Food Travel

Za’atar Chicken & Basil Green Goddess Summer Salad Board

Who doesn’t love a good buffet? I, for one, have never been shy when it comes to self-serve situations, and so it’s really no surprise (to me, anyway) that I’ve found a way to get a salad out of a bowl and on to a big ‘ole board. The great thing about salads is how versatile they can be – and serving them up family-style really highlights just how multi-faceted, dare I say, exciting, a salad truly is, since we all know that salad can have a rep for being one of the more ‘boring’ foods you can eat or prepare. Well, I don’t buy that for one single second. Salad is, in fact, the exact opposite of boring.

Case in point: this Za’atar Chicken & Basil Green Goddess Summer Salad Board. It’s sort of like a summer cobb, but with a few Za’atar-inspired twists. The chicken is roasted to juicy perfection with a healthy rub of Za’atar on top, and while that happens, chickpeas coated in the same spice blend are baked until just crisp and full of flavor. If you haven’t used Za’atar before, get you some! It’s a blend of Middle Eastern herbs and spices like sesame, sumac and coriander, and it’s so, so delicious. It’s often used as garnish for dishes like hummus, but I like to use it just as I would a dry rub or standard spice blend – basically, I smother it on stuff and roast it.

The Basil Green Goddess Dressing is my second-favorite part of this board (it’s just hard to compete with bacon, tbh) and it’s an almost identical recipe to HRH Ina Garten’s version. I simply dial back some of the salt, use yogurt instead of sour cream and add a bit more fresh basil to the mix before serving it up. It’s perfection, and I always make a massive batch to use on tons of stuff – it’s a great marinade, perfect to dip a tomato sandwich in, and – of course – it’s the BEST salad dressing on the block (that’s salad board, humor, ICYMI).

I add a bunch of in-season ingredients to this board, including sweet corn, avocados and tomatoes, and then I stick a few strips of bacon on for good measure (bacon with a salad, always) and I make sure there’s some good, fresh crunch happening from cucumbers and radishes. When it’s all said and done, the board is really beautiful to look at, and it tastes even better. Here’s how you do it:

Za’atar Chicken & Basil Green Goddess Summer Salad Board

Course brunch, dinner, Dinner Party, lunch
Cuisine middle eastern
Keyword green goddess, salad, za’atar
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

For the Basil Green Goddess Dressing (adapted from Ina Garten's recipe)

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup chopped scallions white and green parts
  • 1.25 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice about 2 lemons' worth
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup plain yogurt Greek or traditional works!

For the Za'atar Chicken & Chickpeas

  • 2-4 chicken breasts boneless and skinless
  • 1 can chickpeas drained and well-rinsed
  • Za'atar seasoning blend

For the Board

  • 6-12 strips bacon I portion 3 strips/person
  • 1-2 heads lettuce of your choice I like Bibb or Romaine
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 can sweet corn rinsed (you can use fresh corn, too!)
  • 1-2 avocados I portion 1/2 avo per person
  • 1 cucumber sliced
  • 5 radishes sliced
  • 2 lemons halved

Instructions

For the Basil Green Goddess Dressing

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend until liquified. Store in the fridge.

For the Za'atar Chicken & Chickpeas

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 FAN/375 Fahrenheit.

  2. Generously drizzle the chickpeas and chicken breasts with olive oil and make sure the chickpeas and chicken are well-coated.

  3. Sprinkle Za'atar seasoning on the chickpeas – to taste, I typically use 2 tbsp – and stir to coat the chickepeas in the spice blend.

  4. Sprinkle Za'atar on the top of the chicken breasts and press it into the meat. I use about 2 tsp per breast, but you can use as much or as little as you like.

  5. Bake the chickpeas and chicken breasts on separate, foil-lined baking trays for 20 minutes, or until the chickpeas are just crisp and the chicken is cooked through.

For the Board

  1. If you're using bacon, roast it while the chicken and chickpeas roast: lay the strips on a wire-rack over a baking sheet and bake them, from a cold oven, until crisp – depending on the thickness of the bacon, this takes between 15-20 minutes. Allow the bacon to cool slightly before cutting it in half, if desired.

  2. Prepare the other ingredients by chopping or slicing them however you like and storing them in the fridge until you're ready to make the board. I like to keep everything nice and cold until just before I plate it up so it's really refreshing and crisp when it's served.

  3. Assemble your board! Pop some lettuce down first, and then just go for it! You can arrange the ingredients however you like, there's no right or wrong way to go about it! Don't dress the salad heavily on the board itself, but serve the dressing alongside the board. This way the ingredients on the board don't get soggy. Enjoy!

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