Herbed Chicken, Fennel & Avocado Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

The success of a salad depends on layering flavors and textures. Here, crisp fennel, tender chicken, creamy avodaco and spicy red chili are enhanced by a simple orange vinaigrette, tying it all together. A showering of herbs brings freshness – I call for cilantro, basil and mint – though feel free to use any herb combo you like, or even just one or two varieties.

Herbed Chicken, Fennel & Avocado Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Prep Time 15 minutes
The success of a salad depends on layering flavors and textures. Here, crisp fennel, tender chicken, creamy avodaco and spicy red chili are enhanced by a simple orange vinaigrette, tying it all together. A showering of herbs brings freshness – I call for cilantro, basil and mint – though feel free to use any herb combo you like, or even just one or two varieties.
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Servings 4

Ingredients
 

For the vinaigrette

  • 1 large orange, preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • fresh ground black pepper

For the salad

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, from a purchased rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 large fennel bulb, green stalks trimmed off
  • 1 medium Hass avocado
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 Fresno chili, sliced thinly, or use jalapeno

Instructions
 

  • Make the dressing. In a jar with a sealable lid, or a mixing bowl, zest ½ of the orange using a fine grater or a microplane. Next grate the garlic and add it to the jar. Pour in the vinegar and let sit for a few minutes (I like to use this technique of letting the garlic “cook” a bit in the acid, which takes the sharp edge off). Add the honey, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Shake to combine, or whisk if using a bowl, and set aside.
  • Cut the fennel in half lengthwise, and then into very thin slices. If you have a mandolin, this is the perfect time to get it out as you want the fennel as thin as you can get it. Lay it in the bottom of the serving bowl. Next add the chicken, layering it on top of the fennel, then peel the orange and cut the segments into two or three pieces each, adding them to the bowl. Cut the avocado in half, removing the pit. Cut it longways into ½ inch pieces, then scoop them out with a spoon and add to the salad. Squeeze the lemon over the ingredients, making sure to get the avocado so it resists turning brown. Gently tear the herbs and place on top, and finally the Fresno chili.
  • At this point, the salad and dressing can be refrigerated for a few hours. Before serving, whisk or shake the dressing and drizzle evenly over the salad. Top with more freshly cracked black pepper.
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