Summertime chicken salads
If I cook chicken, serve majadra as an accompaniment, I like to cook extra chicken, rice and lentils.
Chicken salads Photo: Thinkstock
prepare chicken as a Friday night main course and serve majadra (rice with
lentils) as an accompaniment, I like to cook extra chicken, rice and lentils to
combine another day as a main-course salad. This way I get several meals for the
time I spent cooking. Sometimes I serve the salad for Saturday’s lunch or freeze
the components and enjoy the salad later in the week.
This is a useful
formula for summertime entrees. Instead of the lentils, I might use cooked white
beans, chickpeas or frozen fava beans, and instead of the rice, bulgur wheat or
barley. Instead of the grains, cooked pasta works just fine in these
To complete the salads, I add fresh herbs and colorful raw or
cooked vegetables – whatever I have on hand. Fresh tomatoes, small diced
cucumbers and roasted peppers are always welcome in the mixture, as are green
onions, parsley, fresh coriander or thyme.
For dressing, a squeeze of
fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is ideal, or a
sprinkling of vinaigrette made of wine vinegar and oil and flavored with your
favorite mustard. Such dressings are more pleasing in summertime than the
mayonnaise of standard chicken salads from the deli. Besides, these light
dressings show the color of the salads’ ingredients much better. Vinaigrette is
lighter and thinner than mayonnaise, and less dressing is needed to moisten the
salad, and so it ends up lower in fat.
Faye Levy is the author of Faye
Levy’s International Chicken Cookbook.
ZA’ATAR CHICKEN SALAD WITH BEANS AND BARLEY The sesame-herb flavor of za’atar
blend is a good seasoning for chicken salads like this one, as it goes well with
chicken, beans and grains. Roasted red peppers, green beans and chopped green
onions make this a colorful salad. If you already have cooked rice or barley,
use about 3 cups in this salad.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 cup pearl barley
350 gr. (3⁄4 pound) green beans, cut in thirds
1 to 11⁄2 cups frozen fava beans
or lima beans or cooked or drained canned chickpeas
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 or 2 roasted red peppers (see Note below; or from a jar), cut in
3 green onions, chopped
3 to 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 Tbsp.
strained fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tsp. za’atar blend
Lettuce or baby spinach leaves (optional)
Bring 3 cups water to boil in a large
heavy saucepan and add a pinch of salt. Add barley and return to a boil. Cover
and simmer over low heat for 35 to 40 minutes or until barley is tender. Rinse
barley briefly and drain well. Transfer to a large bowl and let
Cook green beans uncovered in a saucepan of boiling salted water,
uncovered over high heat, about 5 minutes or until crisptender.
with a slotted spoon and rinse with cold water.
Return cooking liquid to
a boil. Add fava or lima beans and cook uncovered over medium-high heat until
just tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain beans, rinse with cold water and drain
well; if fava beans have thick skins, you can remove them by pinching each
Add green beans, fava beans, chicken, pepper strips and green
onions to bowl of barley. Fold together gently.
In a small bowl, whisk
oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add to salad. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Just before serving, fold in all but 1 tsp. of the za’atar. Sprinkle remaining
za’atar on top. If you like, serve salad on a bed of lettuce or baby spinach
Note: To roast and peel red peppers: Preheat broiler with rack 5
to 10 cm. (2 to 4 inches) from heat source, or far enough so peppers just fit;
or heat grill. Broil peppers, turning every few minutes with tongs, about 15
minutes or until their skins are blistered and charred; do not let them burn.
Put them in a plastic bag, close bag and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel using
paring knife. Halve peppers; be careful because they may have hot juice inside.
Discard seeds and ribs; pat dry. Do not rinse.
TURKEY SALAD WITH RED BEANS AND
RICE Salads like this, of turkey and rice, are convenient for entertaining since
you can make them ahead and serve them buffet-style. Preparing the salad in
advance has another advantage: As the meat sits with the dressing, it gains
flavor. You can substitute cooked chicken or roast beef for the
If you would rather use brown rice, cook it for about 40 minutes.
If you have already cooked rice, use about 3 to 31⁄2 cups in this
Serve this entree with a green salad and an Israeli or roasted
Makes 4 or 5 servings
11⁄4 cups long-grain rice
cooked red beans or a 400-gr. (15-ounce) can of beans of your choice,
drained and rinsed
3 cups diced cooked turkey
4 green onions, chopped
3 to 4
Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
11⁄2 to 2 Tbsp strained fresh lemon juice
freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. chopped
fresh coriander or parsley
Cook rice in a large pan of about 8 cups boiling
salted water, uncovered, about 14 minutes or until just tender but still firm.
Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again well. Mix rice with beans, turkey
and green onions.
In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, salt and
pepper. Add to salad.
Sprinkle with thyme and oregano and fold them in.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Just before serving, fold in 1 Tbsp. fresh
coriander. Serve sprinkled with remaining coriander.
CHICKEN-PASTA SALAD Marinated artichokes, black olives and sun-dried tomatoes
along with fresh tomatoes and herbs add good flavor to chicken salads. Medium
shells are an ideal pasta shape because they suit the shapes and sizes of the
other ingredients and are easy to mix with them. Tomato pasta shells or spirals
give a pretty result. For the legume in this salad, use cooked lentils or
chickpeas or any cooked or canned beans you have.
You can keep the salad,
covered, for 1 day in the refrigerator, but it’s best to add the fresh herbs and
diced tomatoes just before serving.
Makes 4 servings
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon
juice, or more if needed
1 tsp. dried leaf oregano, crumbled
Salt and freshly
ground pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil,
or more if needed
1⁄4 cup minced red onion 2 cups diced roast chicken or turkey
1 to 2 cups cooked or canned beans or chickpeas, or cooked lentils
dried leaf oregano, crumbled Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 225 gr. (8
ounces) medium pasta shells (about 3 cups)
1 cup drained marinated artichokes,
quartered, or marinated mushrooms
1⁄2 cup black olives, halved and pitted
cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut in small pieces
2 to 3 Tbsp chopped fresh
1⁄4 cup chopped parsley
1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, diced
In a large
bowl, whisk lemon juice with pepper, oregano, salt, pepper and cayenne. Whisk in
olive oil. Stir in onion.
Add chicken and beans to dressing; taste and
Marinate in dressing, stirring occasionally, about 1
Cook pasta uncovered in a large pot of boiling salted water over
high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes or until tender but firm to the
bite. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again well. Add to bowl of chicken
and beans. Add artichokes, olives and sun-dried tomatoes and mix gently. Taste
and adjust seasoning, adding more lemon juice and olive oil if you
Shortly before serving, add basil, parsley and diced tomatoes and
toss gently. Remove from refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving.