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Welcome, Spring: Lemony artichoke chicken salad with carrots

chicken salad

As usual around this time of year, I find myself in a bit of a food rut. It feels like we should be eating local fresh asparagus and ripe sweet strawberries, but our finicky Minnesota climate just can’t decide if it wants to launch into full-on spring or not. 

 

So, I wait patiently for these beautiful gems to show up at the farmers market, because nothing comes close to tasting as good. In the meantime, lighter fare is slowly creeping into my subconscious, and I find myself using my Dutch oven less and less.

 

Back in my college days (many years ago), I worked as a caterer. I really enjoyed working the events and learning about different foods. One of my favorite dishes we did was one that is similar to the salad I’m sharing today, commonly known to us then as the “president’s salad”, because it was the president of the university’s favorite salad and he always requested it for his catered functions. It was delicious.

 

This is my version of that salad.   like to keep things simple and light and pack it full of robust lemon flavor. It is definitely customizable, and adding pasta stretches it a bit for larger crowds (just double the amount of sauce), which is nice for summer gatherings.  

 

Some people may prefer the sauce in more abundance, so adding a bit more mayonnaise is completely doable. Surprisingly, the combination of lemon, artichokes, and carrots are a fantastic match and can make it feel like you’re eating spring, even if you are still waiting for it to fully arrive. Finishing it with creamy cashews add a nice crunch that this salad definitely needs. I hope you are all enjoying a lovely spring wherever you are!

 

Lemony Artichoke Chicken Salad with Carrots

serves 4


2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, roasted and shredded or about 2 1/2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded

4 large carrots, peeled and julienned (or coarse grated)

1 small celery stalk, chopped

1 14-ounce can of quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed

handful of cashews and extra cilantro, for garnish

 

Sauce:

1/4 cup mayonnaise (or more, if desired)

juice of 1 medium lemon

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 garlic clove, minced

salt and pepper

 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on both sides of the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes (the time will vary depending upon the size of the breasts) or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F. Remove from oven. Cover with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. When cool, shred with forks or your hands.

 

In a small bowl, whisk the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

 

Combine the shredded chicken, artichoke hearts, carrots, and celery in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the contents and use tongs to gently fold everything together (so the chicken doesn’t fall apart too much). Taste and re-season with salt and pepper, if necessary. This salad is best if it spends a little time in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld. Serve with cashews and additional cilantro sprinkled on top. Enjoy!

 

Laurie Jesch-Kulseth is a lifelong home cook who has always believed that eating healthy food is an important part of a balanced life. A wife and mother of two, she pours her heart into the meals she makes for her family. She photographs and writes about it all on her blog, Relishing It, where a version of this story first appeared.

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