Saturday 8 November 2014

Shredded Chicken, Mango and Avocado Salad

Did you know that a salad is basically defined as a bunch of raw (or cooked) stuff, cut up and served cold (except when it's served warm)? Seriously. Look it up.

Did you also know that a salad is basically the single easiest meal to prepare? Well it is. If you want the most effortless job at a potluck, volunteer to make a salad. It’s also got the added bonus of carrying really low expectations, so when you actually turn up with a sexy number like this one, even your dad will be proud of you.

That’s all I’ve ever wanted…

I know big guy. I know.

    Throw a chicken breast on the pan and fry, flipping once, until cooked through. When it’s done, shred it and fry the pieces for a couple more minutes. I kid you not, that is the most complicated and time consuming thing you’ll have to do in this whole recipe.

    While the chicken’s cooking, stone and peel a mango and an avocado, then cut them up. Slice some red onion and a couple of tomatoes. Wash a few handfuls of baby spinach. Now take a break. You’ve earned it.

    Once the chicken is finished, chuck it in a bowl with the prepared fruit and veg. Shred buffalo mozzarella on top, sprinkle with some peanuts and squeeze a lime over everything as a dressing. Throw on some shaved parmesan and cracked black pepper. Couldn’t be simpler.

I’m honestly surprised I’ve even scrolled down this far. Salads are the devil’s work.

Maybe you need to reconsider why it is that you don’t like salad. They’re vegetarian? They’re not filling enough? They’re too bland?  ‘Cause this one has meat, cheese, nuts, and a whole bunch of awesome flavours working together. Give it a try.

Ingredients (serves 3) - €10

  • 1 free range chicken breast
  • 1 mango
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 vine tomatoes
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella
  • a handful of salted peanuts
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 lime
  • parmesan (for shaving)
  • black pepper
  • olive oil

The big ‘ol bowl of salad in the picture up top contains exactly half of the ingredients listed. So this makes a heck of a lot. Hope you got a big appetite!

    First thing you’ll need to do is heat up some olive oil in a pan. Cut your chicken breast in half, horizontally, so you end up with two thinner pieces. This way they’ll cook faster. Put them in the pan and leave to fry for about 8-10 minutes before turning them and doing the same on the other side.

    In the meantime, prep the raw ingredients. Start with the mango, as you’ll need to remove the stone. A great way to do this is with a spoon. Hold the mango so that its wide side (its “cheek”) is facing you, and the pointy part is at the top. Cut into it all the way around the edge, from the top to the bottom and back up, slicing right in to the stone. Now get a spoon and insert it into the cut, starting at the top. The curve of the spoon will hug the stone, and as you push deeper it will separate the stone from the flesh. Unlike with most things in life, if you hear a tearing sound, you're doing it right. Then do it again on the other side of the stone. Before I learned this method, my stoned mangos always had a “beginning of an episode of Dexter” look about them. Hahaha... stoned mangos... Sorry.

    With the stone removed, just slice the mango halves into strips and, using a knife, easily peel the skin off each slice. Cut them into bite-sized pieces or smaller, and they’re ready to go.

    Now cut the avocado in half and remove the stone. This is much easier, just whack a knife blade into it, twist, and it pops out. Just, you know, don’t miss the avocado. That part’s important. The skin should simply peel away if the avocado is ripe.

    The last bit of prep to do is slice or chop the tomatoes (I’ll leave that up to your creative sensibilities),  thinly slice the red onion, and wash the spinach. Baby spinach is like… the Rosetta Stone for salad making. It unlocks all the awesomeness that you’d never fully understood before. Embrace it. By eating it.

    At this point, your chicken might be finished. When it is, take it out of the pan and use a pair of forks to shred it into rough strips. Put them back into the pan and fry for another 3-4 minutes, getting them crispier. Once they’re ready, you can throw them in a serving bowl, along with the mango, avocado, tomato, onion and spinach.

    Pick up the ball of mozzarella and rip it into pieces, adding them to the salad. Scatter in the salted peanuts, grind in some pepper and squeeze in the lime. The combination, along with the oil from the fried chicken, makes a salad dressing in its own right, so you won’t need to make a vinaigrette or anything else. It’s not lazy, it’s culinary genius.

    For a finishing touch, if you have any parmesan knocking around, use a knife to pare off some thin shavings. It looks fancy as all hell, and adds a great texture, just like in a Caesar salad. Go ahead. You deserve the finer things in life. Enjoy.

(If you’re feeling classy, you can arrange it all pretty-like as you make it, the way I did. But it tastes exactly the same tossed together in a big delicious mess.)


  1. Going back to the apartment to make that RIGHT NOW! Yum!

    1. A wise decision! I'd honestly make this every week if I lived somewhere with an abundance of mangos and avocados.