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Apple-Basil Chicken Salad

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

In my last post, I shared my recipe for making Basil-Spinach Pesto, and described how it could be used to make a light sauce for pasta.  There are many other uses for pesto and one of my favorites is to combine pesto with a little mayonnaise and a ranch-style salad dressing to create a delicious chicken salad. I don’t usually list a brand name in my ingredient list, but Ken’s Light Options Parmesan & Peppercorn dressing has one of the lowest sodium levels of all the major salad dressings and there is no added MSG as a flavor enhancer. I learned this after spending much time reading labels in the grocery store…but actually, the flavor of this dressing is so good, you’ll never know that anything is “missing”. When the pesto, mayonnaise and salad dressing are mixed with the chicken and chopped apples, the resulting chicken salad is slightly green…but amazingly good!


Apple-Basil Chicken Salad
makes 6 – 8 servings

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp dried, minced onion
2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
½ tsp rubbed sage
½ tsp dried thyme leaves
½ tsp crushed, dried rosemary
½ tsp herbed salt blend
¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 cups water
(pre-cooked herb-roasted chicken from the market or deli can also be used)

3 Tbsp basil-spinach pesto
¼ cup light mayo
¼ Ken’s Light Options Parmesan & Peppercorn Dressing
½ Fuji apple, washed, dried and finely diced (peel remains)

Place the chicken breasts in a large sauce pan. Sprinkle the minced onion, parsley flakes, rubbed sage, thyme leaves, dried rosemary, herbed salt blend, and coarsely ground black pepper over the chicken breasts, then add the 2 cups of water. Bring the chicken breast mixture to a boil over medium heat, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to simmer the chicken mixture until the chicken can be easily pierced with a fork, approximately 25 – 30 minutes. Remove the covered pan from heat and allow the chicken to cool in the pan approximately 15 minutes. After the chicken has cooled, remove the chicken from the broth mixture and chop the chicken into a ¼ inch dice. (Use a wire sieve or strainer to strain the herbs from the broth remaining in the pan and then refrigerate the broth in a container to use within 5 days. The broth can also be frozen.)
In a large bowl, blend the basil pesto, light mayo, and Parmesan Peppercorn dressing until smooth. Stir the diced apple into the dressing mixture and stir gently until blended. Gradually add the diced chicken to the apples and dressing mixture and use a spatula to fold the mixture together until all the chicken is blended with the diced apples and dressing.

Serve as a spread on sandwiches or add a scoop to mixed greens for a salad.


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