souvla-inspired chicken salad
zero cooking required!!!!!
(Click here for the WTC recipe index! And head to the bottom of this newsletter for a printable PDF of this recipe.)
This week’s recipe is an absolutely delicious, fully loaded, no-cooking-required salad. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I figured we could all benefit from 1) vegetables that aren’t covered in butter (and marshmallows, if you’re reading this from the Southeast) and 2) a respite from cooking. After just a little bit of chopping and mixing, you’ll have an absolutely delicious salad that even George conceded counts as a complete meal.
We’re pickling red onions and making Granch (Greek yogurt ranch) dressing from scratch, but this recipe will still only take 30 minute max to throw together since we’re using a rotisserie chicken as a shortcut and aren’t actually cooking anything.
This recipe is heavily inspired by the chicken salad at Souvla, a restaurant in San Francisco that makes the most delightful, simple, modern Greek food. When I worked in San Francisco, my work bestie (sup, Annie Culver) and I used to order Souvla no less than 2 times a week. It is an addiction, and, if I do say so myself, I nailed it with this copycat version of their chicken salad.
I added a few ingredients — a persimmon (if you’ve never had one, you are in for a TREAT; they are like the love child between a mango and an apple) and some pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds) — for extra good mood powers. Meaning: They’re both full of nutrients that benefit our mental health. I’m in the throes of writing Good Mood Food Round 3 — so I’ve got brain food on the… brain!
This salad is delicious and will fill you with powerful nutrients before you slip into your stretchy pants for the rest of the week.
before we get to the recipe, let’s talk Thanksgiving
It’s almost turkey time, y’all. If your turkey is still in the freezer, get it into the fridge immediately. It takes about 24 hours to defrost every 4 pounds, so you’re on borrowed time!
If you’re still wondering if you have to brine your bird, the answer, in my opinion, is a definitive yes if you’re roasting or smoking, and a not necessarily, but yes if you’re nervous about overcooking it, if you’re frying.
Brining is kind of like an insurance policy — it helps protect against drying out your turkey, which we all know is very easy to do. I cooked the most horrible turkey of all time last year on our smoker because I was too lazy (that’s unfair to myself — I had a 22 month old and 2 month old at the time) to brine it.
Seriously, brine your damn turkey. I know it takes up all the fridge space. Make a guest who’s not hosting keep it at their house!
enough turkey talk
But we all know turkey’s the worst part of the Thanksgiving meal. Let’s talk about sides and desserts. We are spending Thanksgiving with our friends’ family, and here’s the exact menu that my friend Lexie and I have been plotting. I’ll link recipes where I can!
Biscuits: Lexie worked in a very cute American bakery in Paris and is a pro biscuit baker. BUT if you need an easy recipe, I can’t recommend these cheddar chive drop biscuits enough. This week’s recipe requires an annoyingly small amount of chives, so you can use the extras to make biscuits!
Wild Mushroom Stuffing: Delicious. Have made this several times.
Some Sort of Squash or Sweet Potato Sich: Not decided on our orange starch yet. We were liking the idea of a roasted honeynut squash situation, but then Ina posted these twice-baked sweet potatoes and they look so good. So TBD.
Cranberry Sauce: From the can — duh — and this one that I developed when I worked for a kitchen appliance company. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, just cook it in a pot over medium heat until thickened.
Mashed Potatoes: Johnny (Lexie’s brother) is the mashed potato boss, but I’m bringing some garlic confit from Just Married that I made today, just in case he wants to mash some on in there. These look pretty great, if you need a recipe.
Cranberry Curd Tart from NYT Cooking. Worth the effort and a fun new addition to your pie offering.
did you catch my Thanksgiving hotline?
Last week, instead of my Midweek chitchat I opened up a Q&A sesh where you guys hit me with all your Thanksgiving questions. Take a look at it if you haven’t already — LOTS of good info there!
souvla-inspired chicken salad
Serves 4 (the leftovers are great for up to 24 hours)