Copycat California Chicken Salad
When I lived in LA, California Chicken Cafe was one of my weekly spots to pick up a healthy dinner. It was like the healthy West LA cafeteria where I always run into someone we knew picking up their favorite salad, cabbage slaw, and a quart of broccoli soup (#IYKYK). Their salads are huge and loaded with so many delicious toppings, which always include a very generous portion of avocado and their juicy chicken straight off the rotisserie (no dried-out salad bar chicken allowed). I seriously miss my go-to California Chicken Salad so much. and rather than resist the craving until my next LA trip, I decided it was time to make my own version. I'm so excited to say that it turned out just as good as the original... dare I say, maybe even better than the CCC salad that inspired it!
In true Weeknight Bite fashion, I obviously had to upgrade some of the salad ingredients to make it as healthy as possible. Rather than using a regular pasta, I used a lentil pasta that's much higher in protein and fiber, and then I swapped regular pita chips for Simple Mills grain-free pita chips which are made with vegetable flours and flax seeds. Aside from that, I loaded it up with everything you'd see in my favorite CCC salad — cherry tomatoes, raw broccoli, shredded carrots, feta cheese, rotisserie chicken, and avocado — and then tossed it in a delicious balsamic vinaigrette. SO GOOD! You could totally make your own balsamic vinaigrette for this salad, but to make things extra quick and easy (some may call it lazy, I say it's efficient!), I just used my favorite pre-made dressing.
4 cups or large handfuls chopped romaine
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup shredded carrots
Handful of Simple Mills Veggie Pita Crackers (or other pita chips)
3 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1-2 breasts of an organic rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 cup cooked lentil pasta (I used Tolerant lentil rotini)
1 avocado, sliced
3-4 tbsp your favorite balsamic vinaigrette (I used Primal Kitchen)
Salt & pepper to taste
Even if you've never tried the original California Chicken Cafe salad that inspired this one, you'll still fall in love with this salad that totally has it all! Make sure to tag me at @weeknightbite when you try it!
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Lindsay is a Holistic Nutritionist who lives for a great meal, a beautiful farmers market, daily matcha lattes, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Weeknight Bite is Lindsay's happy place where her nutrition practice, simple recipes, and wellness tips come together to inspire you to live a healthy, balanced life.