Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing

This is a a great entrée salad recipe I found on Epicurious. I made a few shortcuts because I was limited on time…Okay, I was starving and took shortcuts.

For seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For salad dressing
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 5-ounce package mixed baby greens
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1/4 cup raisins

Make seasoning:
Mix all ingredients in small bowl to blend.
Mandy’s shortcut: I used onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayan pepper, salt and a pre-mixed Jamaican jerk seasoning.

Make salad dressing:
Whisk 3/4cup buttermilk, mayonnaise, chopped green onion, chopped fresh parsley, apple cider vinegar, garlic, lemon peel, and 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning mixture in medium bowl until well blended.

Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store remaining seasoning at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate dressing.)
Mandy’s shortcut: I used an organic ranch dressing from the jar and added some of my seasoning mixture to spice it up a bit.

I started by rinsing my boneless skinless chicken pieces in water and patting dry. Then rub seasoning mixture onto chicken. Place chicken in zip top bag and top with spicy ranch dressing. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). I’m not feeling “the grill” tonight.

Remove chicken breasts from buttermilk (spicy ranch), shaking off excess.
Mandy’s addition: I rolled the chicken in rice krispy cereal (I’m out of bread crumbs) and sautéed in olive oil until cooked through. I liked the crunch it gave, but next time I would probably smash the cereal first instead of leaving it whole.

The original recipe will have you put chicken on the grill until just cooked through,
about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

Combine mixed greens, pecans, and raisins in large bowl.
Mandy’s version: No raisins in food – gross. I really wanted to buy these candied pecans at the store, but they were $6 for ½ cup. Yikes! So I got a small package of plain pecan halves. If I wasn’t starving and felt more adventurous I would look up a recipe for “candy-ing” your own pecans. For now, I’m using them plain.

Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper. Divide salad among 4 plates. Cut chicken on sharp diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange atop salads and serve.


  1. Hi Mandy!
    Adopt a blogger has started again. If you go to my new blog: and scroll down a few posts, you'll see where to sign up!

    This recipe looks like such a unique way to make chicken salad. Looks delicious!

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