Friday, November 4, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Salad (aka: How to satisfy your chicken wing craving without guilt)

A few weeks ago I was sitting on the couch while my girls were taking a nap, wondering whether I could come up with a buffalo chicken recipe that would actually be healthy. See, I love me some really crispy, spicy chicken wings, but the main reason I crave them is the buffalo sauce. And buffalo sauce itself isn't unhealthy--it's just some vinegar and chili peppers. It only becomes unhealthy when you combine it with tons of butter, a deep fryer, ranch dressing, or mounds of cheese (as in my favorite recipe for buffalo chicken dip).

As I was sitting there pondering potential recipe ideas, I heard a voice say: "Buffalo chicken salad." God? I thought, looking upward. Then I realized that the voice belonged to Ellie Krieger, who was speaking to me from the TV. Well she wasn't actually speaking to ME, but it felt that way. It was as if she'd read my mind.

Ellie is known for putting healthy spins on traditionally unhealthy dishes, so I was excited to see what she whipped up. The trick to her salad was to make her own blue cheese dressing, which uses fat free yogurt as a base in place of tons of mayonnaise. She also used plain chicken breasts doused in buffalo sauce and broiled in the oven.

I made the recipe ASAP, and it turned out great! Here is a link to the recipe on the Food Network site.

A few things I did differently:

1) Instead of spending money on buttermilk for one recipe, I created my own using vinegar and milk. To do this, just place 1 tbsp of white vinegar in a 1-cup measuring cup. Fill the cup to the top with milk. Let stand for 5 minutes: Voila! You've got buttermilk!

2) To boost the flavor of the dressing, I added about half a packet of dry ranch dressing mix in place of the sugar.

3) Instead of using just romaine hearts, I used a mix of romaine hearts and a darker leafier green (to boost the nutrients)

Also, unless you're partial to a certain buffalo sauce, I definitely recommend using Frank's Red Hot. It has great flavor that can't be beat (in my humble opinion). This is a recipe I will be making again and again. It's great for a light weeknight dinner or for entertaining. Your guests will love you when you tell them that it's guilt free.


  1. I am trying this recipe tonight (hopefully)........sounds great! Mike loves hot buffalo chicken wings and I like boneless so should be a winner for us!!

  2. I made this recipe last week and it was delicious!!!!!

  3. Yay - I'm glad you loved it! It is definitely one of my favorites that's going in the "arsenal" to be made again.