Sunday, November 11, 2012

Southwest Chicken Salad

I have a special guest arriving today with multiple dietary challenges, including
  • gluten free
  • soy free
  • egg free
  • dairy free
  • peanut free
  • low fat

among other allergies and dietary requirements. She even has an intolerance for iodine; so she can't eat seaweed!

I wanted to make something that we could all enjoy on Shabbat, and that my guest could also eat when she comes. My husband went crazy for this. Inspired by Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass, I created this festive low-fat chicken salad. I've done lots of gluten-free, egg-free experimenting in the last month. I hope to post some of those ideas this month, so stay tuned!


  • juice of one lemon (lime would be even better)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of salsa (or tomatoes and chilli pepper)
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 3-6 scallions (depending on size) - chopped
  • 2 full chicken breasts (3-4 boneless skinless half breasts will work)
  • 2 red peppers - roasted
  • 1-2 avocados
  • approx 1/2 cup of sweet corn
  • Optional: fresh parsley or cilantro
  1. Poach the chicken. (I steamed it in my pressure cooker. See details below.)
  2. Blend in a food processor or with a hand blender: lemon juice, garlic, salsa, and olive oil.  Optional: Mix the chopped scallions into the dressing in this stage to take some of the bite out.
  3. Dice chicken (when cool), avocado, and roasted peppers, and mix with corn and dressing.
You could serve this warm or cold on lettuce, in a tortilla or taco shell, on a sandwich, or plain.

My vegetarian mother didn't instill me with much expertise for meat and poultry. Most of my go-to techniques to make chicken breast moist and tasty include a wheat product, fat, or soy sauce. But I knew there had to be a better way!

To steam chicken in pressure cooker:

  1. Put vegetable scraps in the bottom of the pressure cooker such as carrot peels or carrots, celery tops, over-the-hill parsley, wilted part of scallions, and mushroom stems.
  2. Add about 2 cups of water and steamer basket (optional).
  3. Add chicken breast, lock the lid, and turn the burner to high.
  4. Once the cooker comes up to full pressure, lower the heat and set the timer for 4-7 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.
  5. After 4-7 minutes, turn off the heat and let the pressure naturally come down for another 4-5 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.
  6. Check for done-ness, then let the chicken cool.
  7. Pour the remaining liquid through a mesh strainer. See if the carrots are worth saving (especially for kids or babies.) Now you have chicken broth!
If you don't have an immediate use for the broth, it can be frozen. I like to freeze it in small portions in a silicone muffin tray, then I transfer it to a plastic bag. I use 3-4 broth "muffins" to make myself a little bowl of quick miso soup or to flavor rice.

Related (Gluten Free Chicken Recipes):

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