Chicken and Radish Salad with Avocado Green Goddess Dressing Recipe

Chicken and Radish Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

I used to be someone who liked the white meat best in a roast chicken.

This worked out nicely at dinner with my parents when I was growing up, as they would each get a chicken leg while we girls ate the breast happily: it was mild in flavor, there were no bones to wrestle with, and it came with plenty of pan juices that our mother spooned on after we’d cut criss-cross indentations in the meat for optimal absorption.

My preference made for a uniform chicken distribution with Maxence, too, as he’s always been a dark-meat, bone-gnawing kind of guy: we could therefore buy a whole roast chicken and work our way through it, symmetrically, over the next two or three meals.

But lately I’ve flipped my jacket* and crossed over to the Dark Side of the meat: after years of denial, I’ve finally come to admit that it’s just, well, tastier.

This is a problem. However fabulous our fabulous rôtisserie is, they haven’t figured out how to sell four-legged, breastless chickens (let’s not even try to imagine what such a creature might look like), so I’ve started collecting ideas to use chicken breasts in manners more titillating than just plopping them on a plate with a side of something.

Today’s salad is a good spring-like one: the breast meat is cubed and combined with sliced multicolored radishes in a bright dressing of mashed avocado, yogurt and mixed herbs. The tender meat, the crunchy radishes and the creamy dressing make for a particularly rewarding textural landscape.

In the Green KitchenThis dressing is in fact inspired by a recipe that caught my eye in Alice Waters’ latest book project, In the Green Kitchen, of which I received a review copy. Subtitled “Techniques to learn by heart,” it is a collection of simple techniques and recipes shared by some of the chefs and cooks she most admires.

Covering a range of topics from simmering stock to pickling vegetables or baking fruit, each of the twenty-seven sections comes with a short profile of that person (with portraits that jump out at you in all their smiling warmth; I am particularly taken with Claire Ptak‘s), a breakdown of the technique he/she is contributing, and a few recipes to put it into practice — 56 of them in total.

At first glance, you might think it’s the sort of book that’s mostly targeted at beginners, and indeed it would make a lovely, encouraging gift for a budding cook. But as I’ve written before, I believe in striving to master simple dishes, and I think even experienced cooks benefit from reading books about basic techniques, comparing them to their own way of doing things.

I myself have picked up some tips, tagged a few recipes for later consideration (the cornbread, the braised pork shoulder, the apple galette…), and was immediately moved to try the green goddess dressing featured on page 14, served with hearts of romaine. A mayo-less version of the famous dressing, this one relies on mashed avocado, whipping cream and olive oil for creaminess. I kept the overall idea but substituted fromage blanc (a French dairy product that’s similar to yogurt) for the whipping cream, and found it unnecessary to add any oil.

It matched the chicken and radishes perfectly (you know what I think of the radish + avocado pairing), but I’ll also keep it in mind for crisp greens, raw endives, asparagus spears, and artichoke hearts.

Whatever you use it with, one thing to keep in mind about this dressing is that it needs to be assembled just before serving: if you leave it hanging, the avocado will get all upset and gray.

And if you want to share your favorites uses for leftover chicken breasts, I am standing by, notebook and pen at the ready!

* Pardon the literal translation of the French idiom retourner sa veste (flipping one’s jacket), used for people who chose to rally one side or the other based on personal gain rather than conviction.

Chicken and Radish Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

chicken breast meat leftover from a roast chicken
– a bunch of radishes, multicolored if available

For the dressing:
– 1 small shallot
– 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1 handful mixed fresh herbs of your choice (tarragon, parsley, chervil, cilantro, dill, chives, mint, basil…)
– 2 fillets anchovies, oil- or salt-packed (the finished salad doesn’t taste of them at all, but they definitely add to the flavor, so I recommend you leave them in)
– 1 small ripe avocado
– 1 rounded tablespoon plain yogurt, or fromage blanc, or sour cream, or crème fraîche
Tabasco sauce, to taste
– sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

Serves 2.

