This lovely salad-in-a-jar recipe is my idea of the perfect lunch: Light, yet full of protein to keep me going all afternoon. Make ahead-able. Brightly flavored and nicely crunchy. Plus, you know, spiced pecans.
This salad recipe is loosely based on one I clipped out of a Williams-Sonoma catalog about a billion years ago and stashed in my three-ring binder’o’recipes. (Sigh. I kind of miss clipping paper recipes out of magazines and catalogs. Though the New York Times Cooking app does that in a more digital and somehow less engaging sort of way.)
Make up a big batch of the dressing and prep a ton of vegetables early in the week and you’ll have a tasty dinner and several days’ worth of lunch, besides.
roast chicken salad with pepper, fennel and spicy pecan dressing recipe
For the dressing: In a small skillet, combine 3 tablespoons finely chopped pecans with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper to taste. Toast the pecans with the spices over medium heat until they're fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove to a lidded glass jar and add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons water. Shake to combine. Add another teaspoon of water to thin the dressing if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more cayenne for heat if you'd like.
For the salad: Chop into 1/2-inch dice: half a red bell pepper, half an apple (choose your favorite), half of a medium fennel bulb. Transfer to a large bowl. Slice half a head of leaf or Romaine lettuce into thin strips and add the lettuce to the bowl. Season the vegetables with a generous pinch of salt and toss gently to combine. Add a drizzle of dressing and pecans and toss gently to coat. Top the salad with about 3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese and 1 cup sliced roasted chicken.