When I traveled to New-Orleans in 2011 during my honeymoon, I was so excited to be back to the US after so many years that I totally missed out on tasting the very local dishes of Louisiana and just went plain American (burgers, dogs and pancakes for the first three days, ouch… then flew to another State). Truth be told, at that time I was not as much into food discoveries as I am today, and I had not prepared my trip the same way that I would do now, getting all geared-up with pre-info on what I’d find out at destination. I must say that I kinda regret not having eaten anything Cajun while in New-Orleans. Fortunately for me, I am back in full-speed with my World Food Challenge, and with just a few fresh produces, spices and a poultry, I have prepared a very nice Cajun Chicken Summer Salad inspired from the missed-out-big-time tastes and flavors of Louisiana, USA.
Very often, for American salad sauces, mayonnaise is invited to the bowl. I love mayo, but I don’t think it’s needed just everywhere the word “salad” makes an appearance on the menu. The same goes for sour cream, as – make no mistake – it is not a healthy replacement for mayonnaise at all. What is, though, a good replacement to all of the above, is non-fat thick Greek yogurt (or max. 3% fat thick yogurt, which is categorized as low-fat). It makes delicious sauces, gives a fresh and cooling feeling, and sometimes helps to ease up on the heat of spices (and that is the case here).
Cajun consists of a spices mix made of paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper, dried oregano, thyme, and Cayenne pepper. Some variations of Cajun spice mix may include Cumin, but I’m sticking to the original formula. This summer salad of mine is full of flavor as the Cajun spice mix covers up the chicken breasts, and partly seasons the salad sauce as well, giving it all the body that it needs to provide the overall salad with character. I sound like I’m talking about wine, hahaha, but I promise it’s only a salad and I’m not drinking while typing this post!
- 2 chicken breasts (makes 2 salads)
- Romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cucumber or 1/2 zucchini
- 1 avocado
- 2 tomatoes
- Cajun spice mix = 1 tbsp of paprika, 1 tbsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of dried oregano, 1 tbsp of thyme, 2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper, salt and pepper to your taste.
- 3 to 4 tbsp of plain Greek yogurt + 1 tsp of the Cajun spice mix
- Combine all spices to make the Cajun seasoning. Save 1 tsp for the sauce.
- Marinade the chicken breast in the Cajun spice mix, and refrigerate just for the time of preparation of the salad.
- Chop the lettuce and display all over the plate.
- Slice the tomatoes, cucumber or raw zucchini, and the avocado, and display nicely on the plate over the lettuce.
- Cook the chicken breasts in the pan.
- Prepare the salad sauce in the meantime, combining the thick Greek yogurt with the tsp of Cajun seasoning mix.
- When the chicken breasts are cooked through, slice and display on the plate in between veggies, and serve immediately while it’s warm. Pour the sauce over.
- If you’re not serving immediately, slice the chicken breasts, but do not put them onto the salad plate yet, as it will cook the lettuce and make the whole dish look and taste awful. Cajun chicken pieces will taste delicious even if at room temperature, so serve it when you’re ready to eat, and add the salad sauce at the same time (not before either).
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2016 All Rights Reserved.