California Chicken Salad plus fresh homemade dressings

california chopped salad

As this season slowly draws to a close and those last days of outdoor grilling and garden fresh tomatoes go by,  we really savor the last and best of our “salad days”. Store bought tomatoes and baked chicken breast can be used in other seasons but it’s just not quite the same.

I call this a California Chicken Salad because it has ingredients that I associate with several years of growing up in Orange County, California. More often than not, we had a salad topped with chicken for dinner. I love the interplay of flavours with the chicken, avocado and tomato. Black beans and corn add a little Southwest touch as well. Try this with my Creamy Cotija Cilantro Chile Pepita Dressing , a fresh vinaigrette or even some homemade Blue Cheese or Ranch style buttermilk dressing. Making your own dressing is so easy- don’t rely on commercial dressings that may be loaded with ingredients you can’t pronounce and that your body doesn’t need.

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California Chicken Salad

  • Romaine lettuce, washed dried and chopped
  • one green onion, washed and sliced
  • a fresh garden tomato, sliced and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen steamed and then chilled corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup cooked and chilled black beans
  • 1/2 Haas avocado, sliced
  • one grilled and sliced or cubed  boneless chicken breast
  • 2 Tablespoons shredded medium cheddar cheese
  • 1 small handful homemade or good quality baked croutons
  • 1 Tablespoon slivered blanched almonds

Mix the Romaine and green onion together in a salad bowl. Top with the remaining ingredients grouped together around the top. Dress and enjoy.

Home style Ranch Dressing

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise- Best Foods or homemade
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, plus more to thin if necessary
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh tarragon, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Mix all together in a food processor or blender and blend until well mixed. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill for at least one hour before using. Use within a few days.

Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon best quality olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup great quality blue  cheese (try Cowgirl Creamery’s Point Reyes  Farmstead Blue if you can)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons, minced parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients except blue cheese in a food processor or blender and blend well. Crumble the blue cheese and stir it in well. Chill for at least an hour  before using. Taste and adjust seasoning. Use within a few days.

Vinaigrette

  • one shallot minced finely
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt
  • a few grindings of black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar of choice- Sherry, Balsamic, Port or a good quality wine vinegar
  • 2-4 Tablespoons best quality extra virgin olive oil 

Place the shallots, mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar into a the salad bowl you’ll be using or another small  bowl and whisk well. Let stand 10 minutes and then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings. Dress  salad just before serving. Two to four servings.

xo

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