He that sups upon salad, goes not to bed fasting
While I love winter and winter eats like hearty soups to rich curries, there is something about spring and summer that makes my heart sing. Spring also tends to alter my desire for making Shepherd’s Pie into cravings of salads, avocados and black olives. Consequently, I made a Chicken Rice Salad this week which spanned those three criteria.
Truth be told, years ago, when I was on holiday in Nebraska visiting my mother’s family, one of my aunts made a Chicken Orzo Salad. That salad had black olives and scallions and was dressed in garlic mayonnaise. I don’t have the recipe, nor do I know what cookbook it is from, but the below recipe is inspired by my memory of that tasty dish. Light and fresh, it pairs well with my Kale Baked Beans (coming soon).
Chicken Rice Salad
- 2 cups uncooked rice, washed and rinsed
- 4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite-size chunks
- 1 yellow pepper, washed and diced
- 15-20 scallions/spring onions, peeled, washed and sliced diagonally.
- 30-40 black olives, sliced in thirds
- 2 slightly firm avocados, diced
- 1 cup pineapple* chunks (optional)
- ½ cup sliced Almonds, toasted
- 1 cup mayonnaise**
- ½ tsp garlic salt
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- dash lemon juice
- Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove as per packet directions.
- Remove rice from pot/rice cooker and allow to cool in a bowl.
- Once cool, add the pepper, scallion and olives to the rice.
- Meanwhile, place the chicken in a pot with enough water to cover and place on the stove at medium-high heat.
- Bring to the boil, reduce and simmer for around 15 minutes. You want the chicken to be cooked through but not rubbery.
- Drain the chicken and allow to cool before adding it to the rice and vegetables.
- Toast the almonds: Pre-heat the grill/broiler on a low heat (around 100°C), spread the almonds evenly on foil and toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Salt gently and then allow the almonds to cool. You can then add them to the salad.
- Mix the mayonnaise, garlic and garlic salt together. If needed, add more garlic salt or mayonnaise, as per your personal taste.
- Mix the salad thoroughly and then stir in the dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, add the pineapple and avocado to the salad. Mix gently.
*For best results put the pineapple in the fridge overnight. Also, you can use fresh or tinned pineapple. I prefer to use fresh pineapple. If using tinned pineapple, drain before adding to the salad and only use pineapple in juice. **If you don’t like mayonnaise, or can’t eat it, I’d suggest using green pesto or an avocado dressing instead. If serving to several friends and you aren’t sure if they like mayonnaise, don’t mix the mayonnaise in but allow everyone to spoon some on their salad instead.
Make it for a smaller crowd: This recipe is easily halved, when making for myself or a smaller number of friends.
For lunch the next day: If you are preparing this for a lunch the night before, add the mayonnaise, pineapple and avocado in the morning before you leave for work.
Make wraps: Try wrapping this mix in lettuce leaves or tortillas for a change.
Make it your own: Add more or less of any vegetables as per personal taste. Add more garlic or mayonnaise as needed too.