Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chicken and salad sandwiches

Loaded with crunchy fresh vegetables and melted cheddar cheese, chicken-and-salad flatbread sandwiches make a hearty, healthy lunch or easy weeknight dinner.

chicken and salad flatbread sandwiches, a fresh and healthy lunch or easy weeknight dinner

No, that's not a typo in the title: it's chicken-AND-salad sandwiches, not another (boooooring) chicken salad sandwich. No gloppy mayo here -- just loads and loads of crisp fresh veggies, tossed in a light vinaigrette. With some grilled chicken, if being a meatasaurus like The Ninj is how you roll.

I have a mental block against eating sandwiches for dinner. I know, it's silly. I mean, I will happily scarf down a gigantic burger for dinner yet a burger is basically a sandwich, right?

Maybe it's a hot versus cold thing. Burgers are hot, sandwiches (usually) are not, and I'm still super old-school in being biased toward a hot dinner and a cold lunch.

But these chicken-and-salad sandwiches have changed my mind. I never thought I'd describe a veggie-packed sandwich as hearty and filling, but this one is, as it's loaded with crisp, crunchy veggies like fennel, radishes and carrots. And it makes total sense: why eat a side salad with your sandwich when you can just eat the salad as part of the sandwich? WITH MELTY CHEESE?

Yes, there's melted cheese (I mean, really -- of course there is melty cheese). A nice sharp cheddar not only adds extra punch and charm to the sandwich, it also serves as the glue that holds everything in place. Which sets the sandwich apart from a taco. Genius.

healthy chicken and salad sandwiches, loaded with crunchy veggies and melted cheddar cheese

Although it's not quite my genius. The inspiration for these chicken-and-salad sandwiches was an Alice Water's recipe for garden salad tacos, so you can bet it's healthy. I just fiddled around with the recipe until it was more to my liking, largely because I'm not a fan of falling-apart tacos -- I like a tidy meal, not one that gets all over my hands and my lap. Although my dogs definitely prefer that I eat that kind of meal.

I use flatbread wraps for these sandwiches because they're thin and easy to fold. If you'd prefer to eat the sandwich open-faced, more like a pizza, you could use naan and not fold it over.  For a meatless version, simply omit the chicken or stir in some rinsed cannellini beans. Lastly, if you're more into the taco thing than I am, wrap the chicken and salad inside a burrito-sized flour tortilla.

Just be prepared to lick your fingers. Or have your dog on standby to clean up your lap.

chicken and salad sandwiches, inspired by Alice Waters, are fresh and healthy

Chicken and Salad Sandwiches

(Inspired by an Alice Waters recipe in Food and Wine)

I like to use Calivirgin's Lusty Lemon olive oil in the vinaigrette -- if you don't have any lemony olive oil but still want a little lemon flavor, just squeeze in some fresh lemon juice.

2 tablespoons olive oil (lemon-infused or plain)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups baby spinach
2/3 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
2/3 cup carrots, sliced into thin matchsticks
3-4 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (I use Cabot Seriously Sharp)
2 large flatbread wraps (I use Flatout)
4 ounces grilled chicken, cut into strips or chunks

Preheat oven broiler.

In a bowl, whisk together the first five ingredients to make the vinaigrette. Add the veg (spinach, fennel, carrot, radish and cilantro) and toss lightly.

Lay the flatbread wraps on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cheese. Broil 6-8 inches from the heat until the cheese is just melted. Layer the chicken and salad onto the flatbread wraps and fold each one in half.

-- print recipe --


  1. This also sounds like a great idea for using up that a small bit of leftover salad and (chicken). I might just have to use this for memorial day weekend. Makes leftovers seem a bit less....leftover.

  2. Hahaha it's chicken AND salad. Not chicken salad. That was funny. I'm thinking adding in some sliced apple could be pretty awesome also! Yum!

    1. Yes! Some nice slices of Honey Crisp would be an excellent addition, Chris. Good idea!