I absolutely love salads—seriously, I am part rabbit.
What I don’t always love about salads is that sometimes they are lacking in protein, and I can be a bit of a protein junkie.
My two greatest needs right now in pregnancy are greens and protein, so I decided to whip up something super easy, super quick, and super versatile.
I included a recipe below for those that need or want something strict to abide by—but to be honest, this post is for all those who don’t necessarily need a strict recipe, but simply need a little inspiration.
I get it—I am the queen of looking up “recipes” with no intention of using the recipe.
Sometimes you just need ideas, and from there you can do your own thing and get creative.
Yesterday I decided to get creative with my salad. Tuesday is almost always salad night at our house, but I needed a little more substance yesterday because I worked out twice.
After some brainstorming and pantry raiding, I landed on a chicken salad with fruits, nuts, seeds, and feta cheese.
I started with a head of butter lettuce—because it’s my absolute favorite—but you can use any kind you want.
We had a ton of leftover paleo fried chicken from Monday night, so I just decided to use that, but you can really use any kind of chicken you want for this. I just chopped up two cups worth (one for me, one for my husband) and set it aside. (I like to add the chicken at the very end—partly because I like to have it on top, and partly because I want to make sure we each get a full cup!)
For the fruit, I went with apple because we always have a ton of them, and they are so good for you. If you don’t want to use apples, my suggestions would be blueberries, strawberries, or apricots, but really you can use anything. Just chop it up and throw it on top of the lettuce.
Then I threw in sunflower seeds because they have a good amount of protein for a seed, and my husband happens to love them. I used a third of a cup for the whole salad—so technically we each got a little less than one full serving (one fourth of a cup).
Then I added some organic feta cheese crumbles—which can easily be left out or substituted for something different. We are huge feta fans, so I added a half cup—which is one full serving each.
The next thing I did was add dressing and toss the salad. I really prefer to always toss salads in dressing while still in the bowl for a couple of reasons—it helps even coat everything and get it all mixed up (way harder to do on the plate), and it helps you use less dressing overall. I used 5 tablespoons total, so a tad bit more than a fourth of a cup. Typically you would want to have about 2 tablespoons per serving, so we went over a tad bit. Sometimes we like to live on the edge.
Oh, and as far as the dressing—we chose an onion vinaigrette, but I would say anything low sugar is a great option. Basically, anything oil/vinegar based, or a yogurt dressing.
After I tossed the salad, I divided it in half and served it up on two plates. I added the chicken on top, and then sprinkled each salad with a fourth of a cup of raw cashew pieces—and I would have probably chosen pecan if we had any.
Again, super easy and super adaptable to whatever ingredients you have at home. And the best part—30g protein per plate!
Chicken and Apple Protein Salad
Here's What You Need
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 2 c chopped chicken cooked
- 1 apple your choice
- 1/3 c sunflower seeds
- 1/2 c feta cheese crumbles
- 5 tbsp salad dressing your choice
- 1/2 c raw cashews
Here's What You Do
Chop lettuce to desired size. Chop apple into pieces and throw on top of lettuce. Add sunflower seeds and feta cheese, then add dressing and toss salad well to evenly coat with dressing. Divide in half on two plates. Top each salad with one cup of chopped chicken and one fourth cup cashew pieces. Enjoy!
- Almost every part of this recipe can be adapted to whatever ingredients you have available!