Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chicken Salad

This chicken salad recipe is inspired by our dear family friend, Gayle, who is a great cook!  On vacation last summer, she made a delicious chicken salad with baked chicken, Hellman’s Light Mayonnaise, grapes, celery seed, salt and pepper.  When we got home I immediately set out to make it, but with a few twists.  I wanted a high protein dressing with some healthy fat, so I replaced the mayo with plain, fat-free Greek yogurt mixed with lemon juice, olive oil, and Dijon mustard. (I have to admit, I used to think I hated mustard, but I’ve started to use it in many of the recipes I make for a burst of tangy flavor.  I’ve realized that I was missing out!)  I also wanted to add some more veggies and crunch, and celery proved to be a very yummy addition.  The last change I made was to add walnuts for more healthy fats and more crunch.   

I typically make this with chicken breasts, but most recently made it with thighs, which I actually prefer!  The dark meat is so tender and delicious. 

I like to eat this by itself or make a chicken salad salad, but it would also make a good sandwich I’m sure!

If you can’t eat dairy (I’m thinking of my friend Sara as I write this!), go ahead and use Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise instead of the Greek yogurt dressing, as it is dairy (and gluten) free. 

I've also considered using this Paleo mayonnaise as the dressing but haven't gotten around to it yet.  Leave a comment if you decide to try it.  I'm interested in finding out how it turns out!

Chicken Salad

Inspired by Gayle

2-3 lbs frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast OR boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1-2 cups red seedless grapes, cut in quarters
3-4 celery ribs, diced
¼ c chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
1 c plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
¼ c lemon juice
2 T Dijon mustard (or 2 “big squirts”)
2 T celery seed
1 T freshly ground black pepper (I don't usually measure, I just add a lot!)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place frozen chicken in 13x9 pan and cover with foil.  Bake 25 min, then remove foil and flip chicken over.  Bake 30 min with foil removed.  (Alternatively, use leftover baked chicken, grilled chicken, or rotisserie chicken.  Any kind will work!)  When chicken is cool enough to handle, trim any fatty pieces or tendons and chop chicken into small, uniform pieces and put into a large bowl.  To prepare dressing, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, celery seed, pepper and salt.  Chop up celery, grapes, and nuts; add these to the chicken, then pour dressing on top.  Stir everything together.  Refrigerate.  Makes 4-6 servings.

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