Quick Almond Chicken Salad

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Ingredients [?]

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  • add   mixed salad greens of choice, the freshest available
  • add   3 leaves red cabbage, thinly sliced & cut into bite-size lengths
  • add   1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • add   1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • add   zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • add   1 T fresh grated ginger
  • add   2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • add   1 carrot, grated
  • add   1 cucumber, thinly sliced (remove large seeds if desired)
  • add   1 C sliced mushrooms, mixed varieties if available
  • add   2 C cooked chicken breast (fried chicken is especially good), pulled/diced into bite size pieces
  • add   Chicken Salad:
  • add   dash red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • add   2 cloves garlic, minced, or to taste
  • add   T honey
  • add   2 T reduced sodium soy sauce
  • add   juice of 1 lemon (Meyer, if available)
  • add   1/4 C almond butter (or freshly ground almonds)
  • add   Lemon-Almond Dressing:

Instructions

  1. Make Lemon-Almond Dressing: In a small mixing bowl or blender, add lemon juice gradually to almond butter until a uniform consistency is achieved (may not need all the juice, depending on the yield & tartness of the lemon). Add other ingredients, taste and adjust balance of flavors. Sometimes a tablespoon or so of water is needed to thin the almond butter, if chunky, or to mellow out flavors. Marinate the mushrooms in this dressing while preparing the salad. Also spoon some dressing over the chicken pieces (unless it is fried chicken - you would want to preserve the crispness).Cut all vegetables into bite-size pieces (larger cucumber slices can be cut into half-moons). Leave basil leaves whole if possible (they bruise easily); large ones can be cut crosswise into ribbons.Arrange salad in a bowl or on individual plates, starting with greens & cabbage, then cucumber, carrot, & green onion; sprinkle with ginger & zest. This is an easy make-ahead recipe for picnics, parties, etc, in which case the mushrooms (strained from dressing), basil, chicken, & sliced almonds are added just before serving. But my favorite way to serve it is to keep the toasted almonds warm, heat the chicken (whether fried or marinated), and add them on top of all other ingredients, serving immediately, with almond dressing on the side.