Cajun Chicken Plantain Salad – my everyday Paleo Chicken Salad is a full flavoured meal made super easy! This Paleo diet chicken salad comes without mayo but a sweet paprika dressing and incorporates my favourite food: plantains!Jump to Recipe Jump to Video
*This recipe has recently been updated with a different method (baked chicken not grilled chicken and baked plantains not fried plantains), better pictures and a video to help you make the easiest chicken salad recipe ever!
This perfect recipe for a healthy chicken salad takes healthy chicken salads to a-whole-nother level. I literally eat this every day and I do not get bored. That’s saying a lot because honestly, salads can be so dull and lifeless.
Most of the time, chicken salads are associated with weight loss and trying to lose 10 pounds in a day (lol) which in turn, leaves the salad to be something completely unexciting.
I mean, who actually looks forward to salads these days??
Well, you might want to kick-start your anticipation with this one because salads may just be worth your while!
Best way to prepare chicken
It goes without saying, you can prepare the chicken however you want. This recipe was recently updated and I decided to bake the chicken instead of grilling.
It makes the recipe easier because you bake the chicken and the plantains at the same time, with little to no effort on your part.
You also do not need to worry about how to cook the chicken to ensure you don’t get food poisoning because if you set the oven temperature to 350F/177C for 30-35 minutes, you will have perfectly cooked, juicy chicken breasts.
This eliminates having to check whether your chicken is done or not but the use of a food thermometer will help! Just check the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165F/74C.
Tip: The secret to my juicy chicken breasts is something I’ve worked on for quite a while. Tips for making juicy chicken breasts and stop your chicken breasts from drying out are:
- Marinating your chicken breasts for at least half an hour in your seasonings
- Baking the chicken on the top shelf for 30-35minutes at 350F/177C and flipping them over halfway through
- Last tip is to rest the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes, covered in aluminium foil after cooking
I honestly don’t know why but I always get really juicy chicken breasts following the above tips!
However, if you prefer grilled chicken (as you’re probably wanting to eat this right now), I have also used my griddle pan and it works superbly! Make sure to still rest your chicken once grilled!
How to make Cajun Seasoning
The Cajun seasoning recipe I used actually comes from the lovely Charlene over at ThatGirlCooksHealthy.com: you should totally check out her site! The main ingredients you need for a Cajun seasoning is
- Cayenne Pepper
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
The rest of the ingredients she uses will give you a much fuller flavour but these are staple seasonings that you should have to hand.
In the recipe video below, I have used minced garlic instead of garlic powder and omitted the oregano (just because I didn’t have any to hand). The flavour is still perfect and very reminiscent of full flavoured Cajun seasoning mix.
You can either do it this way or just use about 3 tbsp of Cajun seasoning for this recipe.
How to make Plantains
Plantains have many ways or preparation and for this recipe, you’re not limited to how I have done this. Some options are:
- You can bake your plantains along with the chicken – this method will roast your plantains and the colour of the plantains will not change that much from a yellow or golden colour
- Fry your plantains in coconut oil – this method will caramelise your plantains and turn them a more golden brown or dark brown colour depending on how long you leave them to fry for. This way tends to be sweeter.
- Boil or steam plantains – this method will soften your plantains and is actually good to make a mashed plantain recipe. They will get very soft so that they easily break apart if boiled over 10 minutes. Otherwise they should hold their form. Make sure not to leave them out of the water too long before serving because they can dry out!
Also, ensure you pick your plantains yellow or yellow with dark spots: green ones are a NO for this one.
Can somebody say BALANCE? Because this Cajun Chicken Plantain Salad recipe is a complete balance of proteins, carbs & fats and you don’t miss out on the joy of eating at all!
It’s perfect if you’re looking for a paleo chicken salad recipe without mayo. It can also be made whole30 by simply omitting the dressing, it is still a juicy salad either way.
You can definitely alter this salad to fit your requirements in terms of your workout/weight loss goals but remember: Plantains are GOOD carbs, you may just want to keep ’em in your diet.
Let me know if you enjoyed this one by leaving a comment! Have you ever had to struggle through bland meals in the name of weight loss? Tell me your experience!
- 2-3 chicken breasts
- 1 yellow plantain
- Mixed leaves*
- Cherry tomatoes*
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried chillies
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Preheat your oven to 350F/177C.
Place your chicken in a large Ziploc bag and add in your seasonings. Shake the chicken around in the bag to incorporate the seasonings and marinate for 30mins to an hour in the fridge. (You can skip this step if in a rush or grilling the chicken)
- Next, cut off the ends of your plantain and remove the skin. Then, dice your plantains into small circular discs about 1/4 inch thick.
- In a small bowl, add your plantains, coconut oil, salt and pepper. Mix together.
- On a baking tray or sheet pan lined with aluminium foil, place your chicken breasts and plantains on the sheet.
- Bake for 30-35mins in the oven. You can check the internal temperature with a food thermometer and it must be at least 165F/74C.
- For the sweet paprika sauce: mix your ingredients together.
- Finally, prepare your salad (wash and dry your veg), then assemble your salad and drizzle on your dressing.
- Serve and enjoy!
- I have not been specific with the vegetables for the salad so you can make this completely to your preference!
- You can always substitute chicken thighs instead of breasts for this recipe but you can still use the same directions and tips. Thighs are still a lot more juicy than breasts due to having more fat.
- You can always use Charlene’s recipe to make the Cajun seasoning and if you do, use 3-4 tbsp per 3 chicken breasts or thighs.
- Make sure to use yellow plantains or yellow with dark spots. Green plantains are more starchy and less sweet which wouldn’t work for this salad.
- Ensure your coconut oil is warm when you make your dressing. This will avoid any clumping and allow the dressing to be more fluid, which makes for easy pouring.
- To make this a whole30 chicken salad, omit the dressing.
FAQ’s for Everyday Paleo Chicken Salad Recipe
Is this chicken salad low carb?
Plantains are quite high in starchy carbs so therefore aren’t low carb but without them, the chicken salad is completely low carb and keto friendly.
Can this chicken salad be frozen?
Yes! Well, sort of. You will need to separate the chicken and plantain from the salad ingredients and freeze separately. It will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
How do you reheat the chicken salad from frozen?
To reheat, you can use either a microwave or oven. If microwave, use your defrost setting to first thaw the chicken and then reheat as normal.
If you don’t have the defrost setting I suggest using an oven. In the oven, bake the chicken for 30mins at 175C/350F until it reaches an internal temp of 165F/74C.
Another way is to defrost the chicken overnight in the fridge, then reheat in the microwave.
Can this chicken salad be made ahead?
Yes, it is a great make ahead recipe as it keeps very well. I would personally not make the sauce ahead as it is quite easy and quick to put together. This chicken salad is perfect for meal prep!
Check out some more awesome Plantain Recipes: