This Mediterranean Roast Chicken Salad takes all of forty minutes but you could save some time by buying a rotisserie from the grocery store. It’s loaded with ingredients inspired from the Mediterranean region including clementines, mint, basil, pistachios, and a tahini lemon dressing with a honey drizzle.
I guess I have a thing for salads; they’re so versatile and fun to experiment with. It’s hard to make a bad salad at all but if you stick with a few rules it’ll be hard not to make a great salad.
I like to mix up my greens. You need something with a little crunch and something to add a lot of flavor and color. For this salad I used romaine for crunch and some fresh basil and mint for bold herbaceous flavors. Mint isn’t just for ice cream and pillow mints. Use it in salads!
Vegetables and fruits are a key aspect to a great salad. I’d sooner omit the leafy greens than than veggies. Grape tomatoes, as opposed to round or Roma, are great in salads because they tend to be more consistent in flavor and texture. The clementines add a bright, sweet, citrus profile that’s found in so many Mediterranean cuisines. Plus they’re the perfect size for salads and they’re cute. Super thin slices of red onion round out the acid and balance the sweetness.
Crunchy bits in salads are always awesome. They balance the broad leafy greens and the soft fruits and vegetables. At first I was going to go with boring old sliced almonds but I went with pistachios instead. Pistachios are sweeter, might be a little considered more exotic than almonds, are higher in potassium and protein, and they just taste way better than almonds. Actually, almonds would be slightly more healthy than pistachios overall. You can’t keep the kids busy opening almonds though, can ya? I crushed about a dozen pistachios to dust over the salad and left about the same amount whole mixed in the greens.
The dressing consists of a couple table spoons of tahini whisked in to the juice of one lemon. Then I drizzle in my best olive oil as I continued whisking to emulsify the dressing. If you don’t have tahini you’re going to completely ruin the whole ‘Mediterraneanness’ of this salad so just give the whole thing up. Kidding… you can use dijon, honey, yogurt, or anchovy paste instead of hummus as an emulsifier. I like to reserve a couple handfuls of dry salad as I slowly dress the salad. This prevents over dressing and the extra dry salad saves me in case I do over dress. I finished the salad off at the end with some shaved parmesan and a drizzle of honey over the whole plate.
Oh right, the chicken! This salad is really so good that I sort of forgot about and picked around the chicken. My initial plan was to roast then cube the chicken as an more integral part of the salad itself. I still have half a chicken left so maybe I’ll post a ninja update tomorrow. To roast the chicken I used my split roast method from July’s Split Roast Chicken recipe. This five pound chicken took just 35 minutes at a constant 425°F.
There’s a bunch of ingredients in this Mediterranean Roast Chicken Salad that all work and play lovely together. It’s like a song of salad on your plate. Possibly aside from the chicken, I don’t think there’s anything I’d add or remove from this salad. Maybe olives? Nah. Feta? Hmm. No – use good parmesan and it melts in your mouth. Hot peppers. Yeah – I might add some pepperoncini.
Mediterranean Roast Chicken Salad with citrus, herbs, and pistachios
- 5 lbs chicken
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 1 head romain lettuce washed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 bunch fresh basil
- 1 handful fresh mint
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup pistachio half crushed
- 1 pint grape tomatoes sliced in half
- 2-3 clementines separated
- 2 tbs tahini
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- fresh parmesan reggiano
- Orange Blossom Honey
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Divide chicken in half by removing back bone and splitting with a chef's knife down the center of the breast bone. Lay out flesh side up on a lined sheet pan to roast.
- Salt and pepper thoroughly. Lightly coat with oil and massage. Roast for 30 minutes then check temp. Chicken is done at 155°F-160°F.
- Wash and completely dry all greens and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, whole pistachios, clementines, and red onions. Add 1/4 of the dressing at a time and toss salad until just coated. Set in refrigerator until chicken is done.
- Allow chicken to cool to room temp before carving. Option 1, serve breast sliced over salad (see photo). Option 2, cube chicken breast and toss in with salad.
- Garnish salad with shaved parmesan and crushed pistachios. Drizzle with orange blossom honey.