I know I have said this before, but one of the best things about Whole 30 (besides feeling great) is that it turns you into a better cook. When you can’t reach for the grains or dairy you have to get creative. And when that creativity results in something as wonderful as this Chopped Chicken Salad with Homemade Ranch, it’s a beautiful thing indeed. This salad is so good you would never know it was made without buttermilk!
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This salad is a meal unto itself. Finely chopped romaine, diced rotisserie or my pulled chicken, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, apple and walnuts all tossed in a homemade dairy free ranch dressing. It’s so delicious it rivals any restaurant chopped salad (actually it out does most restaurant salads but I didn’t want to sound braggadocious)
That Creamy Dreamy Ranch Though…
This ranch dressing is just as creamy as my Buttermilk Ranch but it’s made with a version of my cashew milk recipe. (If you aren’t on Whole 30 you could use buttermilk in this recipe) You could also make it with coconut milk, but I will just say… I’ve tried it multiple ways and the cashews works and taste the best. And it really is just so easy! That said if you want to buy Whole30 Paleo approved ranch instead, here it is!
How I Make It:
I start by making a mayonnaise base. It’s really easy but it is important to follow all the directions I give you in the recipe. Skipping any of them can cause your mayo to not set up. It’s happened to me and it’s a bummer. I know some people have success using a regular blender to make mayo, I do not. I use an immersion blender. So here is how it’s done:
- Place room temp egg, lemon juice and extra light olive oil or avocado oil into a jar with a wide enough opening for an immersion blender to fit in.
- Keep the blender at the bottom of the jar and whirl. Immediately you will see the oil and egg thicken up…it’s mayo magic!
- Then add the cashew milk, herbs and spices and voila! Homemade dairy free ranch that is both Whole 30 and Paleo compliant!
The Stunning Result!
A beautiful, delicious salad you can sink your teeth into. A chopped salad worth the chopping, that’s for sure! And that ranch dressing stays good for five days, trust me you’ll find other uses for it.
The Recipe: Chopped Chicken Salad with Ranch ~ Whole 30/Paleo
A Paleo Whole 30 chopped chicken salad that will rock your world! Allow time to soak cashews for 3-4 hours
- 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked and blended with 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup light olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 large eggs the second is back up ( both eggs need to be room temp, very important!)
- Juice of half a lemon room temp
- 1/2 cup cashew cream or coconut milk (If you aren't on W30 you could use buttermilk)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- 2 tablespoons chives chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 smallish head romaine lettuce chopped finely
- 1 medium tomato. diced small
- 1/2 a cucumber diced small
- 1 apple diced small
- 1 avocado diced small
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken or leftover roasted chicken
Bring one cup water to boil. Turn off heat and add cashews. Allow to soak for 3-4 hours. Strain and rinse. Place soaked cashews in blender and add 1/2 water. Blend until smooth. That's your cashew cream. Set aside.
Place a room temp egg (have a second egg as back up) and olive in a narrow jar that is wide enough to accommodate an immersion blender.The egg must be room temp. If you forget to take the egg out of the fridge in time, you can place it in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes to bring it to room temp.
Add the juice of half a room temp lemon.
Place an immersion blender into jar with the blender touching the bottom. Turn on immersion blender keeping it at the bottom of the dish. In about 30 seconds or less you will have mayonnaise! Stop blending. If mayo doesn't set up, use that second egg. Add it to the jar and mix again, it almost always saves the day. Add chopped herbs, spices and cashew milk (or coconut cream if using, being sure to whisk it before adding) and give one more quick blend to incorporate herbs and spices! Ta-da!
Chop and dice all ingredients and place in a bowl. Toss with desired amount of dressing right before serving. Extra dressing can be saved in the fridge for five days.