chicken and chickpea salad
me, world. It’s tough enough to find the time to cook in
summer. Who wants the heat, too?
the other things I want every day — something fast,
something healthful, something affordable — and weeknight
dinners can become daunting. Did I mention that I actually
want it to taste good, too?
idea behind The Observer’s Assembly Line Cooking series is
to find ways to combine fresh food with a few high-quality,
high-flavor shortcuts. With that in mind, I set to work to
come up with six really good dinner salads. I wanted the
kind that can be full meals. And I didn’t want the kind
that are glopped up with too much creamy dressing.
end of the day, I realized that I had hit on something good
here. These salads aren’t deprivation dinners, they’re
delicious. They’re recipes I’ll keep in my weeknight
dinner rotation from now on — even when it isn’t summer
Shrimp Salad With Green Curry Dressing: Empty a 1-pound bag
of frozen cooked shrimp (any size will work, although I like
at least 41- to 50-count) into a colander and rinse under
cold running water to thaw. In a salad bowl, whisk together
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 to 3 limes; zap them in the
microwave for 10 to 15 seconds to yield more juice), 1/4 cup
canola oil and 2 tablespoons green curry paste. Add the
thawed shrimp, about 6 cups shredded romaine lettuce, and
1/4 cup each chopped cilantro and mint. Top with roasted
peanuts. Find green curry paste with the Asian ingredients
in most supermarkets. (Adapted from "Market Math: 50
Ingredients x 4 Recipes = 200 Simple, Creative Dishes,"
by the editors of Food & Wine.)
Greek Chicken Salad With Feta Dressing: Puree 1/2 cup feta
cheese, 3 tablespoons water and 1/4 cup oil in a blender.
Toss with 2 cups diced cooked chicken, 4 to 6 cups chopped
romaine, 2 cored and diced tomatoes, and 1/4 cup pitted
kalamata olives. Just before serving, toss with 2 cups
crushed pita chips.
Mediterranean Chicken & Chickpea Salad: Whisk together 3
tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon each Dijon
mustard, honey and dried oregano in a serving bowl. Whisk in
3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in 3 tablespoons chopped
pitted kalamata olives and about 3 tablespoons diced red
onion. Add 4 to 6 cups chopped romaine or other sturdy salad
greens, 1 cored and diced tomato and 2 (15-ounce) cans
rinsed/drained chickpeas. Top with 1/4 cup crumbled feta and
about 2 cups diced, cooked chicken. (Adapted from
"Dinner A.S.A.P," by the editors of Cooking
Sort-of-Nicoise Lentil Salad: Place 1/2 cup bottled Italian
dressing in a mixing bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon honey and 1
teaspoon toasted sesame oil. Add cooked green lentils (1
package Trader Joe’s steamed lentils or 3 cups cooked
green or Le Puy lentils). Stir in 1 cup grated carrot (1
large shredded carrot, or salad-bar carrots) and about 2
tablespoons minced onion (red, yellow or shallot). Line a
serving platter with lettuce and pile the lentils over it.
Flake a can of drained, oil-packed tuna over the top.
Layered Antipasto Salad. (See recipe.)
Pastrami & Rye Panzanella Salad. (See recipe).
from cookingchanneltv.com. Look for giardiniera and
pepperoncini on the pickle aisle.
(12-ounce) jar pepperoncini
(15-ounce) jar giardiniera
tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
pitted kalamata olives
(9-ounce) jar artichoke hearts
tomatoes, cored and diced
pound thinly sliced provolone
pound thinly sliced soppressata
2 tablespoons of brine from each of the jars of pepperoncini
and giardiniera (4 tablespoons total) in a mixing bowl and
whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in the lettuce and
pepperoncini. Remove stems and chop. Drain giardiniera and
combine in a separate bowl with the chopped pepperoncini and
the olives. Set aside.
artichoke hearts and cut into quarters. Core and dice the
tomato. Slice the provolone and sopressata into bite-size
a third of the lettuce in the bottom of a large, clear bowl.
Top with a third of the pickled vegetable mixture, a third
of the artichoke hearts and tomato and half the sliced meat.
Repeat layers, using the remainder of the meat, then a third
layer of the lettuce, pickled vegetables, artichoke hearts
& RYE PANZANELLA
red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
6 slices (1/2 pound) light or seeded rye bread
cucumber, peeled and diced
tomatoes, cored and diced
pound sliced pastrami, chopped
tablespoon red wine vinegar
teaspoons Dijon mustard
cup extra-virgin olive oil
teaspoon caraway seeds
the onion slices in a small bowl and cover with cold water.
Set aside until ready to use.
rye bread into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Spread in a single layer on
a baking sheet. Place in a 450-degree oven for 6 to 8
minutes, until the edges are crispy. Remove from oven and
the cucumber and tomato and put in a large salad bowl. Add
the toasted rye bread, drained onion and pastrami.
together the vinegar and mustard, then whisk in the olive
oil. Just before serving, pour over the salad and toss well.
Sprinkle with caraway seeds and serve.
HANDY INGREDIENTS FOR FAST SALADS
Trader’s Joe’s steamed lentils, $2.99 for a (17.6-ounce)
pouch. I usually have a couple of packages in the
refrigerator all the time. You can use them hot or cold.
Perdue Short Cuts Carved Chicken Breast, $4.39 for a
(9-ounce) bag. I tried two flavors, roasted and rotisserie,
while testing these recipes and was pleasantly surprised. It’s
not as salty and fatty as rotisserie chicken, and it’s
free of preservatives, hormones and steroids. Look for it
near the lunch meat.
Bottled Italian dressing. Yes, I’d rather have
from-scratch. But who has time? A basic oil-and-vinegar
Italian dressing can be dressed up (try a little sesame oil
and honey), and it can double as a marinade.
Olive bar: Many supermarkets have them now. While olives
with the pits in have the most flavor, there’s no shame in
saving a little time with good-quality pitted olives. What
you’re after for salads is fast flavor.