Start preparing the dressing. Chop the shallot finely and place it in a salad bowl. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt, combine and set aside to macerate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. (As Alice Waters explains, this helps take the edge off both the shallot and the vinegar.)

Cut the chicken meat in bite-size cubes. Trim the radishes and cut them in thickish slices if they’re ball-shaped, or split them in two if they’re elongated. Chop the herbs roughly. Set aside.

Rinse the anchovies briefly to remove the excess salt. Pat dry, chop finely, and add to the shallot.

Add the flesh of the avocado and mash roughly with a fork. Add the yogurt and Tabasco sauce, stir in the herbs, and grind on some pepper.

Add the chicken and radishes, and fold them in gently. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately.

Cooking/baking time: no-cook recipe

  • Kate

    Hi Clotilde!

    I am your constant reader and a fan and have already used a number of your recipes, mostly cakes. As a way of saying thank you I would like to share a recipe that uses chicken breasts. It is very simple but unexpectedly delicious.

    You’ll need boiled or otherwise cooked chicken breasts, one or two navel oranges, fresh tarragon and mayonnaise (or yogurt, or sour cream, or whatever you use instead of mayonnaise).
    Slice chicken breasts, peel the oranges, get rid of membranes and cut the wedges into pieces. Mix all that in a bowl, add some fresh tarragon to taste and your dressing.

    I was amazed at how these three ingredients blend together!

  • kira

    One thing I like doing with any leftover meat is Reisfleisch, an Austrian dish. You cut the meat in smaller pieces, brown some onions in butter and add the meat, any sauce you have left, (chicken) stock and rice and slowly let the rice get boiled. For spicing, liberal usage of paprika powder is the recommended thing to do.

  • http://damenora.blogspot.com ‘nora

    When I took French in school, why didn’t they teach me useful idioms like “retourner sa veste”?

    There’s a nearly identical idiom in English, “to turn one’s coat.” It means just the same thing.

  • http://katymcarter.com Katy

    In our house, the breast meat always ends up in a pot pie, enchiladas, or tossed with basil pesto and pasta. Anything with plenty of sauce.

  • David Rimmer

    Perfect! Just perfect for the coming summer. Thanks again Clotilde!

    cheers
    David

  • http://operagirlcooks.com Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

    This sounds so lovely and fresh, Clotilde! I love that you are so magnanimous with the herb suggestion — my favorites for chicken salad are dill and flat leaf parsley. Or cilantro if I’ve added some curry powder. Now I want to make some chicken salad, too!

  • http://nestor.typepad.com/shiveryknits Laura

    I am a life long dark meat lover… but I have to admit being thrilled to have leftover chicken breasts to make banh mi — usually some sort of riff on this.

    I am looking forward to trying your recipe this summer, too.

  • http://dejavucook.wordpress.com Kathleen

    Dark meat has always been my favorite. Love your salad and dressing, will make soon. I make lots of salads with leftover chicken breasts. Favorite is, chicken, tomatoes, 1/2 Mayo/1/2 Pesto for the dressing. Love your recipes, Thanks

  • http://www.crispytarts.blogspot.com The French

    I never met an avocado I didn’t like and am on a personal mission to work it into everything I eat. This sounds delicious. Will definitely try.

    Have a great recipe for leftover chicken breasts: my mom’s chicken tortilla soup. I’ve tried many versions of tortilla soup and this one is by far my favorite. It uses something called Rotel which is just canned green chiles, tomatoes and spices. Feel free to improvise. I always add fresh jalapeno or Anaheim pepper. And make sure to add the toppings! Let me know if you’d like it and I’ll email it to you. It’s also on our blog in november:)

  • Erin

    This is perfect! I just received some radishes in my veggie box and have some sour cream and an avocado that need using. Thank you! :)

  • sarah

    This sounds very similar to something my Russian Jewish mother-in-law makes, and it is always delicious.

  • http://www.pantrybites.com Janet (Pantry Bites)

    I have always wanted to try the green goddess recipe but I hate mayo. I’ll have to try this mayo-less version.

