When summer comes around many evenings all I want is a salad. This chicken and broccoli salad is a favorite of ours and one I’ve made countless times over the years. It makes great picnic food and is perfect for evenings when it is too hot to cook! Prepare everything in the cool of the morning and dinner will be waiting for you in the evening.
Many, many years ago I used to watch all the PBS cooking shows. Yes, in the days before the Food Network and the Cooking Channel! The days when cooking shows actually had people cooking food you could make too instead of competing in crazy contests where you need to make a cake in an hour and include gummy bears and graham crackers.
Not that I can completely resist Cupcake Wars or the Kid’s Baking Championship and we’ve just gotten into The Great British Bake Off after seeing lots of good things about it.
However, I do miss the days when tv chefs cooked.
Which isn’t to say they were all great or even good people even if I learned a lot about cooking by watching those shows. Meaning I tossed out the Frugal Gourmet’s books, but the chicken broccoli salad is mine now and I’m keeping it!
The balance of chicken with tender broccoli and plenty of parsley along with a little zing from the green onions is just too yummy to resist. There is a reason this salad has been a family favorite here for decades!
I really, really love broccoli and all too often I simply roast or steam it as side for dinner. It’s still great that way, but I like to have other ways to make it. Mix it up now and again, right? Right!
And to have yummy broccoli in a summer salad makes it even better! Since now I can have my broccoli at a picnic or out on the deck with a creamy dressing and some juicy, diced chicken breasts. Add a few slices of No Knead Bread, and you have dinner.
Though I wouldn’t say no to a glass of wine too. 🙂 Red or white, I enjoy both with chicken broccoli salad. (We had a lovely red Zin the night I took these pictures. Great salad. Great bread. Great wine. And great company.)
Oh, and as for the chicken? You can use leftover roast chicken. Deli roast chicken. Poached chicken. Or, my new favorite version, The Kitchn’s Moist and Tender Chicken Breasts. It really is an easy, hard to screw up recipe that makes for juicy chicken! I made an Apple and Celery Chicken Salad with that recipe just the other night.
– Happy Salad Making, Annemarie
Chicken and Broccoli Salad with Creamy Dressing
- 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb broccoli, about 2 heads
- 1 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced
Cottage Cheese Dressing
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup lowfat milk
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 pinch granulated sugar
- 1 medium clove garlic, chopped
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Flatten the chicken breasts to an even thickness with a meat pounder or the bottom of a wide jar. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the skillet. Add the chicken and cook for one minute. Flip the chicken over. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes. Take the skillet off the heat and let the chicken sit, covered for an additional 10 minutes. Then transfer the chicken to a plate and let it cool.
- Set out a large pot of water and a bowl of ice water. Bring the pot of water to a boil and add salt to the water. Cut the broccoli and the stems (peeling the stems if they are tough) into small pieces and florets. Cook the broccoli for 4-5 minutes; then drain and put the broccoli into the ice water. Drain again and dry the broccoli well with a kitchen towel.
- To assemble the salad, cut the chicken into 1 inch chunks. Then add the chicken, broccoli, parsley, and scallions to a serving bowl.
- Make the dressing: Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Top with lemon slices.
- I've given my favorite simple recipe for easily cooking up juicy chicken breast. However, you can poach the chicken or grill it or use leftover roast chicken or even get a premade roast chicken from the supermarket deli. I have used all these methods at one time or another!
- If your chicken breasts are very thick or you didn't pound them much, add a couple more minutes to the cooking time and let them cook for 12 minutes on low instead of 10.
- We often make extra dressing for the salad. It doubles easily and the extra dressing keeps for 3-4 days. It's great on salads with other veggies or sturdy lettuces.
- For the best flavor, this salad is best made at least 1 hour ahead so the dressing can infuse a bit.
- The Chicken and Broccoli Salad was inspired by the salad created by the Frugal Gourmet. My chicken cooking method comes from The Kitchn.