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13 May 2015

Cajun Chick'n & Avocado Salad

Serves: 2
Time: 30-40 mins
Cajun Chick'n & Avocado Salad
Over the past few days my revision has been very productive and I'm feeling slightly less stressed about my exams in two weeks time, but I have also been craving carbs like crazy, pasta, home made pizza, chips - anything starchy basically, so when I woke up actually wanting smoothies and salad I thought I'd take advantage of that and try out a new recipe while I'm at it! I used dried soy pieces for this recipe as the majority of chicken alternatives contain egg, I bought mine in Holland and Barrett but many health food shops and supermarkets also stock them (look for soya chunks, sometimes in the Asian section). The chunks require being soaked in water to re-hydrate, but after this can be treated like any other meat substitute and are a cheap, additive free source of protein. Though it can be tedious to wait for the soy chunks to soak, ensure they're completely soft before draining them or they'll be pretty tough. I used romaine lettuce for this salad, I like the crunch it brings and it has some softer leaves too, with compliment the avocado and chick'n well.
Cajun Chick'n & Avocado Salad
This recipe contains no added oil or sugar and the salad dressing is made from sunflower seeds so is completely tree nut free too, but sliced almonds could be used in their place. The spicy chick'n pieces, along with the creamy, nutty avocado, crisp romaine lettuce and perfectly seasoned salad dressing combine for a perfect summer lunch or side salad. Salads get such a bad rep for being boring and tasteless; this really is anything but! Other veg liked grated carrot, cucumber, peppers etc can also be added to the recipe. The dried herbs and spices I use in this recipe I have built up over time and I consider staple ingredients to my cooking, Jamie Oliver once said if herbs didn't exist he would give up cooking tomorrow and I feel the same way - seasonings make or break a dish and are definitely a crucial element - buying in larger bags rather than the small glass containers can also keep the cost down.
Cajun Chick'n & Avocado Salad

You'll need:

  • Bowl
  • Colander
  • Measuring Cups
  • Baking Tray + grease-proof paper
  • High speed blender/food processor
  • Salad tongs
  • Chopping board
  • Knife

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soy pieces + 3 cups water
  • 1 head romaine lettuce or your favourite leafy greens
  • 1 avocado
Cajun Seasoning:
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more for added heat)
Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar (with no preservatives e.g. Aspall)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 10 capers*

*Can be found near the olives in a supermarket, they really bring the dressing together and can be used in other sauces to really boost the flavour. One jar will go a long way in your cooking.

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C & line a baking tray with grease-proof paper. 
  2. Soak the soy pieces in water for 20-30 minutes until completely soft & squidgy. Then drain well and squeeze the water out. 
  3. Mix together the spices for the cajun seasoning & once the soy pieces have been drained, coat them fully in the seasoning, spread out on a baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the sunflower seeds, vinegar, garlic powder and water to the blender and blend until completely smooth, then add the capers and blend again for about 10 seconds. 
  5. Shred the lettuce, dice the avocado and add to a bowl, pour over the dressing (you may only need half of it) and toss together. Serve up with the cajun chick'n pieces and enjoy! Cassidy xx
  6. Store any leftover salad dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days after making.
Cajun Chick'n & Avocado Salad