Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- Seasoning ingredients:
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 t garlic powder
- 1/2 t onion powder
- 1/2 t dried thyme
- 1/2 t dried oregano
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 1/2 t paprika
- 1/2 t cayenne
- Salad dressing ingredients:
- 3/4 c buttermilk (you'll need an additional cup of buttermilk -- see below)
- 1/2 c mayo or Miracle Whip (I've used both and they're both fine)
- 2 T chopped green onions
- 2 T chopped fresh parsley
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 t grated lemon peel
- More ingredients:
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts or tenderloins
- 1 c buttermilk
- Mixed baby greens (5 oz. bag if you're purchasing rather than picking)
- Sweet and spicy candied walnuts (recipe follows)
- 1/4 dried cranberries
Instructions:Mix all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside 1 1/2 teaspoons for adding to salad dressing later. Place chicken in a large bowl and rub with the remaining seasoning, cover with 1 cup of buttermilk, turn to coat, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Whisk salad dressing ingredients with remaining cajon seasoning in a medium bowl until well-blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare the candied walnuts according to the recipe that follows.
Once the chicken is done marinating, preheat the barbecue to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from buttermilk marinade, shake off excess and grill chicken until cooked through. Let rest on cutting board for minutes or so to cool. Slice on the diagonal. Toss all the salad fixings together in a big bowl and serve or allow everyone to build their own salad.
Sweet and Spicy Candied Walnuts
3 T light corn syrup
1 1/2 T sugar
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Combine first five ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to blend. Gently stir walnuts in and pour onto baking sheet in one layer.
Bake for 5 mintues then stir walnuts to coat using a fork. Continue baking until walnuts are golden and the coating is bubbly, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a sheet of aluminum foil and using your fork again, QUICKLY separate walnuts and allow to cool.
Makes 1 1/2 cups -- more than you'll probably need for this salad, so you'll have leftovers to enjoy!