BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

I have a thing for summer food.  What do I mean by “a thing”?  Well soups, stews, and roasts are great, but what I really want year round is to be able to eat something light, flavorful, and that hopefully was grilled outside.  This summer salad hits all the marks.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

This is no wimpy salad with greens so underdressed they choke you on the way down.  This is a crisp and filling salad that uses up the leftovers from your summer barbeque so well you’ll start making extra just so you can have it.  It has all the good parts of a salad – flavor, fresh veggies, croutons, and an awesome homemade dressing (!) and none of the bad.  For those that don’t like salads, this is how to make one you’ll actually enjoy eating!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

The dressing is made with roasted poblano peppers for a slightly smoky and spicy kick and blended with cilantro and garlic to keep with the southwestern/mexican flair.  It’s made creamy with a little mayo, but mostly greek yogurt to keep it on the healthier side.  Let me just tell you – this stuff is good.  The recipe makes more than you’ll need for one salad, but that’s a good thing.  If I leave this out I find myself dipping all sorts of things in it – tortilla chips, veggies, a piece of popcorn…seriously…

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

The second best part of this salad (besides the dressing) is that it’s chock full of contrasting flavors and textures.  Crisp lettuce, crunchy croutons, salty parmesan, sweet corn, sharp onion, tender chicken, and of course creamy avocado.  There’s nothing worse than eating an unsatisfying salad and so when I make one I put all the toppings.  And, you know, if you’re looking for a great homemade crouton recipe, I happen to have one right over here.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing
Serves 2
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For the dressing
  1. 2 medium poblano peppers
  2. Small handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  3. 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  4. 1 green onion, roughly chopped
  5. ½ c. whole milk plain greek yogurt
  6. ¼ c. mayo
  7. 1 T. lime juice
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the salad
  1. Sturdy lettuce (romaine, red leaf, butter, etc.)
  2. 1 ear corn on the cob
  3. Leftover barbecue chicken
  4. Cherry tomatoes
  5. Red onion
  6. ½ avocado
  7. Parmesan or other salty cheese
  8. Croutons
Instructions
  1. If you have a gas stove turn your burner to high and balance the peppers right over the flames. Allow to roast, turning as needed, until the skins are almost completely blackened. If you don’t have a gas stove you can achieve the same effect by using your oven’s broiler. Remove to a plastic bag or covered bowl to allow to steam as they cool down.
  2. Once poblanos have been resting for about 15 minutes, remove to a cutting board. Remove as much of the charred skin as you can (if you’re having trouble use a paper towel to help you get better grip) as well as the seeds and stem. Roughly chop the peppers and add them to the base of a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Bring a shallow pan of water large enough to lay the corn in to a simmer. Remove husk and silk from corn and add to the pan. Simmer for about 2 minutes, flipping so all sides get cooked. Remove and allow to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Shred or slice chicken, halve cherry tomatoes, cube avocado, and use a vegetable peeler to shave strips of parmesan. Halve red onion through the end, then cut thin slices crosswise. Slice kernels off of corn cob.
  5. Assemble the salad using as much of each ingredients as you like and toss with the dressing.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Shaved Asparagus Brunch Salad

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

With asparagus in season, so flavorful and plentiful, I’ve been buying so much I’ve been forced to come up with new ways to use it all!  I’m definitely not complaining though, as the necessity led to this brunch salad.  

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

A salad for brunch might seem strange, but hear me out.  Brunch is usually a pretty heavy meal, which is a great, but eat too much and you can count on hours of feeling sluggish and sleepy.  This breakfast is light and healthy, with just enough richness to keep you satisfied until lunch.  Since you’ll feel great after eating it, you’ll have all the energy to go take a hike, explore a new flea market, or whatever other fun plans you have for the day!  For those of you who think it’s not really brunch unless there are mimosas, well, there’s champagne here, it’s just in vinegar form in the dressing…

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

The dressing is based off of a warm bacon dressing you would normally put on a spinach salad.  Personally, a leafy salad isn’t appetizing for me first thing in the morning, but the shaved asparagus is tender with a little bite – perfect.  Add pancetta to the mix for that classic breakfast flavor combo, so feel free to substitute bacon.  The poached egg on top adds the final layer of creaminess to the salad as the yolk mixes with the dressing.  

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

Poached eggs have a reputation for being intimidating, but they shouldn’t be.  At home there’s no need for adding vinegar or constantly swirling your water.  An old friend taught me a trick of boiling water, talking it off the heat, immediately dropping the egg in and covering the pan for 5 or so minutes.  That’s the method I use in the recipe below, but there are lots of other great methods to poach an egg.  If you want more guidance, I found this video by Kenji Lopez-Alt to be really helpful, although I don’t follow all his suggestions.  If you want to cook your eggs in the shell, but still want a perfectly runny yolk, use David Chang’s 5:10 method:  Bring a pot of water to a boil, take an egg straight from the refrigerator and put it in the water and boil for exactly 5 minutes and 10 seconds.  The fact that refrigerators are all within a few degree of each other and water boils at 212°F removes any variation in starting temperature so you can get a perfect egg every time without the guesswork.

