Which side are you on with Cajun food? Love it? No, thanks it? I enjoy it because of the explosion of flavor that it always has. Flavor like that asks, are you living life as fiercely as you could?
Print this recipe and be fierce: Blackened Chicken Salad for Two
We’ll start with the dressing. The amounts I’m giving you here are for 2 servings. Math is required should you be needing more than that. I am sorry, but Wednesdays are not my math days, Thursdays are.
I put my ingredients in a bowl for production value, aka a pretty picture. You should just plop all of them into a blender and whizz it all together.
I’m on a tofu craze, so I started with 1/3 cup of soft silken tofu. Plus 1 tablespoon of deli style mustard (Please use one that’s Dijon style with visible mustard grains in it, not the fluorescent yellow kind). 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. And the twist, the zest and juice of 1 lime. A dash of salt and black pepper is good too.
This is an intense dressing, but it has to be able to cut the spiciness of the blackened chicken. The citrus from the lime and tang of the apple cider vinegar do just that.
Liquify all this in your blender, and let it wait while you finish everything else.
Surprisingly, blackened chicken is an easy thing to make. You need 3 ingredients: chicken, Cajun seasoning, and oil (olive or vegetable or canola all work). You’ll make an assembly line for your spicing process: olive oil (2-3 tablespoons), 1/4 cup of Cajun spices (this was my entire small bottle of Cajun spice!), and a saute pan warming up 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
Now all we have to do is add chicken. I cut 2 boneless, skinless breasts long-wise into tenders. Again, math required for more servings.
I know, it’s intimidating to use this much spice. Cajun food really asks you to take risks. Honestly, this is the one and only time in my life where I’ve used an entire brand new bottle of spice in one recipe. It seemed absurd, but oh man, once I tasted that spice delight crusted on the chicken, I forgot everything.
Grab one chicken tender.
Drop it in the oil and coat both sides lightly. Drip off any excess oil.
Now plop the chicken tender in the Cajun seasoning. Give it a bath basically. Cover as much of the chicken in a coat of spices. Really press it in, but keep in mind you have other chicken pieces, so don’t let one tender hog it all.
Then put the chicken in the heated saute pan. Repeat with all your chicken tenders.
DON’T TOUCH THE CHICKEN for 5 minutes. This is called blackened chicken, remember? Not that it’s burned, it shouldn’t be, but every time you touch the chicken a little bit of the spices flake off making it less spice-blackened. This bears repeating, the less you touch it, the better the flavor.
After 5 minutes, flip the tenders and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes. Here’s my one and only flip. Fabulously spice-crusted.
Remove the chicken from the heat, and let it rest on a plate while you chop up the rest of your salad ingredients. This is where you look at what you have in your fridge and use that or whatever you like in your salads. Don’t have romaine, use iceberg. Prefer the spring mix; you’re genius. Have some leftover roasted veggies from last night’s dinner? That’s one of my favorite things to add to salads. We all have our own routes to Blackened Chicken deliciousness.
Here’s my route for two newlyweds. I had 6 leaves of romaine lettuce. 1/2 cup of grated carrots, about 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro (always needed on salads), 1 garden-fresh tomato, and 2 green onions. (Shameful side note- we only had baby carrots which is why I decided to grate them up before taking the shot of salad ingredients. I don’t recommend that, unless you want your knuckles an eighth of an inch away from sharp grates. Blood is not an ingredient of this recipe).
Prettily arrange all your salad ingredients in a bowl. Or just throw them in.
Now add 1 peeled and diced apple. You’ll swoon, I promise because in one bite you can have spicy Cajun chicken, sweet apple crunch, and citrus lime tang. Apples are one of my go-to ingredients on salads, especially for a touch of sweetness. Once you start adding them to salads, you won’t be able to stop.
Cut the chicken into chunks the size of quarters and sprinkle over the salad greens.
Drizzle half of the dressing over each salad.