Buffalo Chicken Salad used to be one of my favorite salads many years ago when I used to work as a research analyst. The company had an impressive cafeteria with lots of varieties which included ‘healthy’ stations like a salad bar and a freshly prepared food station which used to be different every day of the week. Mid week used to ‘Buffalo Chicken Salad’ at that station and I used to wait for that! All other days I would bring food from home but on Wednesdays, I had to indulge in the Buffalo Chicken salad which included crispy fried chicken bites doused in a hot sauce, added to a bed of lettuce, freshly grated carrots, chopped celery and then finally drizzled with a blue cheese sauce! So yum!
After I moved to working from home, I used to miss my Wednesday Buffalo chicken salad special! Funny though I never tried to recreate it until now. I guess I just assumed it would be next to impossible to create an AIP version of this! But I am so glad that recently I was reminded of this salad and this time, I decided to create a Paleo and AIP version! I am sure you will thank me for it!
What are the ingredients in a Buffalo Chicken Salad?
I think there are two main components that make this dish and they are the 1. Hot buffalo sauce and the 2. Cheese sauce.
For the Buffalo sauce, I first tried an AIP version avoiding any nightshade pepper and that came out amazing. In subsequent tries, I added a pinch of cayenne pepper (Kashmiri Chllli powder is what I use) since I can tolerate chilli peppers in small amounts. However, let me assure you that the AIP version is as good! Check my video for the color of the buffalo sauce even without the chilli powder added. It looks like a real buffalo sauce! Seriously!
For the ‘cheese’ sauce, obviously there is no cheese in this recipe. However, it is still creamy with a ‘cheesy’ flavor thanks to coconut cream and nutritional yeast!
So the following ingredients are what you need for this salad:
- Hot Buffalo Sauce: Carrots, Water, Garlic Powder, Ground Ginger, Sea Salt, Apple Cider Vinegar and Red Chilli Powder or Cayenne pepper (Optional)
- Cheese Sauce: Coconut Cream, Coconut Oil, Water, Sea salt, Apple Cider Vinegar, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, garlic powder
- For the Chicken: Boneless Chicken thighs or breasts, tapioca starch, sea salt, garlic powder, Red Chilli Powder or Cayenne pepper (Optional)
- For the salad: Carrots, Celery and Romaine Lettuce
Alright, so let’s get to the recipe!
Check out my detailed video tutorial for this recipe below to see how I make it! And if you have not already subscribed to my YouTube channel, please do so now!
- ½ lb of Chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tbsp of tapioca starch
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder or cayenne powder (OMIT for AIP and for nightshade free)
- Avocado Oil for deep frying
- ¼ cup diced carrots (about ¼ th of a large carrot)
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder or cayenne powder (OMIT for AIP and for nightshade free)
- 2 tbsps Apple cider vinegar
- 2-4 tbsps more water
- 2 tbsps coconut cream (you can use the top thick layer separated from a coconut milk can)
- 1 tbsp slightly warm water
- 1 tsp coconut oil or palm shortening
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp nutritional yeast
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- In a mixing bowl, add the chicken pieces. Dab dry using paper towels. Then add the tapioca starch, the garlic powder, salt and the chilli powder (if adding). Using a spoon or your hands mix well to coat the chicken. Keep aside for 5-10 mins.
- Meanwhile heat a deep pan with avocado oil for deep frying. When hot, add the coated chicken pieces and deep fry on medium heat in batches until crisp from outside (about 2-3 mins). Transfer to a plate lined wit paper towels to catch the excess oil. Keep aside.
- In a small sauce pan, add all the ingredients for the sauce except the apple cider vinegar and the extra water and heat until the water comes to a boil. Then turn heat to low and cover and cook for 5 minutes or so until the carrots turn soft. Turn heat off and let cool off for 5 minutes. Then transfer the mixture to a small food processor and blend until smooth and until there are no chunks of carrots remaining. Now add the apple cider vinegar and the extra water 1 tbsp at a time and blend again until you get your desired sauce consistency.
- Add all sauce ingredients to a small food processor and blend until creamy. Do not over blend as the emulsion can break upon over blending. Keep aside.
- Divide the lettuce, carrots and celery into two serving plates. Add the fried chicken into the two plates. Pour the buffalo sauce over the chicken pieces and toss well. Drizzle the 'cheese' sauce over the salad.
For more salad recipes, check out the following: