Paleo Chicken Salad with Bacon and Tomatoes
Why This Recipe Works
Most chicken salads are made with creamy, mayonnaise-based dressings. But store-bought mayo isn’t part of the paleo diet, so we decided to take a different approach for our recipe and make a flavorful, vinaigrette-style dressing and incorporate some simple paleo-friendly mix-ins. Bacon seemed like a good place to start; its smoky, savory depth complemented the mild chicken breasts perfectly. We used the bacon in two ways: We cut it into small pieces, which we crisped and added to the salad for a crunchy textural element, and we used the bacon fat as a base for our dressing. Mixing the bacon fat with some extra-virgin olive oil lent the dressing a silkier texture. Aromatic shallot and garlic as well as some tangy apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard rounded out our vinaigrette. Finally, we stirred fresh cherry tomatoes into the salad for acidity and mild sweetness. For perfectly tender, juicy meat, we poached chicken breasts in 6 cups of salted water, which acted as a brine to keep our chicken moist as the water slowly heated to 170 degrees. We then removed the pot from the heat and let it stand covered for about 15 minutes, allowing the chicken to cook through slowly and gently.