  • http://www.rowdychowgirl.wordpress.com The Rowdy Chowgirl

    This looks wonderful, as does anything with avocado! I’m wondering whether I could make a variation of the dressing with yogurt instead of cream….

  • http://tastycolours.blogspot.com Magdalena

    Hello Clotilde,
    It is not only a good idea to use chicken breasts this way, but also a tasty option for radishes. I like radishes, but I am a bit bored eating them with salt and butter, in salads, or Polish-style sandwiches. Today, I tried Indian-style recipe for radishes with black mustard grains, curcuma and cumin.
    Well, coming back to chicken topic and your recipe. I am not a big amateur of chicken breasts, to be frankly. I can eat them in salads, rather cold than warm (one exception: breaded chicken breat), and with some dressing (they are always to dry to me).
    Nowadays in Poland it is extremely difficult to buy organic chickens, meat tastes like nothing, that’s why I disliked chicken meat; but on the contrary, since I am in France, I became again a fun of poultry, especially that I have a great butcher just around a corner (rue de l’Abbe Gregoiore). I love coquelet, for example, which is so juicy, including its breast….
    My husband is a red meat lover, and he seems to be a bit unhappy not having it on his plate at least twice per week.
    P.S. We have Maxence in our family, too (the son of my husband’s sister). It is rather rare name in France…I think.

  • http://foodfrombooks.blogspot.com Audrey

    If it’s not simply sliced on whole wheat bread with mayonnaise and slices of ripe tomato…then cubes of chicken and red grapes in a dressing made from mayonnaise, a little fresh thyme and (en retournant ma veste!) a little garlic powder (the original recipe, from Sara Leah Chase, said that fresh garlic would be strong).

  • http://www.remedialeating.com molly

    Yes! That portrait of Patak is wonderful, no?

    I love the idea of chicken and radishes, crisp and tender, pale and bright, with green goddess over all. Maybe a few almonds or greens to boot…. Spring in a bowl.

  • http://www.thecreativepot.net Marisa

    The creamy avo dressing sounds like the perfect foil to the sharp radishes.

  • scribo

    Chicken breasts, grilled and sliced on tasty, white bread (bread a few minutes on the grill while the chicken is resting), slices of naturally riped tomatoes, slices of crispy bacon (grilled on a pierced sheet of alu.foil for 5 min, gas grill with top), mayo and sour creme mixed, or just mayo. Sprinkel with chopped parsley. Like an open club sandwich?

  • http://lacaffettierarosa.wordpress.com Caffettiera

    Clotilde, I’m very happy to give you back some inspiration, since your recipes always give me so much.
    I love when I do have leftover chicken breast, because some of my favourite recipes involve it! One is an Arabic dish I always make when I have leftover grilled chicken (but will work with roasted too): I roast on the grill a red pepper or two as well, peel them, blitz them roughly with walnuts, olive oil and your favourite flavourings if wished (garlic, some lemon juice, coriander, parsley..). Slice the chicken breast and cover with the sauce. It is surprisingly good.

    The other one is one of my favourite starters ever (it is good also cold), a Pakistani recipe from the ‘Silk road gourmet’ by Laura Kelley. Grind about 200gr of diced cooked chicken with three cooked mashed potatoes, chopped fresh coriander, ground coriander, chilli, salt, pepper, 1 egg and some crumbled feta cheese (100 gr). Form balls, dip in a beaten egg then in bread crumbs. Fry or bake in hot oven – I always go for the second option. They are addictive!

  • http://www.mycalifornianfriends.com Kathie

    Hey, Clotilde! THought you’d like to know that a Washington Post online reader in Howard County, Maryland (so you know it wasn’t me, because I don’t live there!) just mentioned this blog on “Free Range,” the Washington Post’s live online food chat, and even included a hyperlink on the words Chocolate and Zucchini. See here.

    “HoCo MD: I’m planning a grilled pizza dinner for 5 on Saturday, including one pescetarian and one on a heart-healthy diabetic diet. So far the menu consists of crudites with Trader Joe’s guacamole-hummus; Chocolate and Zucchini’s green pea spread; a green salad; and the pizza…”

    Congratulations on getting wider free exposure!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Thanks so much for the great suggestions everyone — inspiring!

