With temperatures in triple digits for the third consecutive week, who feels like turning on the oven? Not me!
One of my favorite quick weeknight suppers when it is much too hot to turn on the oven is my ultra flexible main course salad with Gardein Chipotle Lime Flavored Chick’n Tenders. Just 6 to 7 minutes in my trusty air fryer yields delicious vegan chicken strips that are tender, crisper, and taste much more like “real chicken” than either of the preparation methods suggested by Gardein on its packaging. Pre-heating an oven to 450 degrees and then cooking for 20 minutes? Not me!
With only 1 in 10 Americans eating the recommended five servings of vegetables and fruit every day, this quick and easy supper salad doubles that amount – plus giving you about 25 grams of protein between the Gardein vegan chick’n tenders and the garbanzo beans.
Pre-heat your air fryer to 400 degrees for about 5 minutes. Then cook however many Gardein Chipotle Lime Chick’n Tenders you want in the lightly oiled air fryer basket – about 5 minutes on one side, and then flipped and cooked just another minute or two.
In the photo above, I was eating alone, so I only used two. However, when my hubby is with me, I’ll make the entire package (6 strips), which will fit in the air fryer basket without overcrowding.
Let them rest for about two minutes so that the breading doesn’t fall off, before cutting into smaller strips for the salad.
While the air fryer is pre-heating and the Gardein chicken strips are cooking (and then resting before being sliced), you will be quickly putting together your salad and dressing.
Start with the greens. I used organic spring mix, baby gem lettuce, romaine, lacinato kale, and sunflower sprouts. Rinse it thoroughly and then spin dry in a salad spinner.
Add your favorite veggies (organic if possible). Mine include:
- Sweet cherry tomatoes (from our garden)
My lemony sharp vinaigrette is one I’ve been making for decades. In fact, I’ve made it so often, that measuring stopped long ago. I just put all of the following into my forty year old Cuisinart Mini-Prep Processor:
- Lemon – Juiced and zested
- Garlic clove (or two), pressed
- Dijon mustard
- White wine vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce (Annie’s is the best vegan brand)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cayenne or smoked paprika – just a pinch!
- Fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, basil, dill – whatever I have handy)
After buzzing the ingredients listed above, I drizzle in organic extra virgin olive oil (through the small holes in the container’s top) with the motor running on low, until the mixture looks smooth, glossy, slightly thickened – in short, thoroughly emulsified. For those who like precise amounts, I usually use about twice as much oil as the combined amount of lemon and vinegar. I often see vinaigrette recipes with a 4 to 1 ratio, but that seems like far too much oil for me!
You can also make the vinaigrette in a blender or even a mason jar. For the latter, just put all the ingredients in the mason jar and shake well. Occasionally, I’ll add a small amount of mayo (about 1/2 teaspoon), but I didn’t this time because I didn’t have a jar of vegan mayo in my pantry.
The next thing you need to do is toss everything well in a large salad bowl – along with any optional extras like drained and rinsed garbanzo beans for added protein, kalamata olives for their meaty saltiness, and sunflower seeds for their textural crunch.
Then add your lemony sharp vinaigrette and toss again. . .
After I plate the salads, I add the sliced Gardein Chipotle Lime Chick’n Tenders on top. I’ve tried tossing the still warm strips with the salad, but some of the tasting breading inevitably falls off – and then the salad doesn’t look as pretty.
In less than twenty minutes, you’ll be eating a healthy, high protein vegan supper – and you won’t have raised the temperature in your kitchen by even a degree!