UPC’s Chicken Salad Lunch Salad
I am slowly but surely further improving my food choices. First I started using organic fruits and vegetables, several years ago. Maybe a year or two later, I discovered Paleo, and several months of research later decided to give it a try. My first 6 months following a Paleo dietary template were what I thought was very strict Paleo, to make sure that my body had completely adjusted to a clean-food diet before I re-introduced some of my various treats. Interestingly, as the months have become years, I’ve started to realize that, while I thought I was being strict Paleo at the beginning, there were so many nuances of eating “Clean Food” that I just hadn’t begun to understand yet. I still used cold-cuts in my salads. I still bought and consumed conventional meat, even though I had made the switch to Organic fruits and vegetables years before. I knew nothing about pastured chicken eggs and the nutritional difference between those and the mass-produced stuff. I had no idea that there was so much garbage in the low-quality bacon! In retrospect, I wonder how I would have approached the world of food if I’d known then what I know now.
Would I have despaired the lack of quality food? Would I have made different choices in my desperation? I honestly don’t know. I have suspicions… It wouldn’t surprise me if the alternate version of me was living on a self-sustaining farm somewhere, producing the highest quality organic produce imaginable. And it wouldn’t surprise me if that alternate version of me was frustrated by a world that wasn’t ready to truly appreciate that kind of food. Maybe. Or maybe that alternate version of me would be a thriving CSA producer somewhere, helping people like the actual me get that highest quality produce when we need it! I think I like that version better. I’m going to stick with that one.
Well, as I learn and grow in my knowledge of food (and share those learning experiences with you), what is done with it, and how to eat the highest quality produce possible, I am increasingly reminded that the only way to eat great food is to make it yourself, from scratch. That means that I can’t use those cold-cuts that I used to use to make my salads. They were a vice, a laziness, that I simply hadn’t entirely removed yet. I was being careful about what was in the cold cuts, of course. No nitrates or nitrites, reputable names. But cold-cuts don’t talk about whether they are from animals raised with hormones, sub-theraputic antibiotics, or any of the other nasty things that I really don’t need to be consuming! There’s a lot to look at, pay attention to, and think about. It takes time. And that’s OK. So in today’s post, you’ll see one of the ways that I use to satisfactorily remove those cold-cuts from my lunch salads. I first shared that my wife and I were going to give up on cold-cuts entirely about a month ago, in my post about Shredded Roast Beef Salad. Today, I’ll share a recipe for Chicken Salad.
UPC’s Chicken Salad Lunch Salad; What you’ll need:
- Roast Chicken:
- Whole Organic Pastured Chicken (these are REALLY difficult to find – just do the best you can)
- 6-8 Whole Carrots (to stuff the chicken)
- 1 small Sweet Potato, sliced
- 4 small Sweet Potatoes
- 1 in Ginger, sliced
- Spices: Ginger (above), Cinnamon, Turmeric, Rosemary, Sea Salt
- Chicken Salad
- 2 cups Roast Chicken Breast, shredded
- 3 tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 3 tablespoons Whole-Seed Dijon Mustard
- Chicken Salad (above)
- Arugula (or favorite salad green)
- 1 Avocado, chopped
- 1 large Carrot, chopped
- 4-6 Crimini Mushrooms, chopped
- 1 medium Cucumber, sliced
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Roast Chicken Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Roast Chicken Cook Time: 8+ Hours (I did 10)
Lunch Salad Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Roast Chicken Instructions:
1. Prep the Chicken:
- Thoroughly rinse the chicken both inside and out.
- Rub some sea salt and turmeric inside the chicken.
- Stuff the chicken with as many carrots as you can fit easily.
2. Put the chicken in a slow-cooker and prep for cooking:
- Carefully space the sliced ginger across the top of the chicken.
- Sprinkle some of the other spices across the top of the chicken.
- Lay the sliced sweet potatoes across the top of the chicken, also carefully spaced.
- Add the remaining spices, covering the chicken as thoroughly as possible (it’s ok if some spices fall off the side of the chicken into the base of the slow-cooker).
- Add the sweet potatoes to the slow-cooker wherever there is space.
3. Turn on the slow-cooker to the “Low” setting and cook overnight so that it’s ready for breakfast and lunch in the morning.
1. Pull about 2 cups worth of chicken breast off the roasted chicken.
2. Using a fork and tongs (or two forks), shred the chicken breast as thoroughly as you can.
3. Add the coconut oil and Dijon mustard and mix thoroughly.
4. Prep the salad by starting with the arugula then adding the vegetables.
5. Add the chicken salad on the top of the lunch salad, then drizzle the olive oil over the salad.
6. Mix thoroughly, breaking up the clumps of the chicken salad as much as possible.
Now serve and enjoy!
Notes and thoughts:
This came out great, and will definitely be a staple going forward! I’ll probably rotate out the shredded beef with the shredded chicken salad. They were both perfect for a lunch salad, and it’s hard to choose between them! Of course, the chicken is cheaper… But how do you make that decision on price alone?
This would work quite well if it were done with a Paleo-friendly mayo; perhaps a home-made mayo? There are a few brands out there that make pretty good mayo. I’ve seen some “Atkins” mayo on the shelves of Whole Foods which isn’t terrible. It uses pastured eggs and organic ingredients, which is great! The downside: it uses canola oil, which is definitely better than soy, but still something I avoid as much as possible. Olive oil is of course a much better choice, but also more expensive. I buy a brand called “Delouis” which is theoretically made in france. It uses sunflower oil, which while not ideal, is better than canola, and MUCH better than soy! If it is actually made in france, then the eggs are also most likely organic, and may even be pastured. Food quality there is much better than here. But because of that, it’s quite possible that this French brand uses US ingredients, and assembles here. It would be quite a lot cheaper…
Some additional ingredients that would change the flavor of this salad: This salad would be delicious if combined with raisins, golden raisins, walnuts, some citrus, or some cherry tomatoes.
- What are your favorite salad ingredients?
- What fruits do you like to throw into your salads? Raisins? Apples? Pears?
- What ingredients do you like to cook for your salads?
- What kind of lunches do you like to eat at work?
- Do you pack a lunch, or buy?