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Greek Chicken Salad

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Greek chicken salad

Writer Andria Dilling loved this fresh take on chicken salad from a specialty grocery store in Virginia.

My daughter is spending the summer in Richmond, Virginia, and while I was there with her last week we took on a new obsession: the Greek Chicken Salad at Stella’s Grocery. The small, bright specialty grocery stores are spin-offs of the super-popular Stella’s Greek restaurant, stocked with all kinds of yummy-looking pre-made salads and entrees. One of the locations happens to be the perfect spot around the corner for coffee on the way to my daughter’s internship or lunch later, which will yield leftovers for dinner. Perfect college summer fare.

Of course we had to try it all upon arrival, so my daughter would know what to go for when she was out in the wild with no mom around (and so she wouldn’t have to waste her own money on something she didn’t like). The thing I took pictures of and came back to Texas trying to recreate: Stella’s Greek Chicken Salad. This is a mayonnaise-less chicken salad, getting its “dressing” from lemon juice, herbs, and feta cheese, which gets a little creamy – kind of like a light mayo – when you toss everything together. Using already-grilled chicken makes it easy to throw together and also contributes to the Greek flavor. Dried cherries add pops of sweetness.

Who ever thought of a chicken salad without mayonnaise? Stella’s, thank you for the twist. You’ve got big fans in Texas!

Greek Chicken Salad
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
¾ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt 
A couple of turns of freshly ground pepper
2 boneless, skinless grilled chicken breasts, cut into small cubes (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
¼ cup dried cherries
¼ cup finely crumbled feta
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts

In a small bowl, stir the lemon juice, oregano, and basil together. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the chicken, parsley, cherries, feta, and walnuts (easiest done with clean hands). Pour the dressing over and toss again.

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