Avocado Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

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avocado-chicken-salad-lettuce-wrapsI had this post all planned out in my head.

There would be an Avocado Chicken Salad inspiration story, deep thoughts on eating lots of green things after your Cinco de Mayo tacos and tequila, and a laundry list of potential #sassydesklunch recipe variations. It wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it was straight-forward, topical, and informative, as all good food blog posts should be(?).

But I can’t write it.

I just can’t muster the strength or enthusiasm to talk about my reasons for making this delightful avocado-based chicken salad right now because I went to see Bieber last night, and dear GOD, the kid broke my Purpose-loving heart. I’m 100% hot mess right now, and since I can’t think about anything other than my hangover disappointment/outrage, I feel compelled to share some feeeeeelings unrelated to chicken salad. To paraphrase one of the songs the Biebs half-heartedly lip-synced his way through…


avocado-chicken-salad-lettuce-wraps-2Those of you who hang out here on the reg may have noticed that I have a soft spot for the Biebs (let’s be real, most of us do after this), and I was very much looking forward to seeing him live. Yes, I knew the scene would be mostly crop top-wearing, crying 14 year-olds, but whateva. I too enjoy crop tops, and I cry a lot these days, so I figured I’d fit right in.

avocado-chicken-salad-lettuce-wraps-3I arrived at the Barclays Center last night, roommate in tow, buzzing with Bieber-induced excitement (and a responsible amount of tequila). Making my way through the sea of moms and tweens to get to our seats, I giddily anticipated what was sure to be a thrilling performance. What would Justin open with? What would he say to the crowd? Did he still have baby dreads? What type of ensembles would he wear? What would his live vocals be like like? Would I be moved to tears? Would Logan be inspired to drop Widespread Panic and follow the Biebs instead??!

The answers to all of these questions were soon revealed, and they were as follows:

  1. A weird version of “Mark my Words” where he is suspended in a glass box and writes illegible stuff in crayon on the walls.
  2. Not much. At one point, he did say “Sing!” to the crowd during his performance of “Love Yourself,” which he then followed up with a mumbled, “Good job.”
  3. He has a freshly shaved head, which he accessorized with a front-knotted Tupac bandana.
  4. Homeless chic?
  5. Hard to judge as there was very little actual singing. And the kid’s lip syncing skills were shockingly poor. (Even post-breakdown Britney had the courtesy to move her lips…)
  6. Yes, but not happy tears.
  7. This is unlikely given Logan’s rather spot on review of the concert: “The Biebs really shit the bed tonight.”

avocado-chicken-salad-lettuce-wraps-4In short, the show was so bad that it was almost comical, and (for my own amusement) I like to think there’s some angry tour designer that orchestrated all of it. I’m picturing a muscled German man pitching the following show concept to Bieber’s people: “First, Justin vill come on ze stage and skip around in a cage with flicker lights. Singing is not encouraged. Zen he jumps on ze big trampoline in midair for a bit. No smiling or singing! He must mess up many intros and forget ze set list to confuse ze audience. Later he vill vear six t-shirts. On top of each other! He vill play vith them awkwardly and zen lie down on ze floor for a bit because he is tired!!! Finale vill be Justin looking sad in waterfall. ZE END.”

(Wait. Maybe Kanye is behind this?)

The only thing that’s pulling me out of my sad, sad Bieber hole right now is the fact that I’m having leftover Avocado Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps for lunch…

avocado-chicken-salad-lettuce-wraps-5I can honestly say that these little flavor bombs are more exciting than a Justin Bieber concert, peeps. And since they’re paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, and Dude Diet-friendly, I imagine they’re significantly more crowd-pleasing as well. Each bite is packed with fresh flavor and texture, and the chicken salad’s creamy, herb-laced avocado dressing is to die for. (Seriously. You may want to double the dressing to jazz up everything from salads to tacos and burgers.) Plus, the recipe is a total breeze. Just cook a few chicken breasts (I used this idiot-proof method), throw a handful of ingredients in a food processor for the dressing, slice some veggies, and you’re good to go. The whole shebang shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes, tops.

The chicken salad will keep in the fridge for up to three days, so I highly recommend making a batch early in the week and taking it to work with a separate baggie/container of lettuce leaves and toppings for sassy desk lunching. If you get tired of the lettuce wrap concept, try serving the chicken salad on brown rice cakes or toast, or add it to your favorite grain bowl. It’s also unreal in a quesadilla or grilled cheese when you’re looking to go really HAM.

avocado-chicken-salad-lettuce-wraps-8p.s. To those of you attending upcoming Bieber shows, I’m sorry if I burst your excitement bubble. I hope you, too, find solace in these lettuce wraps.

p.p.s. I captured some of last night’s events on Snap (username: serenagwolf), including a shared cab ride from Brooklyn with a random Australian woman who claims Justin wrote this entire album about her…

Avocado Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps: (Serves 4)

1½ pounds diced chicken breast (roughly 3 boneless, skinless breasts)
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
12 large lettuce leaves (I like Boston, Bibb, or Butter lettuce for this)
For the dressing:
1 ripe avocado (ideally a medium-sized avocado)
1 large garlic clove
½ packed cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup chopped chives
Juice of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lime
¼ teaspoon honey or agave
Kosher salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
For serving: (optional)
1 cup fresh sprouts (I prefer spicy sprouts, but any kind of sprouts will do.)
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
2-3 baby radishes, thinly sliced
Lime wedges

Preparing your Avocado Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps:

-Start by making the dressing. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.

avocado-chicken-salad-step-1-Process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times if necessary.

avocado-chicken-salad-step-2-Transfer the dressing to a mixing bowl. Add the diced chicken breast and shallot, and toss to combine. Taste and season with a little extra salt and cayenne pepper if necessary.

avocado-chicken-salad-step-3-Time to assemble your lettuce wraps! Pile chicken salad onto lettuce leaves. Top with sprouts and garnish with jalapeño and radish slices. Serve with lime wedges and go to town.


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  1. Patti on May 5, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Must make these tomorrow! Pardon my ignorance but how would one determine a medium ripe avocado?

    • Serena Wolf on May 5, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Sorry, that was a very unclear direction on my part–I meant a ripe, medium-sized avocado. Hope you love them!

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