For health: We poached the chicken simply in water (there was no need to add salty stock, butter or oil - our other ingredients would add flavour). We added beans to help bulk the salad keeping it cost effective and a bonus: their no-fat-added protein plus fibre and minerals. We added almonds for their crunch and a bonus: they help lower cholesterol and heart disease*. And for our dressing, we cut the mayo and added low-fat natural yogurt.
For taste: Fresh ingredients, simple spices and herbs, plus zesty lime = yum.
International Chicken Salad
7 chicken breasts (equivalent: 600grams / 1 1/3 lbs.)
3/4 red pepper
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 cup cannellini beans
3/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup low-fat natural yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise (or can use all yogurt and no mayo)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
First, poach the chicken breasts. (You could grill or bake, but poaching keeps them moist and tender.) Put the chicken in a single layer and cover with water. Put lid on and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Cut through the center of the largest piece to make sure it has cooked all the way through.
Remove chicken from the water and allow to cool.
Cut chicken into small bite-sized pieces and place into a large bowl.
Squeeze the juice of 1 and 1/2 limes over and season with a big pinch of sea salt. Toss with a spoon.
Dice 3/4 of a red pepper and 6 scallions. Add to bowl.
Drain and rinse the cannellini beans - use 1 cup. Gently chop them a bit. Add to bowl.
Chop the 3/4 cup of almonds to smaller pieces (use whole almonds: blanched or pre-sliced are good for baking, but removing the skin takes away nutrients and fibre.) Add to bowl.
Make dressing: In a separate small bowl whisk mayo, yogurt, paprika and chili powder together.
Add to chicken salad and mix well. (Start by adding 1/2 of dressing. Taste and choose whether or not to add more.)
Squeeze remaining half of lime over everything.
By making these at home, you're also controlling sodium and oil content.
Whole Wheat Pitas
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup plain flour
1 7 gram package dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
(I used an electric mixer with a dough hook, but you could easily make these with a bowl and spoon, too.)
Put 3 cups whole wheat flour into bowl. Add yeast and salt and start mixer on slow setting. Add water. Slowly add the last cup of plain flour - you may not need it all - until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and comes together in a ball. Allow mixer to run for another 3-4 minutes to knead the dough.
Split into 10 sections of dough and roll into balls. Put onto 2 baking trays, lined with baking paper, somewhere warm and let rise for 30 minutes. Lightly roll each ball into 4 inch/10 centimeter round, approximately 1/4 inch/1 centimeter thick. Allow to sit for another 15 minutes.
Place trays in oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Pitas will soften as they cool.
Serve with chicken salad or anything you want; hummus, guacamole, pack 'em with salad. Freeze them for school lunches. Enjoy!