1. After I’ve just eaten myself into a near-comatic (yes, this is a real word. no, it is not correctly being used.) state all weekend long.
2. When I eat at that nearby Mexican-style fast food joint with the free chips and salsa, for lunch. Nothing screams “You should probably scale it back for dinner” quite like an enormous steak and cheese burrito.
3. In the summer, when it’s 90+ degrees out. It’s just way too hot to think about tons of cheese and heavy dressing.
So it’s on these kinds of days that I turn to a lighter salad (but still filling) with a lean protein, tons of fresh vegetables, and a light dressing.
This particular crispy chicken salad came about from various inspirations. First, it’s CSA week #3 and I have tons of salad greens to use. Second, I came across a maple dijon vinaigrette that sounded absolutely delicious. Finally, at the time of this meal, we were just coming off the holiday weekend (refer to #1 above), where I practically ate for 72 straight hours. Time for a detox of sorts.
This chicken is actually pretty healthy. It’s baked (not fried), and breaded with plain fat-free yogurt and panko (no egg or flour). The yogurt helps keep the chicken moist and the baked panko gives it a great crunch. The dressing, too, really not so bad for you. Yes, it is made with olive oil, but no mayo, cheese or sour cream is involved! Plus, you don’t need to use a whole lot because the flavor is strong and pronounced.
So, grab a head of lettuce and all of those vegetables out of the crisper that are just days away from going bad. It doesn’t take long and you won’t feel weighed down when it’s all over. (Plus, you’ll definitely have room for dessert. Chocolate is a health food, too,people.)
* If you’re not feeling the vegetables – make the chicken by itself and use the honey mustard dressing for dipping.
* I left the cheese off to keep it light, but a little mild cheddar might be a great addition.
* Any leftovers would make a great wrap for lunch the next day – just spread the dressing out on a tortilla wrap, add the chicken and salad mix, and roll it up!
What types of meals do you make when you want to keep it light? Please share!