Summer Chicken Salad

I've been in NYC for a little over 3 months now and last week found myself in a situation which called for stepping up my lunch packing game. You see, I've been very irresponsible - hitting up the Sweetgreen, Gi-Gi's, Hale & Hearty, insert standard $12 NY lunch place here, for my workday lunches. $12 here and there doesn't seem so bad but a quick glance at my bank account at the end of the month left me red in the face. Lunch, coffee, snacks... it adds up. Big news, I know. 

                                                                                        You see a cityscape, I see temptations for endless $12 salad. 

                                                                                        You see a cityscape, I see temptations for endless $12 salad. 

Getting engaged inevitably means facing the harsh reality that it's time to start saving for a wedding - you only have a year, every cent counts, and no you can't afford that latte anymore. So, in an effort to stop buying lunch I started going through all my standard salad and wrap recipes (my workday meal of choice) and found myself underwhelmed. There are only so many variations of Greek, Caesar, and kale a girl can eat before she gets a wandering eye. My eye wandered into my fridge where it landed on the remains of a chicken I had roasted. 

                                     Roasted chicken, before it's demise. 

                                     Roasted chicken, before it's demise. 

Confession: I never know what to do with the remains of roasted chicken. Last week I prepared a gorgeous bird, stuffed with lemons and fruit, topped with an array of spices. We ate it for dinner, followed by sandwiches the next day. What was leftover is what is always leftover - not enough for a full meal, but bits and pieces, hanging out in quiet desperation. To fight my lunch time slump and solve my leftover dilemma, I started looking through recipes online which called for small amounts of chicken. So my goal became two fold, figure out a new meal for lunch and start a collection of recipes for leftover roasted chicken.

For my first installment of repurposed chicken leftovers I landed on chicken salad- an obvious choice for some. For me, for whatever reason, this classic has never really hit the spot. Most of the time it feels too heavy, the mayo makes my stomach hurt, and the grapes add sweetness that tastes out of place. As it turns out, I had very few of the ingredients necessary for the standard chicken salad on hand. So instead, I decided to improvise. The result has become a staple in my lunch repertoire. This salad is modern, crisp, fresh, and super simple to prepare. It doesn't have the heaviness of traditional chicken salad and won't make you feel antiquated in your cooking. I rolled mine up in a spinach wrap but it's good enough to eat on it's own too! (I'll be tripling the recipe and serving it up at our first late summer dinner!)

 

Summer Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • leftover chicken, diced (about 2-3 cups)
  • 2 cups red grapes, sliced
  • bunch chopped parsley (about 1 cup)
  • 2-3 chopped scallions (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped pistachios (almonds would work too!)
  • 1/2- 1 cup sliced radish
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 -2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. mayo
  • s+ p to taste
  • 1 spinach wrap or serve with bread

I am a firm believer that salad recipes don't always have to be exact. It depends on your tastebuds and what you have available in your fridge. Since this salad is about leftovers, keep it simple, use your judgment. It's not like baking a cake. 

  1. In a bowl combine sliced chicken, radish, grapes, pistachios, and parsley. 
  2. In a cup or bowl whisk together lemon juice, mustard, mayo.
  3. Mix all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Wrap like a burrito in a spinach wrap or eat as you would any other salad.