I do so adore the color green.

Whenever the kitchen beckons to me all the way home from work, even forcing a $30 sidetrip to Kroger for specific ingredients, it’s a call I must heed. It’s also probably not the time to be nearby unless you don’t mind being a guinea pig trying out my sometimes-unusual creations. If your palette is limited (as mine was for the first three decades of my life), you’d better high-tail it before I harangue you – in a congenial way, of course – about being “a picky wuss”. Or something more colorful if I know you well enough.

Ahem. So, chicken salad is common enough, whether traditional or Waldorf or buffalo-style. In fact, I’m sure there are just about as many different chicken salad recipes as there are families. However, mayonnaise-based “salads” have never appealed much to me. Way too much of a tendency for them to be too wet. And mayo itself is a “textural fiesta” (as this lovely blogger might opine) that I cannot often abide by. Really, it totally ooks me out most of the time. My husband’s tuna and egg salad is good (when he keeps it simple) and I have a fondness for deviled eggs though I like neither mayo nor mustard on just about anything else – much less together. Just. Ew.

The inspiration for this variation of chicken salad was pesto. Sort of. Because I make a pesto with spinach as the main component. But I couldn’t call this dish “pesto” anything because there’s no basil. Not one leaf of the stuff. Though there is a small plant of it growing in my kitchen (until I kill it). I wanted to make a Green Eggs and Ham reference, too, but alas – no ham and the only egg was in the Annie’s Naturals Green Goddess organic dressing I used.

To make this convenient, I used the aforementioned dressing, rotisserie chicken and pre-washed baby spinach. I also picked up a bag each of red grapes and plain pecans. You can take the long way ’round if you prefer but I’ve rarely been able to beat store-cooked rotisserie for taste and convenience when you need chicken in a hurry. Cut up as much of the chicken as you think you’d want – I probably used a cup or so because I didn’t want it too chicken-y. Yeah, I said it.

Pack a small food processor (I think mine’s a three-cup) loosely with baby spinach leaves then add about 1/2 a cup of pecans (whole or pieces), 2 tablespoons of organic hulled hempseed, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I used an Australian extra virgin olive oil since it’s what I happened to have on hand.

Ready To Go For A Spin

In retrospect, I probably should have soaked the pecans – it’s a process I’ve read about but haven’t fully learned yet that’s supposed to improve the digestability of nuts.

Vary your food processor speed/direction between chop and grind (or whatever your settings are) until you start to get a thick paste and all of the spinach leaves have been chopped well. Add a little more olive oil if you need, but keep it spare.

A good illustration of the consistency - it easily formed soft patties. Which turned into a side project. That I haven't tasted yet.

When you have the thick paste consistency, add some Green Goddess dressing, probably 2 tablespoons, but keep in mind that you can adjust the moisture later once you’ve mixed in the chicken and grapes. Blend just until the dressing is incorporated, which takes only a few seconds.

Transfer your spinach mixture into a large bowl and add diced rotisserie chicken and cut grapes. I used around 1 cup of chicken and 2 cups of grapes, but the proportions are up to you. As a final step, I added some minced ginger (from a jar) – maybe 1 teaspoon or two. That stuff is P-O-T-E-N-T so I go easy on it but it gives almost anything a nice deep, multi-dimensional quality. You could probably add a little bit of good quality sea salt, but I felt like I was good to go once the minced ginger was incorporated.

Not one to photograph well, it certainly tasted just fine!

A piece of whole wheat lavash bread warmed in the oven was my food conveyor of choice, which made for a nice, light dinner. It might go well with crackers, or maybe on celery, too. Personally, I just can’t wait to see the looks on my co-workers faces when I explain what it is – Wonder if any of them will be as brave as my husband and actually give it a try!

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