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Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranates

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I have a confession. First, I have never made chicken salad. Second, I don’t think until I’ve tried a waldorf salad I ever thought that a chicken salad could be delicious. I’m no expert, but I think it’s safe to say that when you add chicken, lemon juice, walnuts, and the kitchen sink you’ll get magic. And that’s exactly what happened.

You can omit whatever you like from the below recipe but I just thought what would be appealing, both visually, texturally, and …. well that’s it.

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Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranates

(makes approx 6 cups)

  • 2 chicken breasts, boiled in salted water and diced/ cubed
  • 3 tbsp nigella seeds, or black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup or more of pomegranate seeds
  • About a handful of shredded sweet cabbage
  • juice from one lemon
  • generous salt and pepper shaking
  • approx 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • approx 1 1/2 cups grapes, cut in half
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
  • 2 cups of light mayo
  • 2 tbsp dried basil

Start off by dicing the chicken, if you haven’t already done so. Make sure that it’s not just in cubes, but in actual small pieces, the size of a grape, no larger. This really helps with the consistency of most salads you’re used to, like in the markets or restaurants. Add in the nigella and pomegranate seeds. Add in the cabbage (mine was already pre-shredded thanks to Trader Joe’s) and squeeze the juice of a lemon over the whole thing; add zest if you like as well. I was too lazy to be honest. 

Add the salt and pepper and mix together.

Add in the walnuts, grapes (cut in half), celery and basil. Finish off with Mayo. Stir until everything is coated. Add or decrease the amount of the mayo based on your taste. About 2 cups was just right for me to coat everything and not be COVERED in the mayo. Which would be too overpowering. If you can’t find pomegranate seeds, I’d recommend adding in apples for added crunch. 

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Warm Potato and Salmon Salad with Blue Cheese

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I haven’t been a salad person, but lately I’ve been finding myself almost eagerly awaiting lunch or dinner so I can create a hearty and delicious salad. I think wilted leaves and over salted dressings are the reason for my past dislike of salads, but anything you create at home will be better than what it was when you went out. That’s a guarantee. This guarantee has allowed me to be a salad person again. It feels great.

The idea for this salad came from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook. He has a similar dish, in which a large plate is lined with smoked salmon, and warm potatoes are laid out on top to be eaten after being dressed in oil, vinegar, spices, and dolloped with a horseradish sauce. Overall, the dish is amazing, and I did make it earlier this week. The smoked salmon and potatoes went so well together that I wanted to recreate the dish, but use more ingredients, specifically those I bought earlier in the week, and I knew I had to use.

This led me to a marvelous salad. Honestly, I’m quite proud. Not only was this salad super filling, but it was unbelievably healthy. I think the healthiest thing I’ve ever made.

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Warm Potato, Salmon and Blue Cheese Salad

  • fingerling potatoes, enough for one (I think I used about 6 for myself, and cut them in half)
  • approx 1 handful of micro greens of your choice (I used micro kale)
  • 2-3oz of smoked salmon
  • few sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • about 1 cup of baby heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 oz blue cheese of choice, cut up into bite sized, dollop-able pieces

Boil a pot of water for the potatoes. Salt the water and add the potatoes, if you cut them in half they will cook faster, about 9 minutes or so. Test with a knife to make sure they are done and soft all the way through.

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In a bowl add the micro greens and dill. Mix with your hands to make sure the dill is more or less evenly distributed. Using your hands, rip the salmon into bite-sized pieces and place on top of the greens.

In a separate bowl, add the oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and vinegar. This will be the bowl the warm potatoes will be added to.

Start prepping the tomatoes and add to the greens as the potatoes are cooking.

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When the potatoes are done drain and let sit for about two minutes to make sure they aren’t scalding. Add to the vinegar and oil bowl and mix. Add them to the salad, making sure the oil and vinegar and garlic bits are all in the salad bowl. This will be a type of dressing. You don’t need much since the salmon is equally oily.

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Attempt to mix together as quickly as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Dollop the blue cheese on top and enjoy!

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