    ‘nora – I knew the word “turncoat” but didn’t know there was an idiomatic form. Thanks!

    Magdalena – Maxence is a relatively rare name for people my age, but it’s gotten a bit more popular for children in the past ten years or so. Every once in a while we hear people call out “Maxence!” in the street or the park, and it’s a young boy who responds.

    Rowdy Chowgirl – As I explain in the post, the recipe in the book uses cream, but I’ve substituted a type of yogurt successfully. The recipe I give uses that.

  • http://www.feast-your-eyes.com Nicole

    This is our favorite way to use leftover chicken breasts, from one of our favorite blogs (they are farmers here in Austin, Texas).

    It’s a Vietnamese-inspired cabbage salad and it’s absolutely delicious. We make it quite often.
    Here are our tiny changes

    Enjoy!

  • Betty

    I have done a version of this but minus the anchovies and plus orange segments (cut out of their membranes, I know there is a technical term for this but I forget what it is).

  • Evie

    Sounds very simple, but I always love to put left over chicken breast in a Caesar salad. Mmm~ Or even better for lunch to go chicken casear salad wraps.

  • Sylvia

    For my mom’s spin on leftover chicken, she always made a homestyle chinese condiment of minced (young) ginger mixed with thinly sliced scallions. Salt to taste and pour hot/sizzling veggie or sesame oil on top of mixture. Everything is to taste. One of my best pal’s family would heat the oil up and pour everything in to the pot while quickly covering it and spin the mixture around to avoid oil splutters (which can be painful!)

    *If you don’t want to mince the ginger, grated is fine too. :)

  • h

    If you shred the meat using two forks it incorporates into almost anything and – similarly to criss-crossing – is rendered more receptive to juiciness! Excuse me if I say that cubed anything somehow doesn’t appeal, though I pick up on the avocado dressing from this recipe in a big way!

  • http://www.flickr.com/people/24810486@N04/ Awfulknitter

    I like making stock with a chicken carcass, and then using that with the leftover chicken and brown-skinned mushrooms to make a lasagne sauce. (I put some wilted spinach in the béchamel sauce layers too.)

    But my absolute favourite thing to do with leftover chicken is to shred it into bite-size pieces, coat it in beaten egg, then cornmeal, and shallow fry it until the coating is crispy. Stuffed into a warm baguette slathered with garlic aioli and with a generous squeeze of lemon over the top (and possibly a bit of leafy green salad too), it is delicious!

  • amy in nyc

    i adore radishes but sadly, my husband does not. i have a jicama sitting at home waiting for me to do something inspired with it… i think this sounds like the perfect dish to use it for! i’m thinking the jicama will add a nice neutral crunch… although i will miss the zing and color of the radish…

  • http://www.honeyfromrock.blogspot.com Claudia

    I made that dressing the other night and it was terrific. Avocado works so well as a substitute for mayo. I used chopped, lightly steamed broccoli instead of the chicken.

  • http://www.dearestdreams.com Christy

    This sounds so fresh and summery! I love how you paired the recipe with background information about the book that inspired you. I have a similar blog-I review books and post companion recipes for inspiration.

  • http://www.cozydelicious.com Katie @ Cozydelicious

    This looks wonderful! All those textures, crunchy and creamy… I am such a Green Godess dressing fan but have never used fromage blanc (which I can now find in markets here in Boston – amazing!) and am excited to try it out.

  • http://wwfoodie.wordpress.com/ Kristen (wwfoodie)

    Hi Clotilde,

    I have been a long time lurker on your site. Reading everything and little by little trying stuff that doesn’t intimidate me. This one is a winner! I’ll be making it for sure! It is exactly how I like to eat this time of year. Thank you!

  • http://marymaryculinary.blogspot.com/ Mary

    Whenever I cook a whole chicken, the breast meat languishes in the fridge until I am forced to use it. I usually make a boring chicken salad for sandwiches, but my favourite is a Vietnamese inspired salad with lots of shallots, mint and cilantro in a fish sauce and lime dressing.

