Confetti Chicken Salad: A Nutritious & Colorful Kick-Start To The New School Year

Life as a Grad Student while also being a Dietetic Intern does not allow for much free time.  As I experimented with dishes I could quickly prepare ahead of time that I could then throw in a lunch box as I ran out the door in the mornings, I soon realized my love and appreciation for a good chicken salad.  If made well, it can be a completely satisfying and energizing meal to keep you going well into the afternoon.

This has been my most recent and maybe favorite sweeter variety to date (I have a list of go-to sweet and go-to savory salads).  With it's hearty chunks of roasted chicken, diced sweet bell peppers, crunchy celery and tart dried cherries all combined together by a creamy orange - tarragon dressing (made with low fat Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise) it captures all the senses and leaves you energized and satisfied instead of stuffed and sluggish to get you through your meetings, your workouts, your games or your errands - whatever lies ahead.  I like to think of it as a healthier, colorful, and satisfying spin on the traditional chicken salad.

So, here you go...  my color-packed, flavor-packed Confetti Chicken Salad.

Happy Fueling!

 

Confetti Chicken Salad

Serves 4;  Serving Size = 1 cup

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 - 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (should make about 3 cups cooked diced)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Sea Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper + more to taste
  • 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup dried chopped cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped orange bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle the chicken with 2 teaspoons olive oil, sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and less than 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until no longer pink inside and juices run clear.
  3. While the chicken cooks, combine the yogurt, honey, orange juice, tarragon, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl.  Store the dressing in the refrigerator to keep cold.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, allow to cool for about 10 minutes and then chop and place in a large bowl.
  5. Add the dressing to the chicken and mix well to combine.
  6. Add the celery, peppers and cherries and mix well again to combine all ingredients.

Serve it Again!  This chicken salad is great because it can be served over a bed of mixed greens, stuffed in a whole - wheat pita or rolled up in a wrap.  Try it all different ways to put a spin on the same core recipe throughout the week!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):

Calories 270,  Protein 36 g,  Carb 22 g,  Total Fat 4 g (1 g sat, 1 g mono, 1 g poly),                  Added Sugar 13 g,  Sodium 678 mg,  Cholesterol 99 mg,  Potassium 603 mg,  Calcium 80 mg