We have been eating a lot of salads around here lately – trying to be healthier along with warmer temperatures (well, except for yesterday and today). I will say that my standby seems to be to make them kind of Mexican or Asian, but I really wanted to try something new, and I am so glad I did because this Italian Chicken Salad was incredible.
This salad has olives, artichoke hearts, and garbanzo beans (chick peas), which are some of my favorite Italian ingredients. The chicken is baked in marinara (I used store bought, but a little homemade would be better.) and all of it is topped with a creamy pesto dressing. I used store bought pesto this time too. I was short on time and basil is so expensive right now. In a couple of months, it will be taking over my yard, and I will be making homemade then!
One of the best parts of this salad was serving it with these Parmesan crisps. I have seen these around on the internet for a while, but never tried them. They were really just an after thought. I had some extra Parmesan, so I just stuck these in the oven when then chicken came out. I didn’t even look up a recipe, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but they were awesome. And, are a great way to add a little cracker-type thing without a lot of carbs.
Italian Chicken Salad
- 1 1/2 lbs. thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce (Use your homemade or favorite store bought.)
- 1 12 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
- 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- lettuce (Type and amount are up to you, but I used 3 cups of endive for each person – in our case 3, but I had enough other ingredients to easily serve 4.)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used light.)
- 1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
- 1/3 cup prepared pesto
- 3 oz. pine nuts, toasted (I toast mine in a small dry skillet over medium, stirring constantly, just until they begin to turn golden.)
- 5 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top of your salad
- Spread both sides of the chicken breast cutlets with marinara sauce and bake at 350 degrees until done (about 30 minutes, depending on their thickness).
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together artichoke hearts, garbanzo beans, olives, garlic and vinegar.
- In a separate bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, and pesto.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment, and place little piles of Parmesan about as big around as a cookie on the parchment
- When chicken is done, remove it from the oven and place the cookie sheet with the Parmesan on it in the oven.
- Watch the Parmesan closely and remove from the oven when it has melted and the edges begin to turn brown – about 8 minutes.
- Slice the chicken.
- To serve, toss lettuce with the olive mixture.
- Top with chicken, tomatoes, pine nuts, and additional Parmesan cheese.
- Top with pesto mixture.
- Serve immediately.