Cooked chicken tossed with fresh vegetables and dressing topped with pungent feta cheese and served over mixed salad greens is an excellent way to enjoy a healthy high protein meal full of flavor and nutrients. Use left-over roast chicken from a previous meal or take advantage of deli rotisserie chicken being careful to remove all skin and bones.
Look for fresh feta cheese in the chilled deli section of most supermarkets. Originating from Greece feta was made by peasants on the lower Balkan peninsula from sheep or goats milk. Feta is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months. It is a crumbly cheese and has a slightly grainy texture. Once removed from the brine it dries out rapidly. For many feta is an acquired taste and the aroma of it has been likened to the smell of bad feet.
It has only been since about 2002 that feta cheese became commonly available in the United States. It is used as a table cheese, as well as in salads, pastries and baking. The classic Greek dish, spanakopita, is a phyllo-crusted spinach pie that features feta cheese combined with olive oil and vegetables and baked. The rich flavor and saltiness of feta helps make a little bit of cheese go a long way.
Nutritionally, feta is a good source of protein, riboflavin, vitamin B12, calcium and phosphorus. A wedge-size serving (1.3 ounces) provides 100 calories, 5 grams protein, 8 grams fat and 424mg of sodium. Feta is high in cholesterol and sodium and very high in saturated fat. It may be included as part of a healthy diet when used in moderation.
Feta Chicken Salad
Traditional chicken salad pumped-up with the flavor of feta cheese. This is satisfyingly delicious made with freshly cooked chicken, store-bought rotisserie chicken or canned chicken. Enjoy on a bed of lettuce.
3 cups diced cooked chicken
2 large stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
6 tablespoons sour cream
1 (4 ounce) package feta cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
6 cups mixed salad greens
In a serving bowl, mix together the chicken, celery, and red onion. In a separate bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, feta cheese, and dill. Pour over the chicken mixture, and stir to blend. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving. Serve over crispy chilled mixed salad greens.