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.
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.
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tbsp tarragon, finely minced
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
Lots! Black beans, quinoa, lentils, roast sweet potatoes, edamame, nuts, seeds… they should all work.
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:
- Spring Salad with Roasted Chicken
- Tomato, Basil, and Blue Cheese Salad
- Mediterranean Rice Salad
- Roasted Beet Salad
**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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Wednesday 13th of April 2016
Bree, I just love you. I know how much we relate to one another, and reading this post, it's shocking how perfectly you express my sentiments. I'm so grateful for this, for your support, and for the friendship I know we're starting :)
Thank you always <3 Andie
PS--photograph everything in my life??
Thursday 14th of April 2016
I love you too. And I am happy to be your personal paparazzi any time. <3 Hope to see you soon and give you a giant awkward hug in person. (And I probably will start to cry a little. Don't hold it against me okay?)