With temperatures rising, the last thing you want to do is devour a meal that could make slipping into that itsy bitsy bikini a bit more difficult than usual.
That’s where salads come in.
But this Summer Picnic Salad isn’t your typical combo of romaine, veggies and boring dressing. Did someone say fried chicken? Yes, thanks to Just Salad’s Executive Chef Laura Pensiero who developed this delicious, seasonally inspired dish.
The oven-fried chicken packs the same flavor, seasoning, and crispiness of the classic recipe, without all the jean-busting grease. Add a few juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, reduced fat cheddar, and chilled avocado dressing for a meal that clocks in under 400 calories.
The Summer Picnic Salad is certain to become your new, not-so-guilty pleasure. Here’s how to make it:
Summer Picnic Salad Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups of panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 4 split boneless and skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels from the cob
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 lb. iceberg, torn into bite size pieces
- 1 medium seedless cucumber, peeled in alternate rows, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, rinsed and chopped
- 4 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese
- First, prepare chicken by preheating the oven to 400 F. Pour the oil on to a large sheet pan or baking pan with sides, tilting to evenly distribute. Place the pan in the oven.
- Meanwhile, combine the bread crumbs, paprika, salt and black pepper in a large zip lock bag. Shake to combine. On a cutting board, slightly pound the chicken with a kitchen mallet so that they are of even thickness.
- Remove the pan with hot oil from the oven. One by one, dredge the chicken in the bread crumb mixture, shaking off excess and placing in a single layer on the sheet or baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, turn, and cook another 10 minutes until crispy and done. When cool, cut the chicken into strips. Store refrigerated until ready to use.
- To make dressing, combine avocados, mayonnaise, lime juice, teaspoon of salt, and cayenne pepper in a food processor except for the cup of water. Pulse to combine. Add half the water, blend until smooth and creamy. If necessary, with food processor motor running, drizzle in more water to desired consistency. Let chill.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the corn, black beans, and cilantro. Add the lettuces and cucumber, tossing to combine. Add the tomatoes, cheese, and chicken, gently folding to combine, then drizzling in the dressing. Toss to combine and serve immediately.