skinless chicken breast as specified in the recipe.
Prep and cooking time: 25 mins
Serves 4 people
For the chicken
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves chopped (optional)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp crushed sea salt
- 2 tsp ground pepper
- 4 skinless, chicken breasts, about 140g
For the croutons
- 100g granary/wholemeal bread
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the dressing and salad
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, or other grainy mustard
- 3 tablespoons of good quality mayonnaise
- 2 pinches of crushed sea salt
- 2 pinches of sugar
- Ground pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar/ white wine vinegar
- 1 head of lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
- 25g piece parmesan, grated or shaved
Marinate the chicken – mix the lemon juice, oil, thyme, garlic, paprika and sea salt in a shallow dish. Chop the chicken into small pieces, add to the marinade and coat well; add freshly ground pepper and leave for up to 2 hrs.
Heat the oven to 180 ? C fan /gas mark 6. Cut the bread into rough cubes, for the croutons; spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then brush with olive oil. Bake for about 10 mins until golden and crisp.
Meanwhile, Whisk together the mustard, mayonnaise, salt, sugar, and pepper until combined. Add the vinegar and whisk until smooth.
Heat a non-stick pan until very hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the chicken for about 10 mins, tossing and turning once or twice, until cooked through. Remove from the heat and let it sit on a piece of paper towel for 5 mins, to drain any excess oil – before adding to your salad.
Tear the larger lettuce leaves into 2-3 pieces, but leave the smaller lettuce pieces whole. Put them in a large bowl.
Pour just under half the dressing over the leaves and carefully toss to coat (it’s better to use your hands). Add the croutons and chicken and toss to coat some more. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over and around the salad, finish by sprinkling the parmesan over the top.
Pile the salad onto individual plates, and serve alone, with a fresh and fruity ice cold drink.
You can also serve this to accompany a portion of oven baked chips or if you’re feeling brave; a jacket potato.
Or you can have this salad as a side dish with a main meal; simply don’t add the chicken and only prepare the leaves and dressing, as per the above recipe.
Kanta Temba is a cake maker and decorator. She is also the owner and founder of Kanta Kakes – cake shop.
You can find her work on www.kantakakes.com. Follow her on twitter @KantaKakes and Instagram @KantaTemba.