Who doesn’t love to dish up simple, yet robust and wow-factor meals? I just make sure there’s always a healthy bent. Being a four-season outdoor girl, it just makes sense.
Creamy and fulfilling, yet elegant and provocative. This dairy-free-optional recipe takes the humdrum out of chicken salad, and the calories out of classic loaded potatoes. A simple blend of French Fines Herbes with Greek yogurt offers European gifts to this surprising marriage of two American darlings. Serve with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
Bacon lovers: crunchy bits of the pork persuasion are welcome here, or they can be convincingly swapped for turkey bacon, vegan bacon (baked strips of fermented soy), or even crispy-fried chopped shallots in oil and salt. And if your yen is for speckling flecks of cheddar in loaded spuds, fold some in. Dairy-free cheese alternatives abound; or substitute here with shredded carrot, complementing the colorful elements throughout the dish.
- 2 cups chicken, shredded
- 3 slices bacon bits or ¼ cup replacement
- 3 rounded tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt
- 3 rounded tablespoons of mayonnaise (most major brands are dairy-free)
- 2/3 cups shredded Cheddar, dairy-free cheese or shredded carrots
- Carrot shavings for the greens
- 1/3 cup chives, sliced very thinly on the diagonal
- 1/3 cup shallots or red onion, minced
- Field mix
- ½ cup tri-colored peppers, minced
- Fines Herbes: equal parts (2 tblsp each) chives, parsley, chervil (if available), and a hint of tarragon. No fresh herbs? No problem. Dried herbs work well but with some less flavor.
- ½ fresh lemon
- Kosher salt & cracked peppercorn to taste
- Paprika for light, smoky dusting. Or cayenne pepper for a touch of heat.
Shred chicken with care.
In a large, separate bowl: blend yogurt, mayo, shallots, the finely chopped herbs, salt and pepper to taste. (More sodium is found in some ingredients here.)
Fold chicken into the herbed yogurt mix and refrigerate for an hour or more, to tenderize the meat and bloom the flavors.
Meanwhile, cook bacon or alternate choice until crisp. Drain and cool. Break into nickel-size bits.
Into the bowl — following a gentle stir to incorporate any liquid — add the bacon, half of the chives, shredded cheese and/or carrots until just blended.
Serve generously atop an organic field mix which has been playfully dotted with the peppers.
For a bright pop, hit the top of the salad with a light, even mist of fresh lemon juice, rather than mixing it in.
Dust over very modestly with the paprika.
Top with a smattering of the chives, reserving the last of them to casually accent the plate.
For 30 years, Pat’s been a widely published travel/environmental writer, organic gardener, and explorer of hidden coves and mountain trails around New England. Born into her family’s New York deli, she started up and operated a large organic cafe’ & arts mecca, and in her spare time has been a head chef for her community’s soup kitchen (where she’s a.k.a. “The Singing Chef”) — transcending farmers market bounty into succulent, nutritious and memorable meals that just make people feel good.