Winter Chicken and Fruit Slaw

Sometimes I feel like the simplest way to work salad into the winter months is to turn to slaws. And when you opt for variations outside the box, that can be a thing of beauty. This one is a main dish salad that features chunks of tender chicken, sweet apples and pears, crunchy sesame and sunflower seeds, and more tossed with a combination of chopped cabbage and arugula. Then a tangy dressing brings it all together. Trust me, winter slaws are where it's at!

You can pick and choose your salad items to suit your tastes and offerings on hand, but I do love the combination of cabbage and arugula alongside some good winter fruits. You could use different varieties of apple and pear, toss in some pomegranate seeds, or find a different dried fruit to include. The variety brings a lot of color, flavor, and texture to the dish, so try to maintain that. You could use chopped walnuts and/or pumpkin seeds instead of the sunflower and sesame seeds as well. I adore the combination of flavors in the dressing, so try it as written at least once before attempting any tweaks.

I will serve this salad alongside paninis or grilled cheese on as a lunch or dinner on a cold day and everyone loves it. You could also work in a cup of soup, but I tend to shy away from extra dishes when possible. Then again, if there's more than a foot of snow on the ground, all bets are off!

Winter Chicken and Fruit Slaw

  • ½ small head napa cabbage, sliced thinly and chopped
  • ½ cup chopped baby arugula
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 Barlett pear, cored and chopped
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • ⅔ cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds - I used black sesame seeds
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage and arugula. Add the apple, pear, chicken, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and dried cranberries; toss to combine and set aside while you prepare the dressing.

Combine the remaining ingredients (lemon juice through extra virgin olive oil) in a small bowl and whisk briskly until combined and slightly thickened. Pout the dressing over the salad and toss lightly to evenly coat.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes