Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I got off of work today and realized that I was very hungry, and furthermore I was reeaally craving a chicken salad sandwich. What was conflicting with this craving, however, is the fact that I recently started a low-calorie diet and a lot of the flavor in said meal comes from condiments like mayonnaise. Thank goodness I have a few tricks up my sleeves about swapping in healthier ingredients while retaining flavor, and I'm going to share a few with you in today's recipe (recipe makes about 5 cups)!
Firstly, you need chicken! I happen to know where some live ones are, and they say the fresher the better...But I actually had some frozen tenderloins that did just fine! I took 6 frozen tenderloins and put them on a cooking sheet in the oven for about 22 minutes with the temp set at 350 Fahrenheit. While the chicken is baking it's a good time to do most of the prep work for the other ingredients.
I like the sweetness of red bell peppers more so than the watery taste of celery, and celery has no nutritional value, so I nixed it in preference of one whole medium red bell pepper diced finely. Next I diced 1/4 of a red onion as well as 2 thinly sliced green onion stalks. I then took a cup of red grapes and halved them so that their juices would mix better.
Hopefully your chicken should be nice and moist after 22-25 minutes (depending on oven strength) so once it's tender go ahead and place it in a large bowl and place in the refrigerator for ten minutes or until cool enough to handle. Once the tenderloins are manageable go ahead and shred them in the same bowl until they're in bite size morsel.
Now add all your produce ingredients (bell pepper, onions, grapes). I also added 2 tsp of salted sunflower seeds and a few unsalted peanuts I had on hand to substitute the traditional cashew, but virtually any nut or seed will do. I tend to vary my spices each time I make chicken salad, but for this particular batch I added salt and pepper to taste. Then I added 1 tbsp dill, 1 tsp garlic powder, a pinch of paprika and a pinch of celery salt. There's other stuff, but I really add things in the heat of the moment so I can't recall... Experiment and I'm sure you'll find a flavor you enjoy!
All these spices are necessary to replace the calorie heavy-hitter mayonnaise, but we still need a wet ingredient to bind the mixture, so I opted for 1 cup of plain greek yogurt and 2 tsp spicy mustard. Once everything is in the bowl just mix it up until you're happy with the consistency. After that serve it on some toasted bread or in some greens--either way is delicious!
Of any of you make this and have suggestions, improvements or comments I would love to hear them!