Make it. Eat it. Love it.
Picnic classics; potato salad, macaroni salad, chicken salad and egg salad. Pretty much anything smothered in a ridiculous amount of mayonnaise could be passed off as a summertime salad staple. What is it about these classics that have made their way to the table generation after generation? Maybe it’s the easy preparation that could be done a day or two before your guests arrive, or before you leave for an afternoon at the beach, or maybe it’s the idea that they work well as one dish meals. Perhaps it’s the fact that they pair well with anything from BBQ ribs to grilled chicken and veggies or maybe it’s just that everything tastes great when mixed with mayo. Whatever the case, picnics, BBQ’s, summer lunches and dinners just aren’t the same without them and their popularity through the years show no signs of slowing down. These classic salads are here to stay and have been evolving in ways that make them even more appealing then ever before.
It is now cherry season here in Israel. And with cherries as cheap as $4 a kilo its pretty hard not to get caught up in the moment and buy more then you could possible eat before they go bad. Last year I made sour cherry and goat cheese turnovers and this year a delicious cherry pie, but these ruby red summer beauties aren’t just for pies, pastries or jams. Here, they are a great finish to your classic chicken salad, making it perfect for your summer meals.
In this recipe the classic chicken salad gets a makeover with summery flavors and ingredients like avocados, armenian cucumbers, candied almonds, goat cheese and cherries. The heavy mayonnaise dressing that covers the chicken salads that you are used to is replaced by a low fat mayo buttermilk and dijon mustard mixture making this salad refreshing, light and delicious.
So transform your left over chicken this summer into a dish that could easily work as a side during BBQ’s, stuffed inside a whole wheat pita for a picnic or as an elegant light dinner meal. Anyway you decide to enjoy it, it is sure to become a new classic on your summer menu.
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 pre cooked chicken breasts, shredded
2 large armenian cucumbers (or english cucumbers), cut in rounds then halved
2 avocados, sliced into chunks
1/2 cup candied almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup pitted fresh cherries, halved
4 ounces soft goat cheese, sliced into chunks
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Whole wheat pitas
In a large mixing bowl combine chicken, cucumbers, avocados, almonds, cherries and goat cheese; set aside.
In a small mixing bowl combine light mayo, buttermilk, dijon mustard and lemon juice, mixing until creamy and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour dressing over salad and toss gently to coat.
Let salad chill for at least 30 minutes.
Serve stuffed into whole wheat pita or however desired.