Grilled Balsamic Chicken Salad a la Waldorf

We all have food cravings. Mine tend to consist of pizza, burgers, sushi, steak and Hagen Daaz’s chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Every so often, however, I’m blindsided by the sudden urge for a dish that my husband introduced me to a few years back while dining at a restaurant in New York. It was the Chicken Waldorf Salad.

I remember the creaminess of the dressing and how the motley of ingredients popped with unexpected freshness and flavors, turning every bite I took into an uncharted adventure. This dish very quickly became my decadent go-to for lunch during the many trips to the beach I’ve taken with friends. And today, I share my rendition with you.

Whether you serve this salad over a bed of greens, on a crispy baguette or as an appetizer with crackers, the end result will be the same. Whoever eats this will want to have it again and again!

Grilled Balsamic Chicken Salad a la Waldorf

(recipe serving size – 4-6 people)

For the chicken:

1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts (2 pieces)

1 tb olive oil

1 tb balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp granulated garlic

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/8 tsp cracked black pepper

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Cooking spray for the grill pan

Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and spices in a bowl. Pierce chicken breasts with a fork and place the chicken into a ziplock bag. Pour the marinade into the bag, moving the chicken around to make sure the pieces are coated completely. Let the chicken marinade for 30 minutes outside of the refrigerator or in the refrigerator for up to overnight.

Place your grill pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is very hot, coat the pan with cooking spray and cook the chicken for 6-8 minutes on each side or until the poultry is cooked all the way through. Tent the chicken while cooking with aluminum foil to aid the cooking process.

Remove the pan from the heat. Place the chicken onto a plate and let it cool. Once the temperature of the poultry has gone down, cut the chicken roughly into 1/2 inch cubes and place the chicken in the refrigerator.

For the dressing:

1 1/2 cups of greek yogurt

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tb parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

1/4 tsp sriracha

1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine the ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.

For the fruit and vegetable additions:

6 oz grape tomatoes

4 oz red seedless grapes

3 oz pecans

2 stalks of celery

Cut each of the tomatoes and the grapes in half. Coarsely chop the pecans. Slice the stalks of celery length-wise down the center and then cross-wise into roughly 1/4 inch pieces.

Bringing it all together:

Chopped parsley for garnish

Cracked black pepper for garnish and additional heat

In a large serving bowl, combine the chicken with the fruit and vegetables. Pour the dressing over the content in the bowl and stir in a gentle folding manner to coat. Seal the serving dish with plastic wrap and let the salad rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour, giving time for the chicken to absorb some of the dressing.

Garnish with the chopped parsley and cracked black pepper and rest is up to you!


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