Live Real. Eat Real.

Cheery Cherry Chicken Salad

I am busy, busy, busy today, so this will be brief (well…as brief as I am capable of).

While my attempt at Whole30 may have been lame (and there are those who would insist that is one of my defining characteristics), it did force me to think about what to cook and eat that has no dairy, alcohol or added sugar/sweeteners.  Since I don’t consume much dairy and prefer to drink my alcohol, those requirements didn’t phase me much.  However, that I have something of a sweet tooth is well established and the no added sugar, even in small amounts, was something that I really have a problem with.  Because what food isn’t improved by a touch of raw honey or a small drizzle of maple syrup?

Of course, this need to add sugar to EVERYTHING, whether it belongs there or not, is part of what has delivered us, as a society, into epidemics of obesity, diabetes and other “diseases of civilization.”  So even if I am not giving up delicious artisan goat cheeses and my nightly glass (or two) of wine, I am still avoiding natural sugars and stevia – I haven’t had any, at all, for a week and the longer I go without them the easier it is.  I am still adjusting to no sweetener in my tea and coffee, but food itself is becoming less and less of an issue.

Now, having said that, I don’t object to fruit in reasonable amounts.  And for overweight, insulin-resist me, “reasonable amounts” is a single serving two or three times a week (unless it’s watermelon which I’ll eat until it darn near makes me sick because I love me some watermelon).  At any rate, this dish was a lovely use of some sweet cherries I had in the fridge that were on the verge of becoming quite overripe, as well as some of the vegetables we received in our CSA box last week.  Bring on the summer salads.

Oh, and by the way – it is Oldest Son’s 28th birthday.  Happy Birthday, dear; I love you so much, I don’t even care that this means I’ll officially be ancient in two years.

Cheery Cherry Chicken Salad

Cheery Cherry Chicken Salad

serves 4

2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1/2 cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 ounce dry-roasted cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sliced cherriette radishes
1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, orange juice and apple cider vinegar until well blended. Add the chicken, cherries, cashews and radishes; stir until evenly coated with the dressing. Taste; season with salt and pepper as needed.

Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Serve on chilled plates lined with lettuce and a quartered hard boiled egg, if desired.

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