Fall Bounty Chicken Salad

I love the salads that grace my table in late September and early October. Brimming with color and flavor, sometimes it's as easy as looking in the garden or wandering to the farmer's market a few blocks away to make them happen. Sometimes less is more, but when Mother Nature is providing this breath of bounty ... more is where it's at!

Now, as is often the case, the particulars of what this recipe calls for are less important than fresh, beautiful produce finding its way to your table. Work what's happening in your garden or at your local farm stand into the mix. That might mean sweet onions and kale instead of romaine and corn or it might mean working some shredded beets or broccoli into the mix instead of peppers or avocado. Use what you have and celebrate the season.

This main dish salad pairs nicely with crusty bread or hot biscuits. I have even been known to make biscuits and press fresh herbs into the tops to make them both fragrant and pretty. Add your favorite beverage and call it dinner!

Fall Bounty Chicken Salad

  • 1 tsp. cooking fat - I used bacon fat
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked and sliced off the cob
  • ¼ cup chopped rainbow chard
  • 6 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4-6 mini sweet orange peppers, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup shelled edamame
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 8 oz. chopped romaine
  • ¼ cup light vinaigrette

Heat the cooking fat of your choice over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet. When the cooking fat is hot/melted, add the chicken thighs and sear for 4 minutes per side, allowing a bit of caramelization to occur. Remove the thighs and let them rest briefly on a cutting board while you sauté the corn and chard.

Once the chicken is out of the pan, add the corn and rainbow chard. Turn off the heat and stir frequently to lightly sauté the vegetables. Coarsely chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and return to the skillet. Turn the stove to medium heat and continue cooking the chicken and veggies until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender and fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Toss the remaining ingredients in a large serving bowl to combine. Add the warm chicken and veggies and toss again. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes