Light Italian chicken salad recipe has a roasted garlic dressing you’ll make over and over. Serve it in radicchio cups for a low carb / paleo lunch (without the Parmesan cheese) or even as an appetizer! Only 195 calories per serving.
There’s a recipe in my cookbook for the best egg salad in the world, where I finally figured out how to do use Greek yogurt properly. Before that, I just cursed my mother. I was a mayo girl. I had tried for years to swap yogurt for mayo, but the tang was always too detectable. I even tried sour cream, before nearly calling it quits.
Then, I got it.
Growing up, when my mom made me chicken salad or egg salad, it was chicken and mayo, eggs and mayo, with celery, salt, and pepper. Mayo was the main flavor. So when I went about lightening, years later, I couldn’t very well swap in nonfat yogurt and expect it’d be this seamless process. I had some work to do.
It occurred to me that if I made yogurt simply the creamy binder, and added a whole lot of other bold flavors, I wouldn’t even taste it in the end.
Enter roasted garlic.
First, I made the garlic. The next part is very important, so pay attention: resist the urge to eat all of it. OK, next step. Blend plain nonfat Green yogurt with that unholy amount of roasted garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and mix it with the chicken. Stir in chopped fresh basil, roasted red peppers, and just a handful of Parmesan cheese and serve it in radicchio cups for a light but ultra-satisfying meal. Chicken salad, Italian-style!
If you’re even the slightest bit intimidated by roasting garlic, don’t be! Grab a head of garlic, cut 1/4″ off the top just to expose all of the cloves, drizzle with the tiniest amount of olive oil, wrap the whole thing in foil, and bake at 400 for 35 to 40 minutes, until you can slip a fork through the cloves easily. If you like garlic, this is the warmest, sweetest, and most fragrant it’ll ever be. It’s far less sharp than if you ate it raw, so don’t be worried about how much I called for in the recipe either. Or do be worried? Who knows.
Light Italian Chicken Salad with Roasted Garlic
- 1 head garlic
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 12 ounces cooked shredded or chopped chicken breast about 4 cups
- ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 juice of 1 lemon about 2 tablespoons
- .125 tsp salt
- .125 tsp pepper
- 6 roasted red peppers chopped (about ¾ of a jar, packed in water)
- ⅔ cup fresh basil chopped
- 8 leaves radicchio
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel off as much of the papery skin from the garlic head without separating the cloves. Placing the head on its side, cut ¼- to ½-inch off the top of the garlic to expose all of the cloves. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the top, wrap the head tightly in aluminum foil, and bake on a sheet pan or in a muffin tin for 40 minutes. It will be done when it’s a deep golden color and you can easily insert a fork into the cloves. Let the garlic cool slightly.
- Squeeze the soft cloves into the bowl of a food processor and add the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper (just over ¼ teaspoon each). Pulse to combine.
- In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken and roasted garlic dressing. Stir in the roasted red peppers, and basil. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Divide the chicken salad among the radicchio cups and top each with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. The chicken salad will keep, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.