To apply some modern tricks to old-school chicken salad, we turned to our spice rack. Most spices boast an impressive portfolio of phytonutrients — tumerioften the very same compounds that give them such potent flavor.
Mild, creamy chicken salad was an ideal canvas. First, we found we could replace two-thirds of the mayonnaise with low-fat yogurt (and use less dressing overall) and still deliver enough creamy tang to keep everyone happy. To spice up our dressing, we added turmeric and black pepper.
Long used as a medicinal spice in India, turmeric is associated with many health benefits. Black pepper — commonly paired with turmeric — may boost the potency of turmeric, especially in the presence of a little heart-healthy fat.
With our dressing ready, we poached chicken breasts to perfection by heating them just until the water reached 170 F, then removing the pot from the heat and letting the chicken cook through slowly and gently.
For add-ins, we opted for dried cherries and toasted walnuts to provide crunch. Instead of a whisper of herbs, we stirred in 1/3 cup of parsley leaves (herbs, like spices, contain concentrated nutrients), which added a pop of green color and an herbal back note. Two cups of tender baby spinach provided a fresh finish to our updated chicken salad sandwiches.
TURMERIC CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICHES
Start to finish: 1 hour
Salt and pepper
2 (4- to 6-ounce) organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, no more than 1 inch thick, trimmed of all visible fat
1 teaspoon cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 cup organic plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped coarse
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup unsweetened dried tart cherries
1 shallot, minced
12 slices hearty 100 percent whole-grain sandwich bread
2 ounces (2 cups) baby spinach
Nutrition information per serving: 485 calories; 141 calories from fat; 16 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 31 mg cholesterol; 762 mg sodium; 70 g carbohydrate; 17 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 25 g protein.
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