Tuesday, January 10, 2012

App Appeal: Giada's Italian Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups

Another day, another tasty appetizer - and unlike yesterday's delicious-but-admittedly-butter-drenched shrimp, today's recipe is New Year's Resolution- and waistline-friendly. Full of flavor and color, this recipe makes a meal out of shredded chicken, chopped veggies, and cooked pasta, all tucked into fresh lettuce leaves.

The recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Pasta cookbook, with a few changes (of course!), and provides a welcome change of pace from the usual bite-sized or fried appetizer offerings. In fact, this recipe may have changed the way I think about appetizers for good! I'm not sure why I never think to serve salads, pasta or otherwise, as appetizers, but I'll certainly try to incorporate them in the future.

The original recipe calls for the salad to be served with a red wine vinaigrette. Although we made the vinaigrette for our New Year's feast, I should note that everyone preferred the salad without it. Between the onions, the peppers, and lots of fresh parsley, this dish has plenty of flavor of its own, so I'd really recommend not making the vinaigrette. Still, I've provided the recipe for those who'd like to give it a try.

Italian Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups
based on this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis

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) roasted red pepper, diced
1/2 cup (about 1 pepper) roasted yellow pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup capers, drained (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups Red Wine Vinaigrette (optional, recipe below)
12 butter lettuce or belgian endive leaves, washed (about 2 heads)
Shaved parmesan cheese for sprinkling

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

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

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!

This post has been shared at:
The Girl Creative: Just Something I Whipped Up - The Southern Institute: Creative ME Monday - Skip to My Lou: Made By You Monday - C.R.A.F.T: Making Monday Marvelous - I'm Topsy Turvy: Topsy Turvy Tuesday - Not Just a Housewife: Show Me What Ya Got - Hope Studios: Tutorial Tuesday - Reasons to Skip the Housework: Tuesday Time Out - Someday Crafts: Whatever Goes Wednesday - Lady Behind the Curtain: Cast Party Wednesday - Blue Cricket Design: Show and Tell Wednesday - Sew Much Ado: We Did It! Wednesday - Creations by Kara: Look What I Made - Junk in their Trunk: Link It Up Wednesday - House of Hepworths: Hookin' Up with HoH - The Crafty Blog Stalker: Blog Stalking Thursday - Crafty, Scrappy, Happy: Crafty, Scrappy Me Thursday -  Domesbilssity: Thriving on Thursdays - Gluesticks: Get You Brag On - Fireflies and Jellybeans: Show Off Your Stuff Party - Country Momma Cooks: Saturday Link & Greet - Six Sisters' Stuff: Strut Your Stuff Saturday - Gingerbread: Sweet Saturday Link Party - Too Much Time On my Hands: Get Schooled Saturday - Young and Crafty: Free for All - Sassafras Salvation: Sass' Sunday Salvation Show - A Crafty Cook: January Link-up


  1. would love this for lunch today! thanks for stopping by as well :)

  2. This looks delicious! Adorable blog you have here x

  3. Thanks for sharing. this looks delicious. It looks like a nice alternative to the typical "mayonnaise-y" chicken salads.

  4. Wow, looks so tempting & yummy! Thanks for visiting me and for your nice words :)

  5. This sounds great! I will have to try it out! I would love it if you have the chance to link up @ my party this week.

  6. Just wanted to say thanks for linking up to my Thriving on Thursdays party last week. It's on again tomorrow (Australian time). We'd love to see what you've been up to.

    Anne @ Domesblissity xx

  7. This sounds delicious, and it looks so pretty. Love all the color! I am featuring it today at Creations by Kara. :)

  8. These look so good. Love the lettuce cup! Thank you so much for linking up to "Strut Your Stuff Saturday." We hope you'll be back to share more ideas with us next Saturday. -The Sisters