Chicken salad is a lunch staple, and is usually made by mixing canned chicken breast with celery and lots of mayonnaise. Good…. but a tad boring, and definitely not the healthiest choice. But chicken salad can be healthy. And it can be anything but bland! Turn your basic chicken salad on its head with these fun, fast, and flavorful new combinations!
But first things first. Skip the canned chicken loaded with sodium, and make your own using this simple poaching method. Place a few fresh chicken breasts in a shallow Pyrex dish and cover the bottom of the dish with water about an inch or two high. Heat your oven to 350 degrees and bake your chicken until done and no longer pink, around 45 minutes to an hour depending on thickness. This low and slow method combined with the steam from the water will ensure perfectly moist chicken that tastes way better than the canned stuff. Let your chicken cool slightly and the chop, cube, or shred depending on your preference. Store it in the fridge until chilled and you are ready to make your salad. If you are short on time, another great option is to use leftover grilled or roasted chicken.
Chicken Salad Salad
A cool, crisp salad is a great low-carb option, but while you get lots of fresh, fiber-rich veggies, salads often lack protein. And without tons of dressing, they may also lack flavor. Here’s a simple solution you can dig your fork into! Make a zesty chicken salad to top your bowl of greens. Shred your chicken and substitute low-fat plain Greek yogurt for mayo. Greek yogurt is high in protein and calcium, and a great choice for low-carb dieters. Mix in a few pecans, a handful of dried cranberries, and a dash of curry powder and you won’t even miss the salad dressing!
Chicken Waldorf Salad
Combine your chicken with low-fat plain Greek yogurt, chopped red delicious and granny smith apples (skin on), halved red and green grapes, and a handful of walnuts. To prevent browning, toss your apples with a bit if lemon juice first. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve this salad on a whole grain bagel or baguette. Apples are a favorite fall fruit; packed with fiber and vitamin C. Grapes are rich in phytonutrients, including resveratrol that are linked to longevity. And walnuts are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Avocado Chicken Salad
The creamy texture of avocado makes it a delicious and nutritious addition to chicken salad. Avocados are rich in protein, heart-healthy Monounsaturated fat, vitamins and minerals, and dietary fiber. Mash a ripe avocado with ¼ cup of light sour cream, and a squirt of fresh lime juice. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Add your chicken, toss to coat and serve with whole grain crackers or stuffed inside a pita.
Give bland the boot with these easy, healthy twists on the classic chicken salad recipe. For lunch, brunch, or your next get-together, your chicken salad is sure to satisfy!
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