Thursday, December 31, 2015

Healthy Chicken Salad with a little twist

I love chicken salad.  One of my favorite lunches when I was a young woman working in the big city, eating at a lunch counter at Nordstrom, which I could walk to, was this mayo laden chicken salad with almonds served on a bed of lettuce.  I could eat that every day.  I have never been able to duplicate my memory of the taste of that, but I've made many a chicken salad or chicken salad sandwich over the years.

This recipe can be made with chicken or vegetarian Gardein plain vegan chicken strips, which are surprisingly tasty and similar in texture to animal protein.

Instead of fat and egg laden mayo I use Veganese, which is a vegan alternative to mayonnaise.  I use it for all of my mayo needs, even with my occasional meat dishes.  Made from soy, it's less calories and about half the saturated fat as standard Mayo.  It's also packed full of vitamin B13 and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Chicken Salad with Dates and Smoked Bacon

1 cup chicken or "veggie" chicken pieces, cooked and cooled.
4 large (packaged) dates finely chopped (found in the raisin section of the store
4 pieces smoked bacon cooked and roughly chopped
1/3  cup Vegenaise
3 Tablespoons  pecans (optional)
A pinch of Chinese Five Spice Powder (a mix of China cassia cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger and cloves).

 To cook 3-4 chicken breasts for salad or sandwiches that doesn't dry out - cook whole breasts in a oven casserole dish in about 1/4 cup of water seasoned with a couple pinches of  dried  vegetable stock seasoning . Cover tightly with foil and cook at 350 degrees F.  for 35-40 minutes until the internal temperature is 165 F. (a food thermometer is always the way to go). Remove breasts from pan and allow to cool on a plate.  I also sometimes cook them in my rice steamer for 30 minutes to get a really moist chicken breast.

Mix the chicken with the rest of the ingredients and serve immediately on whole grain bread or on a bed of lettuce. If you like it a little creamier, add a couple extra Tablespoons of Vegenaise. Makes 2-3 servings.

Want a vegetarian substitution for the smoked bacon bits? Saute small wispy bits of bread (breadcrumbs on steroids) in olive oil and butter until they begin to brown. Then add a couple shakes of salt and a few shakes of smoked paprika, giving it one last stir, then removing from the heat. They're great on top of casseroles, or au gratin vegetables, and are delicious on a salad or stirred into a chicken salad just before serving. They have that craving cutting combination of crispy and chewy, smokey and salt with the right mouth feel of fat. There's no exact measurements, season to taste.


4 comments:

  1. Chicken salad is my JAM. I am always craving it! My fave way to eat it - on a buttery croissant. I know. I KNOW. So bad for you. Sigh.

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  2. I'll have to check out that vegenaise. How authentic is the taste? How about calories? Never mind, I will Google calories. I am starting (again) in the morning. On to 2016 and that same 10 pounds!

    C

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    1. It's a pretty authentic taste, honestly in sandwiches or burgers I can't tell the difference. I do get the grapeseed oil version of it. It's about 10 calories per tablespoon less.

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  3. I About died when I saw that chicken salad sandwich. I LOVE those sandwiches and I am drooling all over the place. lol
    I have never heard of that but will check it out for sure!!
    Gee....now I want a chicken sandwich :-)

    Diana

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