Fake It >> Trader Joe's Grilled Chicken Salad
with Honey-Basil Dressing
Actually, I have to admit that I can't remember the name of Trader Joe's salad; it's one of the little pre-packaged lunch salads (with the dressing on the side) in the clam-shell containers in their deli section. I happened on to it one summer day in 2010 when I was all by my lonesome at lunchtime--and that's a dangerous thing! I immediately fell in love with the crunch of the Salad and the flavor of the Dressing. I think I all but licked out the container when I was finished! Then I went to work to recreate the Salad and Dressing. The Salad was easy--I could see what was in it and it was clearly posted on the ingredient label in order of weight. The Dressing was a little bit harder, but thankfully TJ's doesn't use all the un-pronounceable things that I wouldn't have a clue how to replicate. I think this is pretty close to the Original Salad.
For the Salad (and you can vary the amounts to suit your taste):
Chopped Romaine Lettuce
Israeli Couscous (I use about 3 dry Tablespoons, cooked in about 1 1/2 Cups Boiling Water until al dente, then drain the water. Orzo or Acini de Pepe would work if you can't find Israeli Couscous)
Sliced Green Onion
Dried Currants (I use dried blueberries)
Diced Red Bell Pepper
For the Honey-Basil Dressing:
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Cups packed fresh Basil
1 1/2 Tablespoons Chopped Shallot
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar (use White Balsamic if you can, regular will make the Dressing dark-colored)
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
Dash Cayenne Pepper
1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 Tablespoons Honey
Blend all in blender or food processor until smooth. Makes about 1-1/4 Cups.
There wasn't much left to photograph.
Oh well, make more next time!