The recipe for Italian Chicken Salad is one of those easy, versatile and delicious preparations that can be packed into a cooler for a picnic or scaled up easily to feed a crowd at a potluck supper or barbeque. Nutritious, and low in calories, this dish also makes an elegant luncheon when served with mini pumpkin muffins and strawberry ice cream for dessert.
Start with cooked chicken, and cut or shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Turkey would be tasty also. If you are using fresh tomatoes, be sure they are nice and ripe…no cardboard wanted here! Cut them into small pieces that are easy to eat with a fork. If using cherry tomatoes, slice them in half.
The cucumbers add a nice crunch and green to the mix. Avocados would be a luxurious touch. Sugar snap peas, snow pea pods or freshly shelled peas provide more crunch. Again, the key is to keep the veggie size small enough to eat with just one bite.
When available, I’ve also added white salad turnips, ruby red breakfast radishes, and even asparagus pieces to the mix. Fresh chopped parsley ties the flavors and textures together, and season liberally with chopped, fresh herbs.
To serve, line the plates with greens; think baby spinach, arugula, pak choi, even pea shoots. Portion the salad between the plates, and for a festive garnish, add a nasturtium or pansy blossom.
Italian Chicken Salad
- 1 pound cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup fresh-shelled peas may use frozen
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- salad greens to line the plates
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic or white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs: basil chives, oregano (if dried, use 1 teaspoon)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- 6 nasturtium or pansy blossoms optional
- To prepare the dressing, whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- To prepare the salad: In a large bowl, gently toss the chicken and vegetables with the dressing. Stir in the fresh parsley and season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper. Line six salad plates with salad greens. Portion the salad between the plates, garnish with the flower and serve.