Grilled chicken salad is my dish of choice for summer. There always seems to be some leftover chicken in the fridge and I love the challenge of coming up with new ways to eat it – depending on what I have on hand. I typically go with Middle Eastern-inspired recipes when I use pargiot, or dark meat cutlets, and I go Asian or Indian with chicken breasts.
The iceberg salad with carrot ginger dressing is my favorite starter at Asian restaurants – it’s just so light and fresh and really the perfect way to start a meal of heavy Chinese food. I’m always picking out the big chunks of iceberg that are wedged into each other, so I decided to make a salad that is all about the wedge!
Traditional wedge salad is smothered in bacon and blue cheese dressing – and aside from the fact that it’s not kosher, I’m not even tempted, because, well….blue cheese. I prefer not to eat food that tastes like stinky socks, you know? But this right here? This is I can get behind. With creamy avocado, peppery radishes and crisp cucumber, you don’t even miss croutons and the dish will leave you feeling light and refreshed – just how I love my summer salads.
Grilled Chicken Wedge Salad
1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into wedges
1 cucumber, spiralized (or thinly sliced)
1 avocado, peeled into ribbons (or cut into chunks)
2 pieces grilled chicken, diced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
carrot ginger dressing (recipe follows)
Arrange all the ingredients on a platter and drizzle with dressing, to taste.
VARIATION: for a vegan salad, grill tofu using the same method as the chicken.
Carrot Ginger Dressing
1/4 c light olive oil
2 tbsp white miso paste (may substitute with tahini paste)
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp honey
1” piece ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
Reunited (with my camera) and it feels SO good! I haven’t picked up my equipment to photograph food since I shot my cookbook months ago and I thought I might be a little rusty but by George I think I’ve still got it!
Shooting food today reminded me just how much I love what I do and I’ve missed it! Recipe development, food photography and food styling give me SO much joy, and I am legit the luckiest girl in the world to get to do it for a living. As a food blogger, it’s easy to get caught up in the world of social media – keeping up with the ever changing algorithms, apps and platforms – you almost forget why you got into it in the first place and coming back after a long break is just so good for the blogger soul.
It’s funny because when my book went to print in March, I took a sigh of relief that my schedule would finally ease up and I’d be able to take a breather, but the exact opposite happened. I had a book launch to plan, interviews, book signings and demos that followed in quick succession. It’s all been a roller coaster ride and I’ve been wanting so badly to come up for some air – until I finally did this week, and you know what I realized? I don’t even know how to relax. So I went back to what I know and that’s food. And my camera. And even though you could look at it as work – it was exactly what I needed. I had no deadline. It wasn’t for a book, or a magazine, or even the blog. It was for me.
The food: cuz lets face it, it’s always about the food! Lemon Sumac Grilled Pargiot to be precise. I’m a total pargiot convert. I can’t go back to dry grilled chicken breasts, they’re just so, blah! But pargiot? – so. darn. tasty. And they never dry out! This lemon sumac version is so light and fresh for summer, with a hint of sweetness from the silan. The perfect marriage.
The chicken is a great topping for the summery fattoush – a fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and fried bread (in this case pita chips). I paired it with a lip-smacking za’atar ranch because that’s just how I roll. This is your new summer salad, and you can thank me later.
Grilled Chicken Fattoush
1 head romaine lettuce, sliced
1 Persian cucumber, sliced
4 radishes, sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
lemon sumac grilled pargiot (recipe follows), sliced
Za’atar Ranch Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (loosely packed)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp za’atar
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Prepare the za’atar ranch: add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until smooth.
Spread the lettuce out on a platter. Top with cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, grilled chicken and pita chips. Mix with dressing before serving.
Lemon Sumac Grilled Pargiot
4 pargiot (skinless dark meat chicken cutlets)
2 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
1 tbsp silan
1 tsp sumac
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat grill to high. In a bowl, combine the chicken with remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Grill for 5-8 minutes per side.
Life with five kids has thrown me for a loop. They always say #3 is hard, maybe #4 too. But #5? I’m ex.hau.sted. Baby girl is still 3 months old, so I know we’re still in that needy (ie. nursing every 3 hours) stage, but man, it’s tough! I still won’t give up blogging though, because after five years of creating and sharing, it’s become so much a part of me. You guys, are part of the family.
Thank G-d for some stored posts that never made it to blog like this farro grain bowl. I don’t know why it’s been sitting in my archived photos for so long because dang is it beautiful. And oh so tasty! I’m all about grain bowls right now. Ok I’m all about any food really (breastfeeding!!), but there’s something about being able to throw in a little of this and a little of that to create something so satisfying.
I’m a huge fan of grain bowls because there are endless options, and it’s basically just an excuse to throw a bunch of leftovers into a big dish and call it fancy! I’ve started to make them for lunch a lot, using whatever leftovers I have in the fridge. I can usually find some quinoa (I like to cook it up in the beginning of the week so I can add it to salads, yogurt and mains) or leftover rice and I pretty much always have some cooked chicken on hand. There’s also plenty of veggies to choose from, plus some hard boiled eggs, cheese, and roasted beets. So basically I’ve got my grain bowls made, I have to just make ’em!
