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Minimal effort, maximum taste: the best packed lunch recipes

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Chicken Tikka Salad

Chicken Tikka Salad

Lentils, spinach, raw veggies… a healthy salad with a chicken tikka twist!

With all the flavours of your favourite curry, this chicken tikka salad really packs a punch!


If you’re not someone who normally dives face-first into a bowl of salad, then this chicken tikka version is one recipe that is bound to convert you. It’s full of healthy ingredients but, after one bite, the taste makes you forget everything else… If you enjoy the heat, make sure to check out some of the other spicy dishes we love.

Fizzing with warm, Indian spices and chilli-infused pulses, yet freshened by crisp, raw veggies, the tangy dressing is the pièce de résistance that creates harmony between it all. Moreover, as lentils are high in protein & fibre, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

The recipe is taken from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals cookbook and, although I would say it takes a little longer than he claims, there’s nothing complex going on here. After you’ve done it once, I reckon you could bash it out in just half an hour — quick meal prep for the whole week! Not sure? Try it and prove me wrong!


Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 10 mins | Servings: 6
Essential kit: blender/food processor

Ingredients
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Full Instructions

Cook the chicken tikka & mushroom:

2 chicken breasts; 2 heaped tsp tikka pastesalt & pepper; 12 mushrooms (quartered)

  1. Prepare the chicken: if there’s a small flap on the underside of the meat, cut this off then slice both breasts in half length-ways, horizontally (see picture #2 in gallery above)
  2. Season each side of each piece with salt & pepper and cover evenly with tikka paste
  3. Put a griddle pan onto a high heat (no oil needed) and, when hot, lay the chicken on it with the mushrooms dotted around and in between; cook for around 10 minutes, turning halfway
  4. When cooked through, remove everything from the pan and leave to cool
  5. Slice the chicken into strips and transfer to an air-tight container with the mushrooms — leave in the fridge until needed

Make the lentil mix:

½ tbsp oil; 1 heaped tsp mustard seeds; ½ tsp cumin seeds; 5 spring onions (green parts trimmed off then finely sliced); ½ a chilli (finely sliced); 1 large tomato (cut into chunks); 1 tin pre-cooked green lentils/Puy lentils; red wine vinegar; salt & pepper

  1. Put a frying pan onto a medium heat with the oil and, once hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, followed by the spring onion, chilli, and tomato
    *tip* the mustard seeds will pop & jump around so just watch out or wear an apron!
  2. Drain the lentils and tip them into the pan, along with a splash of red wine vinegar and a good grind of salt & pepper
  3. Simmer everything for a few minutes, squashing the tomato with the back of a wooden spoon, and turn off the heat once the liquid has reduced
  4. Once cooled, transfer to an air-tight container and leave in the fridge

Make the dressing:

large bunch coriander (stalks removed); 1 lemon (juice of); 4 tbsp yoghurt; 1 heaped tbsp mango chutney; 1 heaped tbsp cashew nuts; 1 tsp turmeric

  1. Put the all of the ingredients into the blender and blitz until smooth (loosening with a little water if needed)
  2. This is your dressing — transfer to an air-tight container and leave in the fridge

Prep the salad:

1 carrot; ½ cucumber; 30g feta (chopped into small cubes)

  1. Use a speed peeler (see pictures in gallery if you’re not sure what I mean) to thinly slice the carrot and cucumber (but not the seeds) into an air-tight container for the fridge
  2. Put the feta in an air-tight containers and leave in the fridge

Cook naan bread:

3 mini naan breads

  1. Preheat your grill to high and sprinkle the naan bread with a little water
  2. Pop it on the grill rack under the heat for 1 min then turn it over (sprinkling a little more water on the second side) and grill for 1 more minute
  3. Slice into thin strips and set aside in an air-tight container (no need to refrigerate)
    *tip* I like to cook some naan bread in the morning as they stay nice & crunchy that way, but if you’re tight on time prep these the day before

In the morning:

spinach; chicken & mushrooms; lentil mix; salad; strips of naan bread; dressing

  1. Scatter a good handful of spinach into a tub or lunch box with portions of all the other pre-prepared ingredients on top
  2. Bring a little pot of dressing with you and drizzle this over the salad when you’re ready to eat

*hot option* leave the chicken & mushrooms separate when you take your lunch box to work, then put these in the microwave for about 2 minutes; once hot, combine with the rest of the salad and finish off with the dressing as usual


Final thoughts from The Hungry Hungry Husband?

“It’s like a salad, just much tastier!”

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