Cook a bag of whole-wheat fusilli pasta according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a bowl and dress immediately with balsamic vinaigrette. Bring to room temperature, then add 8 ounces of crumbled Gorgonzola, the shredded meat from an entire chicken, a pound of thinly sliced nectarines and a handful of torn basil leaves. Season with lots of ground pepper.
Chicken Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese
Combine equal amounts of shredded or cubed chicken with fresh sliced peaches, plus slices of red onion to taste. Dress with a balsamic vinaigrette and dot with knobs of goat cheese, either plain or herbed.
Chicken Cobb Salad
In a wide shallow bowl, place a mix of cold chopped iceberg and romaine lettuce. Arrange piles of cubed chicken, sliced hard-boiled eggs, crumbled blue cheese, chopped tomatoes, crumbled turkey bacon, sliced avocado and scallions. Dress with light ranch.
Waldorf Chicken Salad
Waldorf salad doesn’t have to be for Thanksgiving only. Traditionally, it’s chopped apples and celery mixed with toasted walnuts and dressed with a sweetened mayonnaise. Add sliced red grapes and cubed chicken to bulk it up for a hearty deskside work lunch. Make a dressing from mayonnaise mixed with a little honey.
Tarragon Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups
The licorice zing of fresh tarragon pairs well with chicken. For 4 cups of chicken, you’ll need about 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon. Dress the salad with mayonnaise and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, then add some crunch in the form of sliced celery. Keep it simple or add halved grapes, dried cherries or chopped nuts. A few scoops in an ice cold lettuce cup fancies it up for a meal.
Honey Cranberry Chicken Salad
Mix 4 cups cubed chicken with 1 cup dried cranberries, 3 chopped celery ribs and 1/2 cup toasted pecans. Make a dressing of 11/2 cups mayonnaise mixed with 1/3 cup honey and seasoned salt and pepper. Serve on a bed of lettuce.
Chicken Panzanella Salad
Bread — such as focaccia, French or Italian — that’s past its prime (that means a bit stale) still has life in an Italian panzanella salad. Cube the bread and mix it with chopped tomatoes and basil plus sliced red pepper and red onion. Dress with a red wine vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. The liquid from the dressing and tomatoes will revive the bread. Before serving, mix in shredded chicken.
Chinese Chicken Noodle Salad
Make a salad of shredded iceberg lettuce, torn mint leaves, sliced cucumbers and shredded carrots. Top with still-warm cooked vermicelli noodles and cold shredded chicken. Dress with a ginger vinaigrette (Annie’s makes one) or Girard’s Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing and garnish with chopped peanuts.