Roasted Chicken and White Bean Salad

In a season typified by rich, calorie-laden foods, sometimes a salad is just what the doctor ordered. Not to leave you feeling deprived, our offering this week is a protein and fiber-packed chicken salad served on a bed of fresh romaine lettuce.

Chicken is a mainstay in the American diet and is great choice for lean protein. It is widely believed that chickens were first domesticated in India about 5,000 years ago. The chickens we know today are the direct ancestor of the wild red jungle fowl found in India, Thailand, Sumatra and Burma.

Additional protein is provided by cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans. Rich in fiber and an excellent source of folate, they provide a nice contrast in texture. To reduce sodium, look for no-salt canned varieties or rinse and drain regular canned beans to reduce sodium by up to 40 percent.

The combination of celery, tomato and basil offers an explosion of flavor with a pleasing crunch that is complemented by the slightly sweet flavor of red onions. A dressing featuring red wine vinegar and lemon juice add hints of acidity, which is balanced and softened by a touch of olive oil. Dijon mustard, garlic and Italian seasonings round out the flavor profile.

This easy to prepare recipe is the perfect addition to lunch served with a hearty piece of whole-grain bread. It can be made in advance and refrigerated; simply re-toss and place it on a bed of fresh lettuce.

Roasted Chicken and White Bean Salad - Makes 6 servings.

2 cups boneless, skinless rotisserie chicken, coarsely chopped
2 (16-oz.) cans no-salt cannellini beans (or regular canned variety, rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup celery, small dice
1 cup tomato, chopped and seeded
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
6 romaine leaves, rinsed and dried
1/3 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped

Place first 5 ingredients (chicken through onion) in mixing bowl, and gently toss to combine.

Combine next 7 ingredients (vinegar through pepper) in mixing bowl and stir with whisk. Pour olive oil in last while whisking the dressing to create a rich consistency. Drizzle over chicken mixture and gently toss to coat.

Serve over romaine lettuce, and garnish with fresh basil.

Per serving: 250 calories, 8 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 23 g carbohydrate, 20 g protein, 7 g dietary fiber, 330 mg sodium.

The Author:

AICR offers a Nutrition Hotline (1-800-843-8114) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday-Friday. This free service allows you to ask a registered dietitian questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR is the only major cancer charity focused exclusively on the link between diet, nutrition and cancer. It provides a range of education programs that help Americans learn to make changes for lower cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. It has provided more than $65 million for research in diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR’s Web address is www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

Recipe Posted: April 3, 2006

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