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Vegetarian Chicken Alpine

August 24, 2010

Photo by Gerik

A great chicken salad spread is so delectable but so fattening.  News reports scramble to suggest the newest ‘eating healthy’ craze while helpfully pointing out which of our remaining comfort foods we need to give up. I agree that eating healthy is important to have a good healthy body but when it comes to the occasional tidbit of decadence, I want it full of fat and dripping in flavor!  Nothing else will do.

I’m here to tell you, contrary to popular opinion, eating healthy isn’t always about the bland tasting tofu!

As a vegetarian caterer working in a mostly non-vegetarian community, it’s imperative to have a collection of great recipes that will satisfy everyone, even those who eat meat.  This vegetarian chicken salad recipe is front and center in my hard-earned catering collection and one I’ve come to rely heavily on in my business.  The thing that makes it so versatile is in its applications.  I’ve used it as filling for small tart shells or mini croissants.  I’ve stuffed it into large pasta shells or crepes and topped it with a really good sour cream gravy before baking.  Even a bowl of this chicken salad surrounded with crackers will make it to my buffet table on occasion.

Since first serving it, I’ve heard different variations on this same comment:  “I had no idea it was vegetarian, I thought it was real chicken”.  When those comments come, I just smile to myself and continue on with my work knowing that once again, I’ve proven that being a vegetarian doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor and getting it right is easier than you think.

Chicken Alpine
Original Recipe
Makes 5 cups

(Fills 20 large shells or fills 40 mini croissants)

1 1/2 cups coarse chop Quorn Chicken Breasts (vegan)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
2 cups seasoned croutons whole or crushed
1 cup shredded Swiss Cheese
1 1/2 cups. mayo or Vegenaise
1/2 cup sour cream or Toffutti Sour Supreme
5 oz. package sliced Almonds

Mix all ingredients together.   It’s a good vegetarian chicken salad that is wonderful for sandwiches, mini croissants, large pasta shells or crepes.  Pictured is of the chicken salad stuffed in cooked large pasta shells.  Cover the shells with a nice hot sour cream milk gravy and bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until they are at least 135 degrees (internal temp).    Garnish with additional slivered almond and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese before serving.

Variation 1:  Substitute diced green onion for the dry onion, diced green and red peppers for the celery and co-jack cheese for the Swiss cheese for Spring time flavors

Variation 2:  Add halved grapes and your favorite curry powder

Variation 3:  Add a chipotle pepper and adobe sauce, to taste, to the mayonnaise before combining into the recipe.

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