Tarragon Chicken Salad

[quicklook-recipe prep_time=”25 min” cook_time=”15 min” serves=”4″ details=”” ] Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, is a favorite ingredient

Tarragon Chicken Salad
Tarragon Chicken Salad

[quicklook-recipe prep_time=”25 min” cook_time=”15 min” serves=”4″ details=”” ]

Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, is a favorite ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. Available from most large supermarkets, it adds a nutty taste and creaminess to the dressing for this colorful and nutritious chicken salad. The chicken is served on a bed of crisp spinach leaves and topped with crunchy toasted almonds for a delightful presentation.

[ingredients-list title=”Ingredients” serving_size=””]

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 small bunch fresh tarragon
  • 1 small lemon
  • 3 black peppercorns


  • 2 tablespoons sesame tahini
  • 1 head chicory or other head lettuce
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • Salt and pepper


[factoid]Chicory was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, both for its medicinal properties and for cooking. It was believed to stimulate the digestive juices and strengthen the liver.[/factoid]

[step-list-wrapper title=”How to make it” time=”40 minutes”]
[step-item number=”1″ image_url=”” title=”” ] Place the chicken breasts in a shallow pan, in one layer, and pour over the broth. Remove the tarragon leaves from the stalks and set them aside. Lightly crush the tarragon stalks with a rolling pin to release all their oils, then add to the pan. Using a vegetable peeler, remove a small strip of zest from the lemon and add this to the pan together with the peppercorns.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”2″ image_url=”” title=”” ]Set the pan over medium heat and bring the broth to a boil. Turn down the heat so the broth just simmers gently and cover the pan. Cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through, about 15 minutes.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”3″ image_url=”” title=”” ]Remove the chicken breasts, using a slotted spoon, and leave to cool on a plate. Strain the broth into a bowl and discard the tarragon stalks, lemon zest, and peppercorns. Set the broth aside. When the chicken has cooled, cut it into thick strips.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”4″ image_url=”” title=”” ] Add the tahini to a mixing bowl and gradually whisk in 4 tablespoons of the reserved broth to make a smooth, creamy dressing. If the dressing is a bit thick, whisk in another 1 to 2 tablespoons of the broth. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and stir it into the dressing. Chop enough of the tarragon leaves to make 1 tablespoon, and add to the dressing with salt and pepper to taste.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”5″ image_url=”” title=”” ]Cut the chicory or other head lettuce across diagonally into slices about 1 inch thick. Arrange the chicory and spinach in a large salad bowl.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”6″ image_url=”” title=”” ]Peel the oranges, then cut between the membrane into segments. Scatter the segments over the salad leaves, followed by the toasted almonds. Place the chicken strips on top, and spoon over the tahini tarragon dressing. Serve immediately.[/step-item][/step-list-wrapper]

More Ideas
Asian chicken salad: Poach the chicken in broth flavored with 3 thin slices fresh ginger and 3 black peppercorns. Combine 2 cups shredded bok choy, 2 cups torn romaine lettuce, and 1 cup watercress in a large salad bowl, and arrange the sliced chicken on top. Scatter over 3 peeled and diced kiwifruit. For the dressing, whisk together 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger, the grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, a good pinch of fivespice powder (optional) and 3 to 4 tablespoons of the reserved poaching broth until smooth. Spoon the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, and serve with warm pita breads.

[cooking_tip]Tahini contains 18 grams of fat per 2 tablespoons. Only a little of the potent ingredient is needed along with the broth to make a very flavorful and unique dressing for this salad.[/cooking_tip]

[nutrition-info calories=”273″ calories_fat=”101″ fat=”11g” sat_fat=”1g” choles=”67mg” sodium=”127mg” carbs=”14g” sugars=”” protein=”30g” fiber=”5g”]

Excellent source of niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin C. Good source of calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6.

Exchanges: fruit 1, meat (very lean) 4, fat 1 1/2


Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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