Mediterranean Chicken Salad
- 1/2 cup dried orzo (rice-shaped pasta), about 3 ounces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons water or condensed chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons vinegar of your choice (rice, tarragon, balsamic, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Pepper to taste (add salt to taste if you wish)
- 3 cups diced, cooked chicken breast (about 4 breasts, or the meat shredded from a rotisserie chicken
- 1 1/3 cup cherry tomato halves
- 6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, well-drained, rinsed, and chopped
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup dried currants (optional)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
- 4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts* (optional
- 4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts* (optional)
1. Cook orzo in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite (about 8 minutes). Rinse under cold water, drain well, and let cool. Put in a medium bowl.
2. Add olive oil, tomato paste, water, vinegar, fresh tarragon, lemon juice, and mustard to a small bowl or food processor, and pulse or whisk to blend well. Season dressing to taste with pepper and salt, if desired.
3. Add chicken to cooked orzo along with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, currants, and capers. Drizzle dressing over the top, and toss.
4. Serve each large scoop of chicken salad on a bed of romaine or spinach leaves, and sprinkle toasted pine nuts over the top.
* Toast the pine nuts in a toaster oven until golden brown, or put in a nonstick frying pan and heat over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown.
Per serving: 365 calories, 38 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 13 g fat (2.3 g saturated fat, 8 g monounsaturated fat, 1.9 g polyunsaturated fat), 90 mg cholesterol, 4.3 g fiber, 700 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 33%.
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