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Recipe: Healthified Chicken Salad aka “Seed Salad” {GUEST POST}

This is a guest post from Tiffany of Don’t Waste the Crumbs.

Earlier this year, my husband and I made a conscious decision for our family to eat better. Granted, we didn’t think we ate “bad” to begin with. Our meals were mostly homemade and nowhere near heat-and-serve-from-a-box-status, but with all the illness and behavior problems that food seems to be causing (or the lack of proper nutrition over time can cause), improving our health through what we eat is something we want to take charge of and do something about now. Our goals seemed simple:

  1. Eat more vegetables and less meat
  2. Eat more nutrient-dense food and less “fluff” food
  3. Make even more from scratch and rely less on store-bought

The more I analyzed our kitchen, the more I realized how much work our kitchen needed! This was not going to be an easy task! These seemingly simple goals were not easy to achieve, and the conversion process was having a profound impact on my cooking, baking and shopping habits. In fact, when I started looking closer at the nutrition labels of our favorite foods (to see what exactly we were eating), I had a few disturbing revelations:

  • boxed “granola” bars have more sugar than granola
  • nutritionally, many of our main ingredients weren’t the best option available
  • many of our “basic” foods had ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce

That’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but those ideas catapulted me into re-thinking the food we ate, and how we ate it.

RELATED: Kid-Friendly Dinner Salads

Simple Transformations

The transformation started with an urge (and a necessity after reading the label) to make my own granola bars. Granted, I used sweetened condensed milk – from a can – but it was a step in the right direction. (I’ve since found Katie’s homemade version of sweetened condensed milk.) My family was skeptical at first, but their stomachs won them over after the taste test. Then I started making my own oat flour for the most requested breakfast meal, banana chocolate chip breakfast muffins. I slowly added ingredients with greater health benefits and now my family prefers the newer, updated recipe with wheat bran and flax seed! I’ve also recently started making my own bread, which my husband prefers over any other bread he’s had!

Once I was able to overhaul some of the basics in our house, I was willing to be (slightly) adventurous. I had heard of the awesome benefits of coconut oil, but wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, other than making coconut rice. I also wanted to eat more nuts, but I knew better than to open up a jar of honey roasted salted peanuts. Sunflower seeds and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) had also piqued my interest, and I had eaten them both before, but chewing them until the seed came out and then putting the seed into dinner wasn’t going to make the family very happy.

I was making chicken salad one day for lunch and wanted to switch out the mayonnaise for something else. What’s the problem with mayonnaise? Nothing, if you make your own. But the fat-free version I had in my fridge had four ingredients listed as “cautionary” and five ingredients that are “not normally found in mayonnaise.” Uh-oh. To top it off, I like my chicken salad to be very wet, which means a lot of mayonnaise, and I certainly did not want to eat a lot of “questionable yuck.”

Becoming Adventurous

I opened my pantry, saw the coconut oil and immediately pulled it out. While I can’t eat the oil straight (and I’ve tried, but it’s a texture thing), I could melt it and it would certainly make my salad moist enough and would probably even compliment my salad flavors (chicken, apples and cranberries). One taste test and I was sold on all counts!

Nuts were next on my list of food adventures and since I had made my own almond milk, I still had almonds (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) in the pantry. Oddly enough, I never considered eating them as a snack or using them in any other recipe! My thoughts drifted back to the chicken salad. Could my salad use a little crunch? Sure, why not? So I chopped up a serving of almonds and tossed them in. Delicious again!

I finally had to bite the bullet on the dreaded seeds. I don’t have anything against seeds themselves, per se, but the people I saw eating them were also eating eggplant, I have an issue with eggplant. Eggs come from chickens. A plant grows in the ground. This “vegetable” seems to have a personality conflict, and it’s purple! I don’t know if I can eat purple food!

Anyway, did you know that you could buy sunflower seeds already hulled? And pumpkin seeds too? Buh-bye gross chewing and spitting out factor!

