Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Skinny Summer Salads

The official start of summer may be Friday, but it's in full swing down in Mississippi. We're having 90+ degree days and summer thunderstorms that are here one minute and gone the next. With the sudden rising temperatures, we've been craving cool, light lunches in the Abernathy household.

One of my favorite cooking substitutes is Greek yogurt, and adding it to classic creamy salads is an easy way to lighten them up without losing flavor. I make these chicken salad and broccoli salad recipes all the time for quick lunches, work potlucks and other events, and they disappear pretty quickly, so I think that's a good sign.  Andrew loves the chicken salad for weekday lunches as well. I'm not a great salad photographer, so please know that they are delicious even if they don't quite look it in the photos!

Skinny Chicken Salad
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, shredded (about 3 cups)
2 Tbsp. non-fat Greek yogurt (suggested: Fage)
2 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup sliced green grapes
½ cup shaved almonds
3/4 cup dried cranberries

1.) Combine shredded chicken, grapes, almonds and cranberries and mix well. 
2.) Toss chicken mixture with Greek yogurt and mayonnaise (enough to cover but not saturate.) 
3.) Refrigerate for at least an hour. (Best if refrigerated overnight.) Feel free to increase or decrease amount of grapes, almonds and cranberries depending on personal tastes. If it's a little dry, add more Greek yogurt or mayo. Serve over lettuce, on whole wheat crackers or as a chicken salad sandwich. Oh, and don't forget to use the leftover chicken bones to make a delicious stock!

Light(er) Broccoli Salad
2 heads of broccoli, florets pulled apart (about 3 cups)
3-4 green onions, chopped
1/4 c. slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 -  c. cheddar cheese
3/4 c. dried cranberries

For the dressing:
2/3 c. Greek yogurt
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

1.) Combine broccoli, green onions, almonds, cheese and cranberries in a bowl.
2.) Mix dressing by whisking yogurt, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl.
3.) Toss broccoli mixture with dressing.
4.) Crumble bacon on top and mix in.
5.) Refrigerate for at least an hour.

What are your summer favorites? Do make any adjustments to turn classic recipes into (almost) guilt free dishes?


  1. I like that dressing for a lighter broccoli salad!

  2. I love salads in the summer. When it gets so hot, salads fill me up without making me feel heavy. I've never cooked with greek yogurt, but now I must try it.