Thanks to my newly-discovered love of watching football on TV, I’m super duper excited about the Super Bowl. (I even got a vintage-inspired Patriots sweatshirt to wear on Sunday to show my team spirit.) One of my fondest Super Bowl memories is from about a decade ago in California. Dave and I took over a table in a dark, wood-paneled sports bar with my parents, and we all drank beer and chowed down on chicken wings.
There will be no beer nor chicken wings at our Super Bowl bash this year. But I wondered if I could recreate the sensation of tender chicken, spicy sauce, and cool go-alongs for a healthier version that still tastes like “junk food.” Yes, technically wings are paleo, but they’re not exactly a food that makes us healthier. The proportion of fat to protein is unfavorably tilted toward the fat end of the scale — and the traditional dipping sauce of either blue cheese or ranch dressing usually means unfavorable industrial oils and dairy.
I got busy with my food-gination (Yes, I just made up a new word!) and tinkered in the kitchen. The result: Buffalo Chicken Chopped Salad.
The wings are replaced with lean chicken breasts (“brined” in the slow cooker) so the fat in the recipe can be concentrated in two other flavor sources I consider essential: the clarified butter in the wing sauce and the homemade mayo in ranch dressing. Instead of a few sad stalks of celery on the side like an after-thought, the chicken rests on a crisp bed of chopped salad. Touchdown!
Serves 2-4 | Prep 20 minutes | Cook 35 minutes | Whole30 compliant
1/4 cup homemade mayo
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried chives
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken broth or water
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 jalapeño, cut into rings
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons ghee, melted
1/4 cup (or more!) hot sauce (I like Louisiana.)
1 head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
1 large seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1. Make the dressing. Place all ingredients — except salt and pepper — in a small bowl and mix energetically with a fork until blended. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.
2. Make the chicken. In a large saucepan, place chicken, water, garlic, jalapeño, bay leaf, salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low, 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chicken relax in its spa, covered, for 20-25 minutes. Remove the chicken from the water and shred with two forks, then toss with melted ghee and hot sauce.
3. Make the salad. In a large bowl, toss the salad ingredients with the dressing using two wooden spoons. Think of it as a mini cardio workout and toss for about two minutes so all the vegetables are coated with dressing. Top with shredded chicken and dig in!
Other Super Bowl-Worthy Paleo Recipes
In case you need more dino-chow approved ideas for your Super Bowl bash, I’ve pulled together a list of sporty food guaranteed to please even non-paleo eaters. Hut, hut… hike!
Mexican Meatza Pie
Deconstructed Gyro Salad
Stovetop Pork Carnitas
Moroccan Meatballs (Bake the meatballs, stick on a toothpick, and serve the sauce on the side.)
Scotch Eggs (Slice into coins, then top with either mayo or a tiny dollop of mustard (or both!).
Riceless, No-Soy Sushi (Set out tiny bowls of coconut aminos (available at Whole Foods) or homemade substitute and wasabi for maximum yum factor.)
Spiced Nuts. (Recipe includes a small amount of sugar. If you are eating 100% clean/Whole30, skip the sugar in the recipe.)
Caramelized Coconut Chips
Smoky Pear Bites
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