Monday, July 28, 2014

[Gluten-Free] Basil Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Have you ever had a staring contest with the fridge?  You know what I mean... you're hungry so you open the fridge looking for something easy to grab and then... nothing. So the staring contest ensues. You eye the half-eaten jar of olives in the back and the questionable leftovers from last week.  But that's not really what you want.  So you just stare.  And if you're serious about staring contests, this could take a while.  You can end up with an empty stomach and a high electric bill.  Not good.

But don't worry, I have found the solution to your fridge staring problems...

Homemade. Chicken. Salad.  It's brilliant!  You can make it ahead of time.  It keeps in the fridge for days.  It's easy to grab.  You don't have to warm it up.  You can turn it into a quick sandwich, put it on top of arugula, or just eat it straight out of the bowl (that's Patrick's favorite way).  And it's healthy.  Oh, and you can put whatever you want in it. I'm telling you, brilliant.

You can even entertain with chicken salad.  Recently, we had some friends come over for an afternoon at the beach.  Our plan was to walk along the beach, stopping at whatever beach bar looked the best.  I had a feeling we'd be hungry by the time we got back.  So, I made my Gluten-Free Basil Chicken Salad Sandwiches in the morning, wrapped them in foil, and kept them in the fridge.  When we walked in the door,  all I had to do was hand them out!  It was so easy and everyone loved them.

But I must say, it's Patrick who is the driving force behind my chicken salad.  He is very good at staring contests.  I will confess, one of my favorite things to do is to make a big batch of it and not tell him.  Then I just wait and watch his reaction when he opens the fridge looking for a snack.  He always does a double take and then his eyes light up. There it is, chicken salad right in front of him.  And no staring contest (or plate for that matter) needed.

[Gluten-Free] Basil Chicken Salad Sandwiches
My Go-To Chicken Salad is a staple in my fridge.  But I’m always looking to add different flavors to keep it interesting.  For this one, I decided to add fresh basil and green onions.   It’s a healthy and tasty meal that you turn into a sandwich or just eat straight out of the bowl.

Makes 3 cups chicken salad or 6 sandwiches

For chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken 
       breasts (about .50 lb each)  
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, 
1 teaspoon salt, separated         
1 teaspoon black pepper, separated

For salad:
¾ cup Vegenaise or 
       gluten-free mayonnaise
½ cup finely chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
½ cup finely chopped Gala apple
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dried cranberries
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
¼ cup finely chopped basil leaves
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

12 slices of gluten-free bread (either regular or cinnamon raisin bread)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chicken breasts top side down in a baking dish.  Drizzle 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper on each chicken breast.  Flip over and repeat.  Bake for 33 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Immediately, cover chicken first with parchment paper and then aluminum foil.  Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting into small dice. 

Place diced chicken in a large bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients (except for the bread) and mix well.  Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until cold.

When you’re ready to make the sandwiches, use about ½ cup of chicken salad on each sandwich.  (If your favorite gluten-free bread tends to get soggy easily, lightly toast it before assembling).  Slice diagonally and assemble on a platter.   Enjoy!

photos by Angela Sackett

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