Did you also know that ounce for ounce, sunflower seeds have more than half as much protein as chicken? They also contain more fiber, are full of both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and are excellent for heart, bone, skin and nervous system health.

And how about those pepitas?! Another excellent source of protein (even more than the sunflower seeds!), good-for-you fatty acids and beyond excellent for digestive health!

I added a serving (or two) of each to my salad, left off the chicken, and the Seed Salad was born. I’ve since been eating this on the majority of days for lunch. I even made this one day for my husband’s lunch (who had been taking a traditional garden salad and would normally NOT touch seeds with a ten foot pole, like me) and he’s since requested this over his garden salads! It’s filling, so delicious, beyond good for you, and I want to share it with you all. It’s extremely versatile and can be altered to fit taste preferences, allergy needs, and pantry availability.

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Seeds on Wooden Spoons

Recipe: Healthified Chicken Salad aka “Seed Salad”

  • Author: Tiffany

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbs. sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbs. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 Tbs. flax seed (whole or ground)
  • 1/4 c. almonds (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!), chopped
  • 1/3 c. dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit of your choice)
  • 1 med apple, chopped


ship kroger


Instructions

  1. Melt oil in a bowl. Add seeds, almonds and cranberries and mix well. Add apple and mix well. Enjoy!

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Tiffany from Don\'t Waste the Crumbs

I’m Tiffany, an in-house day care teacher, private chef, housekeeper, laundry service, chauffeur and dedicated CEO to making sure my house runs smoothly. I aim to be a good steward of all He has given me, so I try to do more {and do it better} with less. I’m making baby-sized strides and would be honored if you joined me for the ride!

15 thoughts on “Recipe: Healthified Chicken Salad aka “Seed Salad” {GUEST POST}”

    1. Linda Robinson

      Nevermind, I read the line about replacing the chicken with seeds. Out of curiosity, did you try it with chicken?

  1. Love this but after the first batch I made some adjustments. Perhaps because I doubled it we found it slightly greasy and because I used ground flax it was a little gritty (plus ground flax is not our favourite tasting thing). For the second attempt I used half of the oil and only half the ground flax. To the double batch I also added 1 tbsp of coconut palm sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon. The sugar was just an experiment and we decided it wasn’t really necessary but the cinnamon is now a must in our house.

  2. mmm. I just made this and it is so good! sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on. yum! question: is this a recipe for one, or do you usually split it?

  3. This salad is delicious! The coconut oil is such a mild flavor in the background; so yummy and easy to make!

  4. Looks so good and I have all the ingredients to make it so supper is half done. You seem to be making a lot of great food choices but I would like to recomment one more; reduce or even cut out breads (even whole grain). The research proves that most grains contribute to mental decline and I know I sure can’t afford that:) It also raises blood sugar levels which several doctors now say should be at 70 fasting. Take care and may God bless you on your journey. Look up Dr. Perlmutter for more on the grain thing if you are interested.

  5. The Fairy Godmother

    I speak from experience… this salad is AWESOME! Tiff made me one when I visited last month. I just printed off the recipe and I’ll be having it for lunch tomorrow! =)

  6. Pingback: Guest Post: Healthy Chicken Salad, aka “Seed Salad” « Don't Waste the Crumbs!

    1. Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs

      When we prepare this ahead of time (like in the morning for lunch later in the day), we store it at room temperature and stir well before eating.

      Another make-ahead option is to combine all ingredients except the apple and coconut oil the night before. The next morning, or at lunch time, melt the coconut oil and chop the apple and add to the previously combined nuts/seeds.

  7. This looks so yummy!! I imagine it’s pretty affordable, too. I’ll be giving this a try very soon : )

    1. Tiffany @ DontWastetheCrumbs

      Ashley, I’ve found that the most expensive ingredients are the pepitas and coconut oil, but both offer immense health benefits and are real food, so we keep both stocked in our house. On the flip side, you don’t use very much in each salad so one package/jar goes a long way!

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