Friday, September 27, 2013

Chicken Avocado Bacon Salad from Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go

After a light and refreshing Spicy Salmon & Cucumber "Noodle" Salad, I went to the other end of the salad spectrum with this Chicken Avocado Bacon Salad from Diana Rodgers' Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go.  

This salad is really a 3 for 1 recipe review as the salad recipe requires you to make her mayonnaise, ranch dressing  recipes as well.  

My first step was to turn the oven on to pre-heat to 350 degrees to cook some chicken for the salad.  I used some boneless chicken thighs sprinkled with Penzey's Sunny Paris seasoning.  I think she intends you to be able to use any roast chicken you have handy, but I didn't have any handy.  I covered a baking pan with foil to minimize mess.  When the oven was ready, I put the chicken in and set a timer for 30 minutes.   

Next, I heated a saute pan and added the bacon to fry.  

Mayonnaise & Ranch Dressing 

Once I had my chicken thighs in the oven and bacon frying away, I turned to making the dressing. I made the mayonnaise needed for the dressing the night before.  I used Diana's recipe included in the book.  I like her recipe because it uses an immersion blender.  

Don't forget the dill.

The recipe calls for Worcestershire Sauce.  While I have found a good paleo recipe for one, I've become pretty comfortable just substituting equal parts coconut aminos and fish sauce.  

I chopped up all of the veggie/herb ingredients measured/combined the remaining ingredients.  I mixed everything together with my handy immersion blender.  I ended up changing containers as I wasn't thinking very well the morning I made this and initially chose a Pyrex container that wasn't tall enough.  Oops.  A two cup measuring cup worked well.  

Once everything was blended, I put the dressing in the refrigerator to chill.  When the bacon was done, I drained it on paper towels.

Salad Ingredient Prep & Assembly:

I was going to take this salad with me on a work day, so I had to do some home chopping/prep work so I could assemble the salad at lunch time.  

Imagine chicken in this picture.
I chopped, washed and dried the lettuce in my salad spinner.

And cut up my other vegetable ingredients and put them in baggies to travel.  I waited to cut up my avocado until right before I ate lunch so it wouldn't brown.

I chopped up the bacon. 

And finally cut up the chicken thighs fresh out of the oven.  

When I was ready for lunch, I combined the ingredients and here's what I had.  Sorry for the bad picture, but I don't have my finest dishes for photography at work.  

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to find everything you need at your "big box" grocery store with the exception of maybe the coconut aminos for the Worcestershire Sauce substitution.  Diana recommends Lea & Perrins which is gluten free, but this is a no go for me as it has added sugars.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:  There are many components to this salad and you can do them all at once or at different times.  I paid close attention to my stop watch so I could break down my time for each part for you.  

Mayonnaise Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Ranch Dressing  Preparation Time (w/ pre-made Mayo):  11 minutes 15 seconds.  
Chicken Prep/Cooking:  38 minutes (30 minutes cooking time/8 minutes oven pre-heating time)
Bacon Cooking:  8.5 minutes
Salad Ingredient Preparation (veggie/meat chopping/measuring before work): 14.5 minutes
Final Salad Assembly: 5 minutes

Since I had my chicken and bacon cooking while I prepped the dressing and salad ingredients, my total preparation/cooking time including the mayo prep was 53 minutes.  

Clean Up:  Most everything I used to make this salad was able to go into the dishwasher.  Though there are a lot of components, I didn't think of the clean up as a pain. 

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs up for the Mayo, Dressing and Salad!  This salad is super creamy and rich as you might expect with bacon, avocado and creamy dressing.  Though it was a salad, it was a super filling lunch.  I enjoyed having extra ranch dressing for other salads and vegetables for the rest of the week. Truly decadent.  

This salad is great because you can make the various components at different times and bring it all together when you're ready.  

As with the Cucumber Salad, I've not seen where Diana has posted any of these three recipes online, so you'll need to buy the book to enjoy them.