Fresh broccoli slaw and kale salad with chicken tossed in a sweet and spicy dressing. This vegetable and protein packed salad is a light and delicious meal!
Did I ever tell you that during my pregnancy I craved kale salads? Yup! It was probably one of the healthier foods for my taste buds, compared to all of the sweets that I typically want. As I was roaming the aisles of my local Trader Joes grocery store, I came across a single serving of broccoli slaw and kale salad with chicken and thought it would be the perfect lunch for the next day.
I enjoyed the taste and texture of this salad so much that I created my own recipe version! This also saves your wallet, since buying these individual portions could break the bank over time.
The salad ingredients were pretty obvious, but I did some culinary reverse engineering for the dressing. I saved a little bit of dressing that came with the salad kit, so I could compare and make sure it tastes just right. The dressing is a creamy mayonnaise base with fresh lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, and chili powder for the spicy kick.
This salad has it all, natural antioxidant and fiber rich vegetables like red cabbage, carrots, kale, broccoli stems and even some sweet cranberries, roasted chicken and crunchy sunflower seeds for texture. With a proper balance of protein, fiber, carbohydrate, and vegetables, does the salad taste as good as it looks? Yes! I have to tell you what brought the salad together was sweet and spicy dressing, all of the ingredients combined were fantastic.
Kale has a natural bitterness, so the sweetness from the dressing and cranberries reduces any lingering flavor. I also recommend instead of cutting your own broccoli strips from the stem, save yourself some time and purchase broccoli slaw that is already cut and ready to go! The same applies to the carrot shreds, why make it more difficult if you don’t have to?
You can prepare the chicken however you desire, but I recommend grilled, roasted or baked. I had barbecued some super tasty tequila lime chicken for dinner, so I just chopped some leftovers for the salad to get the protein that I needed. I hope you enjoy my version of Trader Joes broccoli slaw and kale salad with chicken, I can’t wait to pack this healthy meal for lunch!
Many salad dressings contain stabilizers and emulsifiers, what do those do?
We all know that oil and water do not mix, and this can mainly be seen in recipes for dressings. When creating a salad dressing product to be sold in stores, many food scientists add a stabilizer like cornstarch, cellulose or xanthan gum to give a thicker texture and creamy mouthfeel. This is possible because stabilizers have thickening and emulsification characteristics, which is particularly useful when combining an oil and vinegar based dressing. Emulsifiers like lecithin in egg yolks, mustard, and honey help to keep the immiscible oil and water phases of the ingredients in a stable suspension.
The hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties of an emulsifier contributes to attracting both the oil and liquids together, preventing a visual separation or “breaking” of the two layers in the bottle. If you ever had to shake a store bought dressing before adding to your salad, that is a non-emulsified dressing in action. The shaking causes the oil and water to be a temporary suspension in solution. Adding emulsifiers and stabilizers to store bought dressings helps to avoid the separation and give one seamless and creamy, thick looking dressing. When cooking at home you don’t need a stabilizer because you will be serving the dish the same day, so some honey or mustard helps to add flavor and stability to your temporary dressing emulsion.