Chopped Chicken Salad

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A crisp Mediterranean-inspired salad with lemon chicken, tarragon tahini dressing, and spiced chickpeas. Fresh, crunchy, salty, spicy, and incredibly delicious — this salad is how I want to eat every day.

Chopped Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Tarragon Tahini Dressing

A few years ago, I lost a lot of weight. About 30 pounds — a toddler. I have since gained a lot of it back. It isn’t a great place to be or feel great, but I am really afraid to go back to life when losing weight was my #1 priority. All day I obsessed about food.

Eating clean was hard. It felt like my efforts were never good enough. My interpretation was (and a completely incorrect one), why bother? If I don’t eat perfectly all the time, what’s the point?

Turns out, I’m not alone on this one. My friend Andie wrote an entire book about this very issue. I can’t say enough good things about Eating in the Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook. One of the things that Andie writes about is eating a salad every single day. Not a boring salad, but one with life and interest and vibrancy. Salads are filling and you can pack a lot of flavors into every bite. I have been following her advice and, let me say, I feel better and enjoy my ritual of eating a salad for lunch. Every day. (Well, almost every day.)

In particular, this salad is how I want to eat every day. Fresh, crunchy, salty, spicy, and incredibly delicious. My kids ate this (did you read that – THEY ATE IT.) wrapped in whole wheat pitas. I added some chicken, but otherwise made this recipe exactly as written and I’ve made it again and again.

A few years ago, I lost a lot of weight. About 30 pounds - a toddler. I have since gained it back and then some. It isn’t a great place to be or feel great, but I am really afraid to go back to life when losing weight was my #1 priority. All day I obsessed about food. What I was eating, what I was going to eat next, and what I was going to do with myself to not think about food. It was exhausting. I did lose weight, but I lost more than just that. I lost the joy that comes with food and cooking. I was wearing smaller clothes, but I was really frustrated and unhappy. Eating is a joyous experience. We not only eat for nutrition, but also for pleasure. We eat to gather, celebrate, and entertain. Cooking is something that made me happy and being able to cook for people gave me so much happiness. Cooking is not fun when you are secretly freaking out about carbs and using butter and wondering if you can sneak more protein in. Around the same time I went to school to become a holistic nutritionist. I loved being in school and learning. I learned far more than I was expecting. (And I loved it.) Everything was geared towards eating whole foods. Nothing processed. Nothing refined. Dark greens at every meal. Eat clean all the time at every meal.

Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp tarragon, finely minced
  • salt

Lemon Chicken:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • zest from one lemon
  • juice from lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • salt and pepper

Spiced Chickpeas:

  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Salad:

  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded and sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cups crumbled feta cheese
chopped-salad-with-spiced-chickpeas_12

How To – The Steps

Step1 (The Dressing): Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of water to thin out.

Step 2 (The Chicken): Add chicken to a plastic bag. Whisk together oil, zest, juice, garlic, oregano, mint, salt and pepper. Let marinate for 15-20 minutes. Add pieces to a saute pan over MED-HIGH heat. Brown and cook through. Transfer to a plate until ready to eat.

Step 3 (The Chickpeas): Mix together the spices and salt. Pat the chickpeas dry with a paper towel. Put them in a gallon-sized plastic bag with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Seal the bag and shake to coat with oil. Add the spice mixture, seal the bag, and shake to coat with spices.

Heat a non-stick pan with the remaining olive oil over MED-HIGH heat. Add the chickpeas and saute, shaking occasionally until they are brown and crispy.

Step 4 (The Salad): Toss together salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing, top with chicken and chickpeas.

Chopped Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Tarragon Tahini Dressing

FAQs

How do you know when the chicken is done?

The chicken should be white all the way through. Cut into the thickest part and take a look. Feel it; if it’s mushy or rubbery, it needs to be cooked longer. When in doubt, invest in a meat thermometer. Inject it into the thickest part of the chicken and ensure it has reached 165°F.