So, how do you build a grain bowl? Well, you can try and stick to a specific cuisine (like this Middle Eastern inspired bowl) or you can keep things simple. Just follow this basic outline:
I probably would have added some sauteed beet greens to this bowl, if I had had them, but the flavors were amazing and went together really well. The chewy farro, sweet beets, smoky chicken, crispy chickpeas and crunchy pomegranate seeds really complemented each other – both in texture and flavor. Of course the tahini didn’t hurt either, and the pomegranate molasses just put it over the top.
Thinking about making your own grain bowl? Here are some other fun combinations!
Have you ever made a grain bowl, or seen one you like? Share the combo with me in the comments below! I love to get inspired with new combinations!
Farro Grain Bowls
1 cup farro
spice-grilled chicken (recipe follows)
2 medium purple beets
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
fresh parsley, for garnish
tahini (recipe follows)
To make the farro, rinse well and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover the grains. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Drain.
While the farro is cooking, wrap each beet individually in foil (do not peel) and roast at 400 degrees until fork-tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the beets to cool (do not remove the foil). Once cooled, unwrap the beets and use your hands to remove the peel, it will slide off. Cut the beets into small pieces.
While the beets are cooking, toss the chickpeas with cumin, olive oil and salt and roast it in the oven alongside the beets, shaking the pan every 15 minutes or so. Roast until crispy, about 45 minutes.
To serve, divide the farro between four bowls. Slice grilled chicken and add to each bowl. Add beets, pomegranate seeds and chickpeas among the bowls and drizzle each bowl with tahini and pomegranate molasses. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
Spice Grilled Chicken
4 dark meat chicken cutlets (pargiot)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Jerusalem grill or shawarma spice (store-bought or make your own)
kosher salt, to taste (if spice mix does not have salt added)
Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag with olive oil and spices and mix until well-coated. Marinate for 30 minutes (or overnight). Grill for about 6-8 minutes per side, until cooked through. Alternatively, broil the chicken under high heat for 6-8 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
1/2 cup tahini paste (stir thoroughly before using, as oil and solids tend to separate)
1/2 cup water
1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/8 tsp cumin
kosher salt, to taste
In a bowl, mix the tahini, water, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, cumin and salt. Whisk until emulsified.
It was one of those nights, after many days of eating the wrong foods (read: fried, takeout, you-name-it), when I decided I needed to eat a salad for dinner. Luckily, we always have a stash of oven grilled chicken in the fridge (see my super easy recipe below!), so I just threw together whatever I had in the fridge and pantry and this salad was born. I’ve been making this dressing forever, so that wasn’t exactly an afterthought, but it turned out to be the perfect compliment to the composed salad dish.
If you’re an avid follower of mine, you already know that I post almost everything I eat on Instagram (whenever people stop me in the street to ask me what I’m up to foodwise, I just tell them to follow me there, ‘cuz I post just about everything that goes into my mouth!!), so when I whip together a healthy salad for dinner, I try to plate it up nice and pretty, you know, #eatingfortheinsta. So I fanned out my avocado all fancy and stuff, and the recipe requests poured in. Next thing I know, my inbox is filled with pics of this salad – all composed and perfect, and this recipe-afterthought became an instant sensation.
The dressing is a hit in it’s own right, and lots of readers have told me it’s become a family favorite. So…I finally decided it was time to blog about it! As a recent text message from a reader reminded me, not everyone uses Facebook or Instagram, so I gotta think about the readers that just come here for the good stuff. Rikal, this is for you ;) !
If you’re not a fan of composed salads (salads that have been neatly arranged on a platter, like this), then just go ahead and and mix everything up in a big ‘ole bowl. I promise it’s just as delicious!
Happy Grilling you guys! Check out the links below for lots of other grilled chicken salad recipes that are perfect for summer or when you get that healthy-eating-binge!
Grilled Chicken Salad
1/2 head napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1-2 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 avocado, diced
1/3 cup cashews
handful of golden raisins, optional
2 grilled chicken breasts, thinly sliced (recipe follows)
On a platter, spread out the cabbage. Top with broccoli florets, avocado, cashews, raisins and chicken and drizzle with jalapeno honey mustard dressing.
NOTE: You may use raw broccoli or thawed frozen broccoli and roasted or raw cashews.
Easy Grilled Chicken
2 chicken breasts
Montreal steak seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste (optional, the steak seasoning is salty)
Drizzle olive oil over chicken and sprinkle generously with Montreal steak seasoning. Grill or broil on high for approximately 5-6 minutes per side.(depending on thickness)
Jalapeno Honey Mustard Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup mustard
1 small jalapeno, veins and seeds removed
1 clove garlic
Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
NOTE: You may use dijon or yellow mustard. The dijon will be slightly creamier, while the yellow mustard will have a sharper mustard flavor.