Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gingered Chicken Fruit Salad

My mom makes a fabulous chicken fruit salad that I have fond childhood memories of eating. Unfortunately, it contains apples, grapes, mandarin oranges, celery, almond slivers, cool whip and mayonnaise. Most of which, of course, are ingredients we can't have.

So this week I tried to develop my own version. I thought it turned out well, but DH and the kids weren't crazy about it. Since they generally don't like fruit salad anyway, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I enjoyed it.

This recipe would be easy to change for various dietary restrictions. Freely substitute any fruit you can have. To make it gluten-free, use rice or seaweed noodles. To make it vegan, you could use cooked beans or tofu instead of the meat. Use your imagination!

Anyway, here's what I put in:

8 to 12 oz. package of pasta, cooked al dente (slightly firm)--I used kamut spirals
2+ cups each of red and green grapes, halved (for a total of between 4 and 5 cups)
1/2 cup diced celery
1 raw zucchini, peeled and diced
2 firm pears (a tad green is fine)
About 5 cups cooked cubed chicken
Other fruit to your taste--I really would have liked to add mandarin oranges or a couple of sliced tangerines or oranges. Since I didn't have any oranges or pineapple, I added a peach and a kiwi fruit.

For the sauce/glaze, mix together:

3 tablespoons Ginger Spread (Trader Joe's makes one that's just ginger and cane sugar)
4-6 tablespoons lemon juice (equivalent to the juice of 2-3 lemons)
2 tablespoons agave nectar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt (you may want to omit or reduce the salt if your chicken was presalted)

Warm the glaze mixture slightly until it stirs together well. Then stir in:

1 can of cranberry sauce (I used whole-berry Kosher for Passover cranberry sauce; Trader Joe's cranberry sauce also seems to be corn-free)

The lemon-ginger mixture would probably make a great glaze all by itself. I got a bit carried away and added cranberry sauce too.

Drizzle the sauce over the salad and stir to coat. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice or sweetener if needed. Chill salad before serving if desired.

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