Kale and Roast Chicken Salad with Homemade Ranch

by Rebekahcooked up on October 10, 2018

Alright, I think this is my first post since announcing our big news… we’re excited to welcome TWINS in early 2018! Technically our due date is 2/17, but twins are almost always born 2-4 weeks earlier than singletons, so 2/17 is just not going to happen (watch, now I’ll jinx myself into being the only girl my doctor’s seen go to term in her 25 years of practice ).

Crunchy Kale Chicken Salad - PDXfoodlove

You may or may not have noticed that this has definitely impacted my ability to create content over the summer and early fall. I know that it’s known that pregnancy makes you tired, but I’m not sure it’s ever clearly articulated just *how* tired it makes you. Sometimes, I just need to sleep, or sit quietly, and that’s all I’ve got for the day.

The other piece is, food doesn’t sound great for a large chunk of pregnancy. Talk about making things difficult for someone to think up delicious recipes and spend time photographing them! For many days this summer, that simply wasn’t going to happen. Making food was utterly uninspiring and I had no desire to do it. I have an action plan to do better this fall now that I have more energy back, but I don’t have *that* much more energy back.

Crunchy Kale Chicken Salad - PDXfoodlove

Now that I’ve reached about the halfway point of pregnancy, I am doing better. Food aversions are largely gone. I do have a decent bit of energy again. I’m able to have some decently productive days again, and I am able to get to the gym 2-4 days per week, albeit at a definitely reduced intensity 🙂 And though this is true for any pregnancy, it’s doubly true with twins: I need to eat CRAZY amounts of protein.

This is particularly tough on someone who isn’t a big meat eater in the first place – i.e. ME. When you combine that with the fact that you’re not supposed to eat undercooked meat, that means steak is basically completely off the table, because I am NOT going to eat a well done steak.

Crunchy Kale Chicken Salad - PDXfoodlove

This recipe has been a good go-to for me. I don’t love eating chicken because of weird preggo hormones, but this salad is crunchy and has a nice acidity, which lets me eat it with abandon because the texture is awesome (Pro tip to preggos, great texture will help you eat lots of things!) Chicken is so high in protein, I’m trying to eat as much of it as I can, when I can handle it.

But this is one we will definitely continue to make after the babies arrive. It’s a keeper!

Kale and Roast Chicken Salad with Homemade Ranch

Kale and Roast Chicken Salad with Homemade Ranch

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast (cooked - but roasting instructions are below)
  • 3 cups of shredded kale
  • 1 thick slice of wheat bread (or use toasted almond meal if you're gluten free)
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into wedges (skip if not in season)
  • 1 small avocado, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds (I like Bob's Red Mill)
  • For the homemade ranch dressing:
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Several twists of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives, or 1 Tbsp. freeze dried
  • 1 cup full fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk - to your desired consistency
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar

Instructions

  1. If you don't have a favorite method to cook a chicken breast, here's mine. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is preheating, brine the chicken breast in water to cover and 2 Tbsp. salt. The longer you can brine, the better. When ready to roast, pat the chicken breast dry and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until you reach an internal temp of 165 degrees.
  2. To make the homemade ranch dressing, stir all ingredients except milk together with a fork or whisk. Add milk to reach desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt as needed.
  3. Toast the slice of wheat bread and then use a chef's knife to chop into rough croutons/breadcrunbs.
  4. Finally, toss the shredded chicken, kale, tomato, avocado, hemp seeds and croutons together in a big bowl. Add a heaping 1/4 cup of ranch dressing and see where that gets you in terms of coating - you can always add more if you like! Servce chilled.
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