Italian Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups

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With the summer-like weather in New York today, this is the perfect recipe for the moment. If you need something to eat and you don’t want to heat up your kitchen — bingo. This is delicious and satisfying–it’s an awesome pasta salad with meat plus crunch from almonds and salty capers, all in a lettuce bowl. I love that the recipe calls for red and yellow pepper — I’m a huge fan of these over green. You get great flavor but it’s sweeter and less harsh than green peppers. This is a perfect meal for a picnic in the park or to take to the beach. Cool and refreshing!

TW’s Tips

  • If you don’t feel like dirtying a blender, put the dressing in a Tupperware and shake it up to blend it.
  • Per above, don’t substitute green peppers. Worth it to pay a bit extra for the yellow, orange or red variety.
  • I cut the Parmesan into thick slices versus grating it, for more flavor.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded by hand (top tip: use a rotisserie chicken for ease and flavor!)
  • 1/2 slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 lb farfalle pasta, freshly cooked
  • 1/2 cup (about 1 pepper) red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup (about 1 pepper) yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 12 butter lettuce or belgian endive leaves, washed (about 2 heads)
  • Shaved parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Directions

Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain, set aside, and allow to cool. In a large mixing bowl, toss together chicken, almonds, peppers, onion, parsley, and capers. Stir in pasta and enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate salad until you are ready to serve. Then, place 1 lettuce cup on a small plate and fill with chicken salad. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette, if desired, garnish with shaved parmesan, and serve.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil

Directions

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. Gradually add the oil while blending and blend until emulsified. Be sure to stir the mixture prior to using!