Rotisserie chicken is paired with butter beans, dried dates and arugula in this simple salad dressed in a smoky vinaigrette. (Gretchen McKay / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Rotisserie chicken is paired with butter beans, dried dates and arugula in this simple salad dressed in a smoky vinaigrette. (Gretchen McKay / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Winter chicken salad packed with good-for-you greens

Served with crusty Italian bread and a glass of pale ale, it makes a quick and easy supper.

By Gretchen McKay / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A diet rich in leafy greens is always a good idea, and a great way to get those beloved veggies onto the dinner table in measurable amounts in winter is with salad.

This simple entree salad goes to bat with arugula, a cruciferous leafy green with a peppery taste that’s super-rich in antioxidants. Shredded rotisserie chicken and canned beans add protein, and a tangy vinaigrette crafted with warm winter spices, honey and lemon juice adds to its bright flavor. Toasted almonds provide a bit of crunch.

It might seem weird to microwave the dressing spices, but it helps bloom their flavor and aroma in a fraction of the time it would take on the stovetop.

The original recipe calls for chickpeas, but I prefer the mild flavor and buttery consistency of butter beans. I couldn’t find fresh figs, so I substituted dried fruit, which is a little sweeter and chewier.

Served with crusty Italian bread and a glass of pale ale, it makes a quick and easy supper.

Winter chicken salad

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika

Dash of cinnamon

Juice 1 lemon

1 teaspoon honey

Kosher and freshly ground black pepper

5 ounces arugula or spinach, or combination

4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

15-ounce can white butter beans, drained and rinsed

Handful fresh cilantro leaves

1 shallot, thinly sliced

8 dried figs, quartered

⅓ cup honey roasted, slivered almonds

Microwave 1 tablespoon oil, coriander, paprika and a pinch or two of cinnamon in a medium bowl until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in lemon juice and honey, and season generously with salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil until emulsified.

Place salad greens, chicken, butter beans, cilantro, shallot and figs in a large salad bowl and toss to combine. Add about half of the dressing and toss; add more dressing to taste — you want your salad to have a light coating rather than being drenched.

Sprinkle almonds on top and serve.

Serves 4 as an entree.

— Adapted from “The Complete Salad Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen

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