chicken salad with tahini dressing

I love a big, EPIC salad. You know: the ones where you throw a ton of stuff in a big bowl, shake it up with some dressing and then look down and think how in the world am I going to eat all this? I think this might be hereditary - my dad is really into salads too. He orders them out all the time and always has stuff on hand at home to make them. He gets really creative with them. The only mainstay is that there HAS to be cucumbers! Yea, it's definitely hereditary. 

The one thing I cannot stand, though, is gross salad dressing. There are very few times I will buy store-bought dressing. And, when I am ordering a salad out, I am always sure to check that their dressing is housemade.  At home, salad dressing isn't usually complicated. I pick an oil and an acid. But sometimes, I want something a little bit more. 

I love this tahini dressing because it creates something "creamy" without actually adding any dairy into the mix. And you can play with the amounts you put in to change it up. You can add more lemon juice to make it more lemony or add in some honey to up the sweetness. Every so often, if I have leftover basil, I will sub that for the parsley. Feel free to play around with it!

If you have never used tahini before it is actually just sesame seed paste. This is what gives hummus that distinct flavor. You can usually find it in the same section as the peanut butter.  For this recipe, you definitely want to use fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, not dried. 

For the salad

grilled chicken breast

fresh baby spinach

cucumbers

hearts of palm

grape tomatoes

pepperocini

For the dressing

1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 garlic cloves

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 c. tahini

1/4 c. water

2 Tbsp. pine nuts

For the dressing, combine ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. For the salad, I like to combine the chicken, veggies, and dressing in a bowl with a lid and shake to distribute the dressing. I also like when the chicken is a little warm to soften the dressing a bit. 

Enjoy!