Chicken and Kale Salad

Last month I took a trip for work to Monterey, CA, and even though I was there to present my dissertation research, I had such a great time. The town was beautiful and the weather provided such a relief from 100+ degree temps in Texas. I ate at some amazing restaurants---I had to get my fresh seafood fix! One evening after a day at the conference, I was too tired to go out to find a restaurant. I just wanted a casual meal and to relax in my hotel room. So, I stopped at Trader Joe's (we don't have one in the town I live in) and got a pre-prepared salad with kale, broccoli slaw, and chicken breast. The dressing was creamy with a sweet and spicy flavor. Even though it wasn't perfectly Paleo-compliant because the dressing had some canola oil in it, I thought it was better than getting a fast food burger. When eating out, I try not to stress myself out about the meal and just stick to what is most important to me, which is avoiding wheat. I was so impressed with this little salad I decided to create my own version when I got home! I made a dressing from homemade mayo and sweetened it with stevia to keep it low carb. You could use honey or maple syrup, for instance, if you prefer. The salad originally had dried cranberries, but I have found it impossible to find dried crans in my town that do not have sugar and sometimes sunflower oil to make them glossy. So, I just skipped them. If you want, you can use other sweet-tart berries to garnish this salad. I bet golden raisins would be nice, but I didn't really miss them. Paper-thin slices of red onion would also make a nice garnish, if you like.

Chicken and Kale Salad
Printable Recipe

For the salad:
2 cups kale, tough stems removed and cut or torn into small pieces
2 cups broccoli slaw mix (a mixture of shredded broccoli stems, cabbage, and carrots)
2 cups purple cabbage, finely shredded
6 oz cooked chicken breast, shredded into small pieces
2 tbsp raw unsalted sunflower seeds

For the dressing:
4 tbsp Paleo mayo (use your favorite recipe)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 packet stevia, or use sweetener of choice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried dill
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste
a few drops of water to thin the dressing as desired

1. Toss the kale, slaw, and cabbage in a bowl
2. Blend all the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
3.Toss the salad with most of the dressing, reserving some for garnish. For a cole slaw flavor, blend the veggies and dressing a few hours ahead of serving. Cover and refrigerate until serving. For more of a green salad, toss the dressing and veggies right before serving.
4. Place the chicken and sunflower seeds on top of the salad and garnish with reserved dressing.

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