Rainbow Chicken Salad

Wow. Christmas is arriving in less than a week! Feel ready? Rushed? Downright frantic? Never fear! Healthy, quick food is here to help reduce stress, feed your body and soul for the last dash to Christmas morning, and let you marvel at how beautiful it all looks in the process. This gorgeous main dish salad is here to make it all look easy.

First, a quick note that you'll want to give yourself an opportunity to let the chicken marinate for at least 3 hours in advance, but tossing it into the marinade before any car pooling, commuting, and work days begin is a sure way to get everything in order. If you manage to forget, you can still cook the chicken plain and toss it with some of the marinade after it's cooked, but it won't be as flavorful as it would be if the chicken was soaking for most of the day.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk veggies. Because not all veggies are available in all parts of the world (much less every home!), what I have listed below are suggestions. Of course, the rainbow part of the name of this salad does imply a few splashes of color here and there, but feel free to include brightly colored peppers or roasted sweet potato if they are easier to work into the mix. Make it yours and if you are tickled by how it turns out, feel free to share your tweaks and secrets below!

This is a meal on its own, but you could work some egg rolls or wontons into the mix for a little temperature shift at the table. Me? I'd rather steep a bit of tea and dig in! Seasoned Greetings!

Rainbow Chicken Salad

  • ¼ c. cider vinegar
  • ¼ c. maple syrup
  • 3 T. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. pomegranate molasses, optional
  • 1 T. grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce or tamari (for gluten free cooking)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz. each)
  • 6 oz. fresh salad greens
  • 1 can (8.5 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
  • ⅔ cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • ⅔ cup shredded radish (I used a purple daikon, but any crisp radish will work)
  • Generous handful baby bok choy, halved

Combine the first 7 ingredients (cider vinegar through cayenne pepper) in a resealable glass jar. Close the jar and shake vigorously to combine. Pour ¾ cup of the mixture into a shallow dish and add the chicken breast halves to the dish; reserve the remaining marinade as a dressing for the salad. Allow the chicken to marinate for 3-12 hours.

Heat a skillet over medium low heat and add the chicken, draining away most of the marinade; discard the used marinade. Sauté the chicken fully on both sides, 6-8 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and coarsely chop it into bite-sized pieces; set aside.

To assemble the salad, place the salad greens on the bottom of a large serving plate or bowl. Arrange the remaining ingredients over the greens, allowing the bright colors to have a prominent role in their placement. Serve the additional marinade as a salad dressing at the table.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes, plus marinating time