Here’s an example of how a simple chicken salad can go from mundane to magnificent with a strategic switch of a few ingredients. Greek yogurt mixed with a little olive oil is a lighter and healthier replacement for mayonnaise. Fresh fennel subs for celery while supplying a hint of licorice-like flavor. And green peas and mint usher in springtime. The magic ingredient that takes this mixture over the top is za’atar, a fragrant blend of Middle Eastern spices that tastes floral, earthy, tangy, and nutty all at once. If it’s not already in your spice rack, it’s well worth seeking out – many supermarkets now carry it. This recipe is lightly adapted from one in “A Table Full of Love” by Skye McAlpine (Bloomsbury, $35).Serves 4 to 6. — Susan Puckett
- 1¾ cups plain whole milk Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons za’atar seasoning
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ½ cups shredded, cooked chicken
- 1 cup frozen, thawed green peas
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, and thinly sliced
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, za’atar, mint, and olive oil.
- Add the chicken, peas, and fennel and toss gently to combine.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.