Chicken salad is one of those great meals that everyone loves and is a perfect crowd pleaser. It is healthy, simple, requires limited ingredients and is extremely versatile. It can help the entire family eat healthier and more nutritious food which in turn can be tastier than any other appetizers. What makes it more appealing is that it can be tweaked according to the seasons. With the fast approaching summers there are a number of varieties of chicken salad one can prepare at home, the easiest being Classic Chicken Salad.
Classic Chicken Salad: A mixture of leafy greens and common vegetables. Lettuce varieties, spinach and/or arugula along with tomato, cucumber, peppers, mushroom, onion, spring onion, carrot , radish, onion, spring onion, blanched beans, cauliflower to the more exotic like peppers, mushroom, olives, capers, broccoli (steamed) can all be used to make this refreshing salad. To build on that add cooked chicken (Whole chicken, curry cut, breasts, thighs, boneless, anything you get from the chilled chicken options available on your local supermarket shelf will work)
For the more motivated times, when you want to be called the ‘Salad Chef’, you can experiment and innovate with your ingredients. Here are some quick master- class recipes for those times.
Thai/Vietnamese salad: minced meat (chicken is perfect) tossed with Asian herbs like basil, coriander, chilies, sliced onions and lime juice.
Hawaiian salad : Keep your choice of greens and vegetables and add to it BBQ chicken and grilled pineapple (Whole chicken, curry cut, breasts, thighs, boneless, anything you get from the chilled chicken options available on your local supermarket shelf will work)
Italian Salad: Marinate Chicken in Balsamic (one can use other flavours of pre-marinated chicken), grill and toss with rocket, tomato chunks, and toasted peanuts with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper
Try twisting classics like a Caesar salad tossed with grilled tangy lemony chicken (any kind of chicken cuts will do). The important hack remains in the freshness of the veggies and the quality of the ice-blasted or pre marinated chicken.
So all you need is a big bowl, lots of greens of your choice, good quality chicken of any cuts and marination and a big spoon to toss and mix them up. Summer could never be better than this.
(The author of this article is popular food writer and consultant Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal)