At Christmas time my family and I were lucky enough to travel to the US to spend the Holidays with my parents, my sister and her 3 cutie patootie girls, and my extended family. My parents normally QUIET house was overflowing with 10 of us there but it was so much fun! The days of making Christmas cookies, creating a fabulous gluten free Christmas dinner, incredible gluten free cinnamon rolls from Sonoma Bakery, lots of laughter, and a celebration of love. My wonderful husband and I even had a very special dinner for our 17th wedding anniversary which was Christmas Eve (insert heart)
And while hubby and the kids were obsessing over Sonic and Coneys, I discovered the salad bars at Wholefoods Market. I went almost every day. Each day brought an incredible array of fresh dishes on the hot and cold bars that I would cram my container full of. Because they sell the containers based on weight, I noticed that each day my total was increasing while I kept cramming in those tasty ingredients. But each day the main feature was Sonoma Chicken Salad. This stuff was like crack to me! Once we left Tulsa, I found a Wholefoods in Florida and had to stop by.
When we got home I set about recreating the salad but in a lighter version. I’m not really a mayo fan, preferring mustard every day of the week. I served the Ladies who Lunch my lightened up version on my Birthday and have had several requests for the recipe. What better way to showcase than providing lunch to my team?
I needed to photograph it so was an opportunity to let them know how much I appreciate what they do every day. They were all standing up so at least I got some of them to sit down and have their lunch even if it is at the desk!
Lisa’s Lightened up Sonoma Chicken Salad – serves as many as you like but the following recipe is for 6 people
(Adapted from Wholefoods Market)
Shredded chicken breast (usually about 1 per every 2 persons – I used 4 singles)
¾ cup slivered almonds
2 cups red seedless grapes
3 stalks of celery thinly sliced
Prepared salad mix (come on, make it easy on yourself!)
1 cup no fat vanilla yogurt
¾ cup gluten free fine wholegrain mustard (Masterfoods is excellent and gluten free)
2 tsp poppy seeds
3 tsp apple cider vinegar* (see note below)
Salt and pepper to taste
Either in a bowl or a small food processor combine the dressing ingredients and refrigerate until you are ready to dress the salad. The dressing will keep in the fridge for about 2 days
Either poach the chicken breasts and shred when complete cooled or do yourself a favour and use leftovers from a previous night or buy a bbq/rotisserie chicken. Place the cold chicken in a large bowl and add the celery, grapes, almonds and dressing. Toss well to combine.
Serve on top of a bed of lettuce.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you that you will want to have this every day! And even though Homer Simpson, one of my friends, and now my family sing, “You don’t make friends with salad”, clearly they are wrong
PS – because I have a love/hate relationship with chicken as the one meat I will still consume, I wasn’t feelin’ it and substituted blanched broccoli in my salad
*There is a lot of information about whether vinegars are gluten free or not which can be very confusing. I have used apple cider vinegar many times and not had a reaction to it. It is my understanding that only malt vinegar is not gluten free but you should read the article below and decide for yourself. You may be able to substitute for a smaller amount of organic apple juice.
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