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Roast Chicken Salad with Figs, Goat Cheese and Cornbread Croutons

This was a tough week for me at work, so I took the easy road one night and stopped off at my local rotisserie shop and picked up a chicken, cornbread, veggies and mashed sweets for a quick, easy, and relatively healthy dinner for my family. This almost always nets some leftover chicken for us to enjoy the next night. If your family eats all the chicken up, consider getting a second plain roasted chicken to take home and keep in the fridge.

There are so many exciting ways to use the leftover chicken for simple weeknight meals. Since it is about 195 degrees outside, I wanted to use my leftovers in a way that involved almost no cooking, so salad was calling to me. I wanted something sweet, savory, tangy, and crunchy, but not too indulgent (after all, I had lots of ice cream screaming to me in the freezer!). Here’s what we came up with. This salad was a gorgeous explosion of flavors, colors, textures, and contrasts, and I whipped it up in under 10 minutes. You could make almost infinite substitutions depending on what is in season and/or what you happen to have on hand. You can also use bottled low fat lemon or balsamic vinaigrette dressing to cut prep time if you prefer.

We loved this with a bottle of Riesling and a small bowl of Bananas Foster ice cream for dessert.

How will you try it?

Roast Chicken Salad with Figs, Goat Cheese and Cornbread Croutons
For the Salad:

4 cups fresh baby arugula, spinach, or mixed greens
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
Large handful of Blueberries or Blackberries
3 fresh figs, cut into small wedges (or chopped dried figs or dates)
2 cooked ears of corn – kernels cut off the cob
about 2 cups leftover roast chicken, cut up
1-2 good-sized wedges of cornbread, or corn bread muffins

First, cut the cornbread into very small pieces, and place it on a baking sheet. Give it a quick spray with cooking spray and run the pan under the broiler for just a couple of minutes, to get the bits crispy. It’s ok if they are very crumbly too – the texture is what you’ll want in this salad. Next, chop your nuts and fruit and remove the kernels for the ear(s) of corn. Place the greens in a large salad bowl and top with everything – leaving the cornbread bits until last. Now make the dressing (or, use bottled dressing, toss and enjoy!).

For the Dressing:
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Juice and zest of one orange
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
1 Tbsp chopped fresh Basil or Tarragon
Sea Salt & pepper to Taste

Whisk all ingredients together and if you like a tangier dressing, add a bit of lemon juice or a light vinegar such as (Rice or Champagne). Toss with the salad just before serving, and enjoy!

Photo: Will Dicket, myrecipes.com

About Daphne Wotherspoon