  • http://pastisandpeanutbutter.blogspot.com/ Annie

    This salad sounds great!

    Pad Thai is a great format for using up leftover meats, vegetables, etc. As long as you have the rice noodles and the components of the sauce (tamarind paste, Thai fish sauce, honey and rice vinegar) in your pantry, you can go pretty crazy with the rest.

  • http://sheernaughtiness.blogspot.com/ antipodeesse

    I’m eating this salad right now and it is AMAZING!

  • http://www.wearenotmartha.com Sues

    Oooh perfect! I made a chicken salad with radishes last month (and renewed my love of radishes!). But this avocado green goddess dressing sounds like a MUST-MAKE!

  • Liz – aka Nutty Gnome

    Hi Clotilde. Anything with avocados and chicken in is alright by me!
    I’ve just been catching up on your japan tour – all that gorgeous japanese food!! I love Japanese food, even in Yo!Sushi (which I had the other day). It looks like you had a fantastic time – and I am SO envious of that wonderful moss garden! :)

  • http://juliaslittlenotes.blogspot.com/ Julia

    I tried this recipe yesterday–oh yum! Thanks so much for sharing it!

  • Gill

    I always have the breasts left from a roast chicken. I make a stock from the carcass which I then use to make a risotto. To this I add the sliced breast, mushrooms cooked with a little onion and some garlic and herbs and either cooked broccoli florets, green asparagus tips or sugar snap peas -basically what ever I have to hand.
    I also toss more or less the same ingredients with cooked pasta spirals if I am in a hurry

  • http://laurenfoode.wordpress.com Lauren E.

    Thank you for this! I’m all about avocados right now and this is a fresh alternative to the guac/salsa/slice options I typically go to.

  • michelle

    Chicken pot pie, caesar salad, chicken salad (with taragon, walnuts, finely chopped celery and shallots and of course avocado slices)mmmmm!

  • A Attura

    Ah! I have ALWAYS loved the dark meat — not only is it tastier but it is JUICIER!! And I also love those two little round pieces of dark meat that nestle on both sides of the lower backbone — just turn that chicken over — see them ?? Yum!!

  • Momo

    I’m of Chinese origin. When we use cooked chicken for salad, we do not cut them, but tear them in bite size pieces. Give it a try when you next make a chicken salad. Hand tear pieces hold its shape better. This is especially so for the breast meat. There is a famous Chinese dish called hand-torn chicken!

  • http://jessicaleejernigan.typepad.com Jessica J

    My daughter, who is three-and-a-half, grew radishes in her garden this summer, even though nobody in my family is wild about them — she likes the color. This recipe was FANTASTIC, though. So glad I tried it. (And here, just for fun, is a photo of my daughter harvesting her first radish.)

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Thanks for the additional ideas, and to those who tried the recipe and loved it, thanks for reporting back!

    A Attura – Each of these two twin pieces is called “the oyster” in English, but in French it’s “le sot-l’y-laisse” meaning that only a fool would neglect to eat it. :)

    Momo – I admit I cube the meat because it’s quicker, but I’ll try it your way next time.

    Jessica – Congrats to Frances on her radish crop!

  • http://kidscooking.about.com Stephanie

    Now I know what I’m going to do with those radishes from my CSA share!

  • Crystal

    Clotilde-

    This is such a great and refreshing summertime recipe! I tried it with a crisp and citrusy Albarino from Spain that I bought from http://www.plonkwinemerchants.com/ and the pairing was perfect with the creamy avocados and the lemon in the dressing.

  • http://www.seniorpicturesct.weebly.com Cynthia

    This sounds like a lovely, refreshing salad for a hot summer day. Thanks so much. I will definately prepare it in the upcoming weeks.

  • http://www.tinkeringinthekitchen.com belle (tinkeringinthekitchen)

    this looks so yummy! Ive bookmarked it ready to get the ingredients next time I brave the supermarket, thanks! Belle

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