I don’t like chickpeas; is there something else I can use?

Lots! Black beans, quinoa, lentils, roast sweet potatoes, edamame, nuts, seeds… they should all work.

Why is it called a ‘chopped’ chicken salad?

Ha… my understanding is that every ingredient is chopped into small, bite-sized pieces, making it easier to eat. This way, every mouthful should contain a bit of every ingredient.

How To Store Chopped Chicken Salad

Let the salad cool completely. Transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to dine once more, take it out of the fridge and let it sit for 20 minutes. Give it a stir to redistribute the dressing and seasoning. You can refresh the flavors by squirting a bit of lemon juice on it.

Other Salad Recipes You Might Like To Try:

Chopped Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Tarragon Tahini Dressing

Chopped Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Tarragon Tahini Dressing

bakedbree
A crisp Mediterranean inspired salad with lemon chicken, tarragon tahini dressing, and spiced chickpeas. From the book Eating in the Middle by Andie Mitchell.
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients
  

:

  • 3 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 Tablespoon tarragon finely minced
  • salt

Lemon Chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • zest from one lemon
  • juice from lemon
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • salt and pepper

Spiced Chickpeas

  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Salad

  • 2 romaine hearts chopped
  • 1 English cucumber seeded and sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cups crumbled feta cheese

Instructions
 

  • To make the dressing: Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of water to thin out.
  • To make the chicken: Add chicken to a plastic bag. Whisk together oil, zest, juice, garlic, oregano, mint, salt and pepper. Let marinate for 15-20 minutes. Add pieces to a saute pan over medium-high heat. Brown and cook through. Transfer to a plate until ready to eat.
  • To make the chickpeas: Mix together the spices and salt. Pat the chickpeas dry with a paper towel. Put them in a gallon size plastic bag with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Seal the bag and shake to coat with oil. Add the spice mixture, seal the bag, and shake to coat with spices.
  • Heat a non-stick pan with the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and saute, shaking occasionally until they are brown and crispy.
  • To make the salad: Toss together salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing, top with chicken and chickpeas.

Notes

Leftover chickpeas can be stored in the fridge for a week in an airtight container. Reheat in microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute or in a dry skillet until warm.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Chopped Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Tarragon Tahini Dressing

Chopped Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Tarragon Tahini Dressing

bakedbree
A crisp Mediterranean inspired salad with lemon chicken, tarragon tahini dressing, and spiced chickpeas. From the book Eating in the Middle by Andie Mitchell.
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients
  

:

  • 3 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 Tablespoon tarragon finely minced
  • salt

Lemon Chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • zest from one lemon
  • juice from lemon
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • salt and pepper

Spiced Chickpeas

  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Salad

  • 2 romaine hearts chopped
  • 1 English cucumber seeded and sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cups crumbled feta cheese

Instructions
 

  • To make the dressing: Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of water to thin out.
  • To make the chicken: Add chicken to a plastic bag. Whisk together oil, zest, juice, garlic, oregano, mint, salt and pepper. Let marinate for 15-20 minutes. Add pieces to a saute pan over medium-high heat. Brown and cook through. Transfer to a plate until ready to eat.
  • To make the chickpeas: Mix together the spices and salt. Pat the chickpeas dry with a paper towel. Put them in a gallon size plastic bag with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Seal the bag and shake to coat with oil. Add the spice mixture, seal the bag, and shake to coat with spices.
  • Heat a non-stick pan with the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and saute, shaking occasionally until they are brown and crispy.
  • To make the salad: Toss together salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing, top with chicken and chickpeas.

Notes

Leftover chickpeas can be stored in the fridge for a week in an airtight container. Reheat in microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute or in a dry skillet until warm.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
 

**Full disclosure, Andie did send me a copy of her book. But she didn’t need to, I had already pre-ordered it and gave my other copy to a friend. 🙂 **

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