Asparagus Brunch Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

Shaved Asparagus Brunch Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 5 fat asparagus spears
  2. 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  3. ⅓ of a medium red onion, peeled and slivered
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 2 heaping T diced pancetta
  6. 2 T champagne vinegar
  7. 1 T olive oil
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. Crushed red pepper flakes
  10. 1-2 slices of your favorite toast (mine is Acme pain au levain)
Instructions
  1. Using a vegetable peeler shave the asparagus into ribbons, saving the tops. The easiest way to do this is to keep the spear flat on a cutting board or countertop as you shave. Place the shavings on whatever bowl or plate you’ll use to serve, and save the tops for later.
  2. Begin bringing a small pot of water to a boil and simultaneously preheat a small frying pan over medium heat on a separate burner. Crack your egg into a small cup or ramekin. Once the water is rapidly boiling, remove the pan from the heat and immediately drop the egg into the water and cover with a lid. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  3. Into the frying pan add the pancetta, asparagus tops, and half the slivered onions. Saute until pancetta is just starting to get crispy and the asparagus tops are tender, about 4 mins.
  4. When your timer rings, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg from the water. The white of the egg should be taught, the yolk should not feel firm, and overall the egg shouldn’t be too jiggly, which would indicate that the whites aren’t fully cooked. When your egg is done remove to a paper towel.
  5. Turn your attention back to the frying pan and add the vinegar, olive oil, a pinch of salt and the remaining onion slivers. Cook briefly, about 30 seconds. (Note: if you substituted bacon omit the olive oil, as bacon has more natural grease than pancetta.) Pour the hot vinaigrette over the shaved asparagus and toss to coat. Add the poached egg on top and season the entire dish with another sprinkling of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Serve with toast.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Homemade Garlic Croutons

Homemade Garlic Croutons | Cravings & Crumbs

Are you looking for a way to seriously improve your salad game?  Swapping storebought for homemade dressing is the first thing you should do.  The second is making your own croutons.

Homemade Garlic Croutons | Cravings & Crumbs

Homemade croutons are far better than any you can get at the grocery store.  Making them yourself also allows you to add any seasoning you like and use up any bread that is going stale or is close to getting moldy.  Not to mention it doesn’t require any skill and very little time.  

Homemade Garlic Croutons | Cravings & Crumbs

All you have to do is cube the bread, toss with oil and seasonings and bake for about 20 minutes.  Just be sure you make at least double what you think you need.  Almost every time I make them people gravitate toward the kitchen and slowly snack on them as dinner is being finished.  They’re so irresistible you might have to set aside what you actually want to put in the salad to make sure you have enough!

Homemade Garlic Croutons | Cravings & Crumbs

You can use any bread you have around, but they’ll be best with a bread that has a good crust.  I usually make them with baguette, french bread, and sourdough.  I would avoid any bread that is too sweet, like a whole wheat sandwich loaf, or too dense.  Of course, it really depends on what salad you’re going to put them on!  I’ve seen salads with cornbread croutons which are both sweet and dense, so really anything goes if it tastes good with your other ingredients!

Homemade Garlic Croutons | Cravings & Crumbs

Homemade Garlic Croutons
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 oz. stale bread
  2. 1 garlic clove, peeled
  3. 2 T olive oil
  4. 1 T vegetable oil
  5. ½ t. garlic powder
  6. ½ t. dried basil
  7. 1 small pinch red pepper flakes
  8. salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Cube or tear your bread into about ½” cubes. Press, mince, or grate the garlic clove into a medium sized bowl and add the oils. Add the bread to the bowl and toss to coat. Sprinkle seasonings on top and toss again to coat.
  3. Spread croutons on a small baking tray and bake for about 20-30 minutes, tossing ¾ of the way through, until golden brown. If the croutons look very dry when you toss them, feel free to add an extra drizzle of oil before returning them to the oven.
Notes
  1. These measurements are just a guideline. Feel free to use more bread, oil, or different seasonings. This is just a very basic version of the croutons I make. I switch everything up depending on the salad and my mood.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Achiote Chicken Salad

Achiote Chicken Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

Lunch options near my work are slim.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of restaurants, but they’re all too expensive and not even that delicious.  As someone who likes to cook a lot, it pains me to pay too much money for something that I could have made better for half the price.

Achiote Chicken Salad | Cravings & Crumbs

There are a few options I enjoy when I’m too lazy to cook lunch or simply forget.  One of them is a mexican restaurant run as an offshoot to another two well known restaurants in the area.  Everything tastes really good, but you end up paying $15 for three tacos and a drink.  It kills me that I could go to the mexican market and buy everything to make enough tacos and drinks for 10 people for that price. Read More

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Broccolini Salad With Prosciutto and Burrata

As I’ve grown up my definition of a salad has evolved.  My parents would have a simple salad at the dinner table most nights, but if I had to eat it my portion would be romaine, croutons, maybe some shredded carrots – no dressing please…  Then I discovered balsamic, so sweet yet tart, and wait a minute, you can put this on things that aren’t lettuce too?  These days my favorite vinegar is red wine, although I love champagne and sherry vinegars almost equally.  It’s bright, very acidic, and perfect for my everyday cooking which is usually some kind of blend between italian and californian.

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