Chicken salad with pasta and pomegranate

Pomegranate is one thing I enjoy a lot and it’s so festive. It gives a holiday look to everything it’s on and I find it irresistible! So the other day I improvised a bit and put together a not so difficult chicken salad. I used leftover roast chicken, so that’s a plus. But you can use ham or turkey if you prefer. I also added some chorizo that gave it a nice kick.

To make the chicken salad

To make the vinaigrette

In a bowl put the mustard and 3-4 tbsps of the olive oil. Mix really well until the two ingredients are nicely combined. Thereafter, you add the rest of the olive oil and mix again. Finally, add the balsamic vinegar, sesame oil and orange juice and give it a last mix. Depending on the type of olive oil you are using the vinaigrette will be less or more bitter. If it’s too bitter, you can balance it out with more orange juice. Personally, I like it bitter because it gives a nice taste to the salad when poured. Keep in mind that it will dilute a lot when mixed in the salad, therefore the taste will be weaker.

Chicken salad with pasta and pomegranate

I made this chicken salad with green, leftover chicken, pomegranate and pasta the other day improvising a bit I admit. But it came out really good and I wanted to share it with you! It is perfect to complete your holiday table. You can also use ham or turkey instead of chicken. 

  • 150 g (5.3 oz) dry pasta ((uncooked))
  • 500 g (1.1 lbs) chicken meat, shredded ((can also use ham or turkey))
  • 200 g (7 oz) lettuce, roughly chopped ((about 1 small lettuce head))
  • 10 brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 80 g (abt 3 oz) chorizo, sliced
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tsp mustard
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  1. Firstly boil the pasta according to packet instructions, dry in a colander and set aside.

  2. Secondly chop the lettuce into chunky pieces. Thinly slice the brussel sprouts, shred the chicken meat and slice up the chorizo.

  3. If you have whole pomegranates, slice of the two edges first. Then peel off the skin as if you were peeling clementines then the pomegranate will come apart in pieces. You can deseed it easily. Alternatively you can buy pomegranate seeds from the store.

To make the vinaigrette

  1. In a bowl put the mustard and 3-4 tbsps of the olive oil. Mix really well until the two ingredients are nicely combined. 

  2. Thereafter, you add the rest of the olive oil and mix again. Finally, add the balsamic vinegar, sesame oil and orange juice and give it a last mix. 

Depending on the type of olive oil you are using the vinaigrette will be less or more bitter. If it’s too bitter, you can balance it out with more orange juice. Keep in mind that it will dilute a lot when mixed in the salad, therefore the taste will be weaker.

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Summery Watermelon Salad with Feta

Watermelon, tomatoes and feta cheese go together really well. Yes, they actually do! It makes a beautiful combination and is perfect for a light meal. It’s fresh, earthy and acidic at the same time. It’s a salad, but it’s got fruit in it. And that gives it a more refreshing tone. Oh and the barley rusk bites are such an earthy surprise, that remind your palate that “Yes, hold on, this is definitely lunch!”

 

Such a simple salad, but full of contradictions that will surprise your taste buds. Did I mention that it takes like uhmmm… less than 10 mins to make? Yeah, sooo quick. Just thinking of the sweet watermelon hitting that acidic and milky feta cheese makes my mouth water! I love cheese with fruits, like for example melon with parmesan or some kind of spicy gruyere cheese. I just can’t help myself! I can talk for ages about cheese and fruit, so let’s just stick to the watermelon salad for now. 🙂

Watermelon Salad with feta

Making the salad

It really is so easy to put together this little masterpiece…

Get your hands on a really sweet and red watermelon. Cut up a few slices. Resist the urge to shove the delicious fruit straight in your mouth and carry on with cutting it up into medium sized bites.

Chop up the tomatoes. Again friendly reminder, get really good quality tomatoes. With such humble and few ingredients, there is nowhere to hide. You need quality ingredients.  Then put tomatoes and watermelon together in a bowl.

Crumble the feta cheese on top. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice and rosewater and drizzle onto your salad. Scatter a few barley rusk bites on top and that’s it!

I get my rusks from a Greek deli. If you can’t find mini bites, you can use one big rusk broken in pieces. Alternatively, you can use barley bread. Slice it up, bake in the oven until dry and break it up in pieces.

Summery watermelon salad with feta

Summery watermelon salad with feta. It’s fresh, earthy and acidic at the same time. A mouthful of tasty explosion that will refresh your senses!

  • 5 red tomatoes, medium sized, sliced
  • 450 g (1 lb) watermelon flesh, chopped in big bites (cleaned watermelon)
  • handful barley rusk bites
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) feta cheese, crumbled

For the vinaigrette

  • 45 ml (3 tbsps) olive oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsps) orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) rosewater
  1. Get some really sweet and red watermelon. Cut it up into medium sized bites.

  2. Chop up the tomatoes and then put tomatoes and watermelon together in a bowl.

  3. Crumble the feta cheese on top.

  4. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice and rosewater and drizzle onto your salad. Scatter a few barley rusk bites on top and that’s it!

Tomato Loaded Barley Rusks – Greek Dakos

If you want to impress your friends with a tasty Greek dish, you must try this one. It is super simple to put together and will more than satisfy your tastebuds. You really need to find good quality tomatoes, as this is the main ingredient. Here in Dubai the season for tomatoes is now, so you can find good ones. In my case though, tomatoes come from my back yard. Have planted both cherry and  beefsteak tomatoes. They are so juicy and full of flavor.

Barley Rusks have a great, strong earthy flavor. Barley, thought to have been domesticated in Southwestern Asia, has been consumed extensively throughout history. Mostly in the Mediterranean world, but also in ancient India and the Arab world (Source: “On Food and Cooking”, by Harold McGee). Barley contains lots of fiber, iron, magnesium and vitamins among other nutrients. It’s also thought to have cholesterol-lowering abilities (Source: “On Food and Cooking”, by Harold McGee) and to improve blood sugar circulation. You can find barley rusks in any Greek (or even generally Mediterranean) Deli. I remember, there were quite a few by Bayswater in London. I always loved taking the tube over there and spent hours picking ingredients, brainstorming recipes, maybe grabbing a bite to eat.

So back to the recipe 🙂 First thing to do is roughly chop your tomatoes and put them aside. If you are using, fleshy beef tomatoes, you can also grate them. Entirely up to you.

This time I used round rusks. Its basically one round rusk cut in two. So take each round disk and run it under cold water for literally 2-3 seconds. They tend to be hard but eventually the water will soak in and they become softer as they stay. Don’t over water them because they might become too soft and crumble. Remember olive oil and tomato will go on top thus providing even more moisture.

Right after, put them on a plate. Wait 1-2 min and then discard the water from the plate. Drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Load your rusk with chopped tomatoes, salt to taste. Sprinkle some caper berries, crumbled feta and a bit of oregano (oregano gives it such an aroma!). And that’s it, ready to be devoured. This dish is perfect for sharing as a side or even as a light lunch.

 

Tomato Loaded Barley Rusks – Greek Dakos

This is ultimate tomato side dish that will bring a Greek touch on your table!

  • 1 double round Barley Rusk
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 300 g (11 oz) Tomatoes
  • 60 g (2 oz) Feta Cheese
  • 2 big caper berries
  • Oregano
  • seasalt
  1. Roughly chop your tomatoes and put them aside. If you are using, fleshy beefsteak tomatoes, you can grate them.

  2. Take each round disk and run it under cold water for literally 2-3 seconds and plate  them. Don’t over water them because they might become too soft and crumble.

  3. Drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.

  4. Load your rusk with chopped tomatoes, salt to taste.

  5. Sprinkle some caper berries, crumbled feta and a bit of oregano.

 

Chicken Salad with Kale and winter veggies

This salad came to be as my plan B 🙂

salad-1

I went to buy blood oranges for a blood orange yogurt breakfast recipe. And surprise surprise, they were out. Hence Plan B. Chicken Salad with Kale and winter veggies. Some of the best things in life happen by accident. Though I have to confess here that it wasn’t a complete accident. I was working on chicken salad with winter veggies in my mind. And I found this gorgeous tender Kale. Brighter green in color, kind of purplish around the stem. Perfect for salad! Had some really nice heirloom carrots in the fridge. So voila, my tasty plan B in action.

The first thing to do is cook the chicken. Simple process. Wash the chicken breasts and grind some salt and pepper on each side. In a cast iron skillet (or any oven safe pan) heat up some olive oil. Saute the breasts both sides until they are nicely browned, around 10 mins on medium high. Stick the skillet in the oven for about 20 mins at 180 C / 350 F or until they are thoroughly cooked inside out. Set aside to cool down. Slice it later on for the salad.

salad-1-10

While chicken is cooking, prepare the Quinoa. Bring water to boil and add the quinoa. Let it cook for around 20 mins over medium fire. It should be relatively crunchy at the end.

Prepare your vegetables also. Wash them all very well. Cut the kale in big pieces. Peel the carrots and grate them finely. Cut the red cabbage in fine slices carefully with your knife.

salad-1-7-5

Make the dressing. In a bowl mix extra virgin olive, mustard, almond oil, white vinegar and orange juice for some natural sweetness (if you have blood oranges, even better!). It should be a fairly thin mixture when done. If its too thick, you can always add some more orange juice.

Get a nice and big bowl. Add the quinoa, kale and carrots. Sprinkle on top with the red cabbage slices. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Scatter the chicken all around and drizzle over the dressing. I guarantee you, you will love this dish!

salad-1-7

Serves 2-3

Time: 40 mins in total

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa + 1.5 cups water

2 medium chicken breasts, about 300 g / 10.5 oz

60 g / 2 oz fresh kale

2 medium carrots, about 160 g / 5.5 oz, finely grated

1/2 cup red cabbage, finely chopped

seasalt, pepper

 

For the Vinaigrette

3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

3 tsps plain mustard

3 tsps almond oil

3 tsps white vinegar

2 tbsps orange juice

 

DIRECTIONS 

Wash the chicken breasts and grind some salt and pepper on each side. In a cast iron skillet (or any oven safe pan) heat up some olive oil. Saute the breasts both sides until they are nicely browned, around 10 mins on medium high. Stick the skillet in the oven for about 20 mins at 180 C / 350 F or until they are thoroughly cooked inside out. Set aside to cool down. Slice it later on for the salad.

While chicken is cooking, prepare the Quinoa. Bring water to boil and add the quinoa. Let it cook for around 20 mins over medium fire.

Wash your vegetables very well. Cut the kale in big pieces. Peel the carrots and grate them finely. Cut the red cabbage in fine slices carefully with your knife.

Make the dressing. In a bowl mix extra virgin olive, mustard, almond oil, white vinegar and orange juice. It should be a fairly thin mixture when done. If its too thick add some more orange juice.

In a big bowl add the quinoa, kale and carrots. Sprinkle on top with the red cabbage slices. Add a little salt and pepper. Scatter the chicken all around and drizzle over the dressing.