while some recipes are a challenge to get just right in the kitchen, others are easy… right up until i try to name them. sometimes this leads to stumbling around on google, trying to figure out what other people type in when they are looking for what i made. i try different combinations, trying to come up with something that is descriptive but not too descriptive (i.e. listing out every ingredient in the recipe name).
take this recipe, for example. should i just call it “orange chicken salad”? that’s simple, to the point. except that 99% of “chicken salad” recipes have mayo, which this definitely does not (which i think is a bonus for my fellow mayo-haters). so maybe i should call it “mayo-free orange chicken salad”.
but i’d rather describe it by what it does have, the ingredients that make it unique. so maybe “orange chicken salad with almonds and olives” is the best name for it. except that people just seeing that name without reading me going on about how good it is and how well the flavors work together might think that orange + almonds + olives is not such a good idea (it is, though. truly.).
but wait! there’s also avocado in here! the internet loves avocado! so maybe i should call it “chicken, avocado, and orange salad”. that also gets us away from the mayo mindset, right? i think maybe we have a winner.
luckily, coming up with the right name for this chicken, avocado, and orange salad (yeah, i think that works…) was the most difficult part of the process. i saw a similar-ish recipe in a cookbook i had borrowed from the library (seriously, one of my favorite things to do; browsing the cookbook section at the library is like strolling through paradise) and decided to try it.
well, except that you know that i modified the original recipe based on my flavor (tangy!) and texture (crunchy!) preferences… and, let’s be honest, what i had in my fridge at the time. in went the crunchy red cabbage, the toasted slivered almonds, the cilantro, and the avocado. salad without avocado is… a waste of an opportunity to eat avocado.
i whipped up a tangy, citrusy (mayo free!) vinaigrette dressing to tie the whole thing together and was rewarded with a satisfying, crunchy, savory, tangy, fresh, winter-is-still-here-but-i’m-sick-of-heavy-food salad. whether we call it “chicken, avocado, and orange salad” or just delicious turns out to not much matter…
did you make this recipe? i’d love to know what you think of it! leave a comment below and share a picture on instagram with the hashtag #tastyseasons.
chicken, avocado, and orange salad is a crunchy, bright salad perfect for late winter and early spring! tangy citrus, creamy avocado, crunchy almonds, and salty olives combine in this perfect gluten, dairy, and mayo free salad. enjoy this satisfying but not heavy, easy dinner tonight!
- 1 large or 2 small oranges (i used blood oranges though naval or any kind would work)
- 2 cups (192 g. / 6 ¾ oz.) thinly sliced red cabbage
- 8 oz. (227 g.) leftover cooked chicken breast, shredded or cubed
- ½ an avocado, sliced
- ½ cup (57 g. / 2 oz.) slivered almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup (36 g. / 1 ¼ oz.) pitted and sliced black olives (i used kalamon, which are similar to kalamata)
- ¼ cup (5 g.) fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all of the ingredients for the orange vinaigrette. shake well and set aside.
- to prepare the orange(s), cut both ends off of 1 of the oranges and stand the flat end on a cutting board. using a sharp knife, cut the peel and white pith away from the orange. turn the orange on its side and slice into discs, then separate segments to create chunks. repeat with the other orange, if applicable.
- combine all of the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. shake the dressing once more then drizzle about half of the vinaigrette over salad. toss well to incorporate the ingredients and coat with dressing. taste and add more vinaigrette, if desired; i had a bit of dressing leftover. serve immediately. i enjoyed leftovers the following day, though the avocado had started to brown. salad leftovers are always best when eaten quickly, though this salad doesn't have any wilt-prone lettuce, which buys you a little bit of extra time, especially if you just add the dressing as you go. store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator, ideally keeping the dressing separate.
adapted from orange olive chicken in primal blueprint quick & easy meals (affiliate).
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