Lemon Almond Roast Chicken Salad.
Snack time! I mean lunch time. I mean everything time.
Hi hi. How was your weekend? What did you do? Where did you go? Did you finish it off by sitting at your computer with a sheet mask on your face, a sheet mask that makes you look like pantyhose-face-covered bank robber, and eating a sleeve of chocolate covered biscuits first then a bowl of popcorn second all while shopping online for a. new workout shoes, b. everything in sephora, c. mom jeans that don’t look like mom jeans but actually are mom jeans or d. all of the above?
Do you want to talk about the weather and how it’s going to be spring and we’re all crawling out of our deep dark winter holes that made us need mom jeans? No. Okay.
Should I have made a St Patrick’s Day recipe for today? Did you see eight million pies on instagram on Saturday? Were you like, “I’m so bad at math, I can’t even deal with Pi day?”
We can talk about salad? Not real salad. Not leafy green salad. Though given the mom jeans, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
This chicken salad? Um. It’s from my GROCERY STORE. Well, not like really from my grocery store. Not like I bought it from my grocery store and threw it in a bowl and took a pic. No no. But. The idea came from my grocery store. They’ve had a lemon almond chicken salad for years. We are talking YEARS. My cousin loves it. My mom loves it. I am scared of it because regular grocery store deli cases sort of freak me out.
It’s a phobia. I’m a brat.
The slicer. I’m petrified that someone is going to slice their finger or hand or face off while at the same time having that terrible feeling or wanting to touch the slicer to see what would happen, like the garbage disposal in the sink. Slimy meats that have the rainbow glow under the lights because they’ve been there for three days? The bricks of cheese. Huge bricks of orange cheese. You’d think it would be my heaven, hello, bricks of cheese, but no. I am a big deli counter snob. The only way I can get into it is if I have a spy. In (on?) the deli counter.
Also: wet salad. It’s a thing, and a thing that I cannot do.
Because! My thing with chicken salad and with, well – any kind of salad be it tuna or salmon or even lobster – is that I don’t like it to be super wet. I don’t love tons of yogurt or mayo or whatever delicious substance is being used to bind said salad together. In fact, I used to totally loathe mayo, period.
But now, I’ve learned to love it in it’s pure form when there is a just a small amount used. Like a thin smear on the most perfect BLT (totally need that for lunch today) or as the base for a makeshift killer aioli. If you’re a mayo hater or know a mayo hater, I’m here to tell you that you can’t taste the teeny bit of mayo in this salad whatsoever. I totally get it – if you hate mayo you might not even have it in your fridge, but I find that it is SUPER important and key to this recipe. Just that little bit adds a depth of flavor, makes it slightly creamier and takes away the relatively sharp tang of the yogurt.
If you don’t want to buy a tiny tub, make your own! I beg of you. Mayo is real food: eggs, vinegar, mustard, oil (I like using extra virgin) and making my own is how I learned to appreciate it.
Otherwise, if you’re going to stick to all Greek? Taste taste taste and season the hizzeck out of it.
Ew. You can slap me.
There is one thing that you won’t ever find me putting in my cold salads, and that is celery. BAH. Celery can talk a long walk off a short pier. I am so not a fan. Celery and fennel seeds can go ride off into the sunset and find the Bermuda triangle.
But if you’re into it, I mean… I guess you can try it.
You know why this salad is also the bomb dot com? (Ew again.) Toasted almonds! The crunch. It’s so satisfying and unexpected and delightful. The flavor is insane when combined with a little lemon and the roasted chicken. Also, (is this the thirteenth “also” of this post?) you can use a rotisserie chicken if you’re in a pinch! Or roast you own whole chicken instead of pieces.
Wait, who has time for that?
You can grill it! It’s almost summer. It’s grillin’ time. (It’s time for me to stop.)
And finally, can I take a moment for these crackers? They are a stone ground wheat cracker and super crunchy and thick and fabulous. Nothing too special, but ideal for salads like these. SO so good.
Like I will pretty much spread anything on this cracker. Anything.
Lemon Almond Roast Chicken Salad
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 lemon, zest freshly grated and juiced
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup plain greek yogurt (I recommend whole or 2%, but do what ya want!)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover the chicken with the lemon pepper and salt. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Place the chicken in the skillet and sear on both sides until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cover the skillet and place it in the oven, roasting for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes, then slice it into chunks. At this point, I like to shred it - but it's up to you. Do you want shredded chicken salad or cubes? I like shredded.
While the chicken is roasting, add the almonds to a nonstick skillet. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the almonds toast and get golden brown and fragrant. They can burn in a second so keep an eye on them! This takes around 5ish minutes. Remove the almonds and let them cool. You can crush a few up with your hands if desired.
Place the chicken, almonds (save a few for topping if you'd like - it's not necessary), lemon zest and juice, green onions and parsley in a bowl. Stir to combine. Fold in the yogurt and mayo, stirring until the entire bowl of chicken is moistened. Note! I do NOT like a very "wet" chicken salad, so if you'd like it to be wetter, feel free to add in more yogurt and/or mayp! Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired. This is delicious when it sits overnight, so making it the night before is a great option!
That was enough babbling.