To make a delightful salad, you don’t need the world. Just 4/5 fresh great quality ingredients and you are done. Remember, for a good chicken salad, quality of chicken breast would remain the king and freshness of veggies would be the differentiator.
For my salad, I prefer procuring antibiotic free chicken, if possible free range. If I am going to smoke it myself, I am very particular about procuring the right chicken but if I am buying a certified “Free Range Antibiotic Free Smoked Chicken Breast” it makes my task far easier.
It is best to stick to 4-5 veggies, in this case I went for Green, Yellow and Red Capsicum and fresh “Desi Tomatoes”. I skipped everything else including onions and leaves.
Chicken was smoked with herbs, spices, orange juice, salt and sugar rub, and I smoked it super slow. It was dunked in orange juice brine for 4 hours and that gave a nice juicy inside to the cuts. I did mop it with butter and honey twice during the smoking process but kept it lightly smoked and not burnt.
On the other hand, I allowed my veggies to breathe each other in a bowl, especially making sure tomato juice mingles well with capsicum/ bell-peppers.
No, veggies were not sauteed, but yes I did pat them dry before adding them to the salad. Ratio for a Protein Power salad is simple: 250 Grams of Smoked Chicken needs 250 Grams of Veggies to complete the drill. Yes, veggies were also organic certified and were fresh 1-2 days old and not the ones through the cold-chain process.
This always takes time as it needs to be staged but actual active preparation time is less than 15 minutes. If you are good with pre-smoked chicken breast, time gets reduced dramatically and taste may not be very different. To each their own.