(But not boring or bland!)Jump to Recipe
A few years ago I tried Whole30 for the first time. It was a great eating experience and I was pretty happy with the results. It’s hard to not eat bread for a month, but if it helps give you an insight into how your body works then it’s worth it.
Every now and then I do another month of it, just to stabalize my system. There are a few meals that I loved so much from the Whole30 cookbook that I’ve used them in day to day cooking. But oddly, one of the things that I found a new love for was chicken salad.
Yeah. Chicken chunks, mayo, veggies. Chicken salad.
Protein Salad = Chicken Salad
On Whole30 they use the term “Protein Salad” to refer to any salad that is meat, veggies and mayo. What I found was that chicken salad didn’t need to be bland or boring. It also didn’t need to be drowning in nasty sauce.
I’m not sure where I got the idea that it needed to be those things, that’s just where my brain went. Now suddenly, my imagination was sparked and I could make these mixes as dilectible as I wanted. This made for a great lunch option. I simply bring a container of this salad mix to work with some yummy bread and maybe some cheese. A simple, filling, not Whole30 but still yummy, lunch.
Not Quite “Deconstructed”
This particular mix has become a favourite. The idea actually came because someone made a joke about a deconstructed chicken salad just being boiled chicken and a spoonful of miracle whip. (barf). My go to mix at that point had been grilled chicken, cranberries, toasted walnuts, a nice lemony mayo and arugula. Instead of deconstructing, I decided I could just change up where the elements went.
What I ended up with is this luxurious open face sandwich. The craberries and some of the walnuts, get chopped finely and mixed with pesto, olive oil and cider vinegar to create a chunky drizzle. The chicken and the rest of the walnuts combine with that lemony mayo. Throw some gorgonzola, pickled beets on a big ol’ slice of sourdough, and layer everything up with arugula on top. Kinda lame type of salad, totally boosted to a posh bit of nosh!
If you aren’t a fan of gorgonzola, not to fear! I’ve also made this little stack with a tart goats cheese and it works nicely as well. Don’t leave out those pickled beets though, the acidity and sweetness cut through the richness and balance the whole thing out.
On our weekend breakfasts together, Mike and I regularly have what I call “Stacks” which is kind of a breakfast version of this open face sandwich. Check those Breakfast Stacks out Here!
Open Face Chicken Salad Sandwich
Cranberry Walnut Drizzle:
- 1 cup Walnut halves
- 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries Finely diced
- 2 Tbsp Pesto
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt to taste
- 4 Cooked Chicken Breasts
- 3/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 5 oz Gorgonzola Cheese
- 4-5 Thick Slices Sourdough Bread If your loaf is smaller you will get 5 open face sandwiches out of this recipe. A larger loaf will mean 4 sandwiches.
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- Olive oil as needed
- Pickled Beets, as many as you like. I usually use about 4 good chunks per sandwich.
- 2 cups Arugula
- Cracked Pepper to top optional.
- Start by toasting your walnuts. Heat your oven to 350F. Pour your walnuts onto a tray and spread flat. Toast until fragrant and starting to brown (about 6minutes)Remove from the oven and cool enough to handle. Set half aside to use later.
- Finely chop the other half of the walnuts. Combine in a bowl with the finely chopped cranberries, pesto, olive oil, and cider vinegar. Stir thoroughly. Taste and add salt if needed. Set the drizzle aside.
- Dice your cooked chicken into 1/4 inch pieces. Combine in a large bowl with the mayonnaise, and the reserved walnuts. Stir thoroughly, taste and season as needed.
- Heat a heavy pan on your stove to medium low heat. Melt a heaping tbsp of butter, and a drizzle of olive oil until bubbling. Fry both sides of your bread slices until they’re crisp and golden. This should only take a couple minutes, add more butter and oil if needed.
- Put one piece of fried bread on each plate, and top with thin slices of gorgonzola. Layer next with pickled beets, then your chicken salad mix, and arugula on top. Drizzle each sandwich with a generous portion of the cranberry walnut drizzle. Crack on some black pepper, and serve