no-cook mediterranean chicken salad

no-cook mediterranean chicken salad | The Clever Carrot

Have you ever noticed how dramatic people get about the weather?

Take me for example… When it’s cold and miserable outside, I dream about moving to Hawaii or some other fabulous island where I can live the good life in the sun (House Hunter’s Int’l anyone?) On the other hand, when it’s a million degrees out I feel like I’m boiling to death and can’t seem to get anything done, like now.

Then your air conditioner breaks.

Everyone’s cranky…

And you have to do things like make dinner.

Ugh…dinner.

no-cook mediterranean chicken salad | The Clever Carrot

Just because I blog about food, don’t let me fool you into thinking that I have endless dinner ideas. It’s quite the opposite. I often struggle with dinner because I think about it way too late in the day. By 4 o’clock my brain turns to dust and I am good for nothing. And when it’s hot and humid outside? With no AC? Forget about it! I don’t even want to look at the stove. And I don’t.

I hop in the car and buy one of those precooked rotisserie chickens. They’re a lifesaver when you don’t feel like cooking. I use it to make this Mediterranean chicken salad along with my go-to pantry staples of marinated artichoke hearts and white beans.

no-cook mediterranean chicken salad | The Clever Carrot

Now here’s the fun part; basil marinated tomatoes. Yum! It’s a little restaurant trick that I learned and I can’t even tell you how much flavor this adds. I combine sliced grape tomatoes with basil, red onions, olive oil, and salt & pepper at room temperature. The basil infuses into the tomatoes while the olive oil and salt create this incredible ‘juice.’ It sounds fancy, but I promise you it’s not. It’s delicious. Just give yourself at least 30 minutes to marinate, however the longer it sits the better it will taste.

no-cook mediterranean chicken salad | The Clever Carrot

And do you want to know the irony of  it all? Without even realizing it, this dish is a ‘no-cook’ version of this recipe. Who knew? It didn’t even occur to me until I was typing up the ingredients for this post. I guess the dust has settled and my brain is working after all.

PS- The air conditioner is up and running again! (3 days later…)

Tips:

  • If you are making this in advance, only add the basil marinated tomatoes right before serving (otherwise the juices will turn the chicken & mozzarella pink! Not that it’s a bad thing…)
  • Precooked grains including quinoa, wheat berries, and bulgur (even fun pasta shapes) make a great addition to this recipe.
  • Excellent pantry substitutions/additions include chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers.
  • If you have your own herb garden, now is the time to utilize what you’ve got! Be generous with the basil, parsley and chives. They add wonderful summer flavor.

5.0 from 1 reviews
no-cook mediterranean chicken salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Basil marinated tomatoes
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ c. basil
  • ⅓ c. thinly sliced red onion
  • ⅓ c. olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Chicken salad
  • 1x 1½ lb. rotisserie chicken
  • 1x 14 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1x 14 oz. can white beans, drained & rinsed (I used northern white beans)
  • 1 large celery stalk
  • 1 small tub marinated bocconcini (bite-size mozzarella)
  • ¼ c. red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Garnish
  • roughly chopped basil, parsley, chives & celery leaves to taste
Notes:
*If you are making this in advance, add the basil marinated tomatoes to the rest of the salad right before serving (otherwise the juices will turn the chicken & mozzarella pink! Not that it's a bad thing...)
*Precooked grains including quinoa, wheat berries, and bulgur (even fun pasta shapes) make a great addition to this recipe.
*Excellent pantry substitutions/additions include chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers.
*If you have your own herb garden, now is the time to utilize what you've got! Be generous with the basil, parsley and chives. They add wonderful summer flavor.
Instructions
  1. To make the basil marinated tomatoes, add the sliced tomatoes to a large bowl. Stack the basil leaves on top of each other, roll them up, and thinly slice into ribbons. Using a mandolin, slice the red onions as thin as possible. Add the basil and onion to the bowl. Top with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well to coat. Let sit at room temperature minimum 30 minutes- 3 hours.
  2. Grab yourself a large bowl for the salad.
  3. Using the white meat, dark meat, or a combination of both, cut the chicken into bite-size chunks. You will need about 2-3 cups. Add to the bowl.
  4. Add the artichoke hearts and beans. Using a mandolin, thinly slice the celery directly into the bowl. Add the bocconcini, breaking them in half with your fingers.
  5. Add the basil marinated tomatoes and all of its juice.
  6. Add the red wine vinegar and toss well.
  7. Taste the salad and season with extra salt and pepper. Drizzle extra olive oil and vinegar to taste.
  8. Garnish with roughly chopped basil, parsley, chives & celery leaves.

