Greek Lemon Chicken, Grain & Feta Salad
by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi
Sometimes we feel like a substantial salad that is a meal in itself with all the elements of good food—plenty of greens, crunchy raw pepper, and loads of flavor. This is also a great way to use up leftover chicken or turkey. Serve with a tzatziki dressing and tomato salad. This is our friend Anne Hudson’s method of preparing the wonderful Greek yogurt and cucumber dip, which she learned to make the local way when living in Greece. You can also enjoy the tzatziki with bread or as a dip for vegetables. (Gluten-free if using quinoa or brown rice.)
for the tzatziki
1/2 cucumber, skin left on, coarsely grated
3/4 cup thick Greek yogurt
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
2 teaspoons white or red wine vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the salad
1 cup grains, such as barley, wheatberries, farro, quinoa, or brown rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or fresh chile to taste
1 pound cooked chicken or turkey, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons dried oregano
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 red or green pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
a handful of flat-leaf parsley, tough stems discarded, roughly chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
a handful of watercress or baby spinach
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
To make the tzatziki, sprinkle the cucumber with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and leave in a sieve to drain for about 30 minutes. Squeeze out the water from the cucumber with your hands but do not rinse it. Mix with the remaining tzatziki ingredients—the oil can make the tzatziki runny, so add less if you want a dip and a little more if you want a dressing. Taste and season as necessary. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Cook the grains in the chicken stock with a little salt according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion over medium heat until softened. It should take 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes or chile and continue to cook for a minute. Add the cooked grains, chicken, oregano, lemon zest and juice, and seasoning and stir through to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning and balance as necessary with salt, pepper, and more lemon. Remove from the heat and mix in the pepper and parsley.
Transfer to a serving dish. At this point it can be cooled and refrigerated (within an hour if using rice) and kept for a day. To serve, allow the salad to come to room temperature (unless you have used rice, in which case serve it chilled) and top with crumbled feta and watercress. Serve with the tzatziki and lemon wedges.
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Taken from Around the World in 120 Salads by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi, copyright 2017 Kyle Books, photography by Helen Carthcart.