Avocado Chicken Salad on a Salad
This is a recipe that I often make on the weekend for lunch. You can change the type of salad base and/or salad dressing. For the chicken salad topping you can add, change or replace pretty much anything in it as well. If I whip it up unplanned (usually because I have a sad avocado staring at me that’s on its last legs) I’ve even used dried basil in a pinch. This is primarily why I love this recipe, it is a great way to use up a ripe avocado! I could imagine swapping the walnuts for other nuts or seeds (I want to try pumpkin or sunflower seeds), using a different dried or fresh fruit (dried currants or cranberries) and even trying a lime instead of lemon. Anything goes with this recipe! The mashed avocado replaces the typical mayonnaise you would find in a tuna or regular chicken salad.
A word on avocados…the past few years I have been into avocados but always know it is so hard to have them perfectly ripe on the exact day I am using one. We (try to) grocery shop once a week so if available I buy avocados in different stages of ripeness to use one every 3 days or so. On average one goes to waste every few weeks but this method is usually great if the grocery store has variety. If the grocery store has hard green avocados I skip using them until the end of the week and just let them ripen. This avoids the dark spots that come with people squeezing and testing them out at the grocery store. If they are bought hardened you almost never will find them bruised inside so it is definitely the way to go. I leave them out in a bowl on my counter to ripen.
Avocado Chicken Salad Recipe
1 ripe avocado
1/2 lemon (use more depending on ripeness)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 cups cooked chopped chicken (season however you would like)
handful chopped dates
small handful cup chopped walnuts
few pinches of garlic salt
ground black pepper
- Season & grill chicken either on an indoor grill or BBQ. Make sure chicken has cooled down before adding to the avocado mixture.
- Mash avocado in a mixing bowl. Squeeze lemon on top. Add basil, chicken, dates, walnuts, garlic salt & pepper and mix well.
Makes 2-3 servings, add extra lemon to store in the fridge for a day
Basic Caesar Salad
This salad is so basic it’s almost silly to even list, but I have a few tips & ideas for it so I wanted to share! I didn’t go over the quantities of each ingredient because it really is to each person’s taste.
My best tip is to ‘water down,’ a dressing. Whether it be a creamy dressing or a vinaigrette I do the same for both. This is so the salad mixes easier without having to use more dressing all the while keeping the calories down. I always bust out a measuring spoon and use a tablespoon of dressing and then ‘water it down,’ using freshly squeezed lemon or balsamic vinegar. Years ago I started doing this and just got so used to it that I can’t have it any other way. A freshly squeezed lemon is the most amazing addition to any salad! I am lemon obsessed and it’s a bit of a problem when they get expensive to buy in the winter. I use them in cold and hot water to drink, salads, marinades you name it. I got my first Costco card this year and pretty much go there for the lemons, they are a great price point and are usually superior in quality!
I’ve also gotten into buying aged parmesan (usually 30 months). It completely changes a typical caesar salad into a restaurant quality salad by adding so much more flavor. I used to use a rotary grater but found mine has gotten dull over time. I just started using my electric mini chopper and you can do quite a bit at once, store it in the fridge, and it still has the ‘freshly grated,’ smell and taste for several weeks.
I really like Newman’s Own Parmesan & Roasted Garlic Dressing. It’s a vinaigrette and when you add lemon or balsamic it comes alive, but in the spirit of keeping it real I like it because it is caesar in nature, sans the anchovies.
Basic Caesar Salad Recipe
romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
Newman’s Own Parmesan & Roasted Garlic Dressing
fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
freshly grated aged parmesan
freshly ground pepper
Of course just toss all together! I do want to add that I count my tosses and do about 25 to make sure everything is mixed really well (a little Martha tip from years ago)!
Hope you enjoy this recipe, let me know of any twists you put on it, I’m interested in how many ways this dish can be changed!