Comments

  1. says

    I often think that is is just too late to start cooking dinner, and more than once I have been saved by a rotisserie chicken. It’s always a treat to look in the refrigerator and/or freezer and discover that with a bit of creative thinking, I’ve got the makings of a very nice meal. Your salad looks wonderful – simple and tasty. Yum!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Adri! Aren’t rotisserie chickens great? There’s so much you can do with that tasty little bird. And I definitely agree with you- it is a bit of a treat making a meal from whatever you’ve got in the fridge & pantry. I like the challenge! Thanks for stopping by & have a great weekend :)

    • Emilie says

      Me too! It was such a nightmare not having AC!!! I couldn’t deal (see how dramatic I am?) At least we got a good meal out of it ;)

  2. says

    Basil and tomato is a match made in heaven isn’t it?

    I know exactly what you mean about the dinner conundrum. One thing that happens to me is that I will be having a productive day, getting things done and feeling great on the work front and then suddenly it’s 4 pm and it occurs to me that I haven’t planned dinner. Major sinking feeling. I feel sometimes there are just too many balls to keep in the air, you know? and I get caught every once in a while. This meal offers such a nice solution because it is simple yet tasty and nutritive.

    I too find myself grabbing the occasional rotisserie chicken (life saver) but adding a few more common ingredients as you have done here – which I would typically have on hand anyway – just brings it to a whole new level while keeping it ‘doable’. Great idea for busy summer nights :).

    p.s. yes, I’m quite certain your brain is working just fine. After all, you are the Clever Carrot ;-).

    • Emilie says

      It sure is Kelly! I learned this trick when I was working in a restaurant and it’s soooo delicious. They used to feature the marinated tomatoes in a chopped salad with asparagus, pita chips, some kind of cheese (I forget…) and greens. It was awesome. And the flavor really makes a difference too. I’ve used this method with pasta, caprese salads, and as a simple topping over fish. Yum!
      And PS- love the term ‘dinner conundrum.’ Well said girlfriend!! :)

  3. says

    This meal looks totally amazing…but all I am thinking is “Please let that woman get her AC fixed ASAP!!!” Please tell me it’s working again! I have been hiding inside it has been so gross out.

    • Emilie says

      Ha ha…yes, thankfully it’s working again!!! (I just made an edit…) I’ve been such a swamp monster it’s so hot! The kids don’t even want to go to the beach ;)

  4. says

    Barbecue chickens are a lifesaver, aren’t they? I had a friend who would buy one once a week when she had toddlers, and shred the meat up and keep it in the fridge. Then there was always something to nibble on for a few days! This recipe sounds perfect for scorching hot days, Em!

  5. says

    This looks so refreshing and delicious, perfect for when the AC doesn’t work although I hope that never happens again!! I love marinating my tomatoes this way as well. Thank you for sharing!

    • Emilie says

      Right? I’ll take anything ‘no-cook!’ in this heat!!! And yes, you can change up this recipe to suit whatever ingredients you have on hand. It’s even great as a pasta salad! :)

    • Emilie says

      Why is it the hardest thing to think of?! Maybe it’s the pressure ha ha…Or maybe I should just eat at your house-everything looks so yummy!! :)

  6. says

    What a lovely, refreshing way to spruce up a rotisserie chicken! Beautiful! I’m sorry to hear about your AC and glad to hear it’s back! It’s so hard to think about cooking anyway, let alone when your sweltering!

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