The evenings are coming sooner now. I caught a whiff of the forest floor on the breeze tonight: a pleasing mixture of damp leaves, sodden moss, and the moist pungency of lichen-covered fallen trees. As the remnants of Hurricane Issac swirl overhead and march northeast toward Illinois, and as the sun-scorched ground drinks deeply of the storm's rains, I feel summer cinching its cords like a drawstring bag.
This salad seems an appropriate way to begin my long farewell to the season. Happy, crunchy vegetables don the sunny disposition of summer. The dressing is light --Greek yogurt forms its base--and provides just enough of a coating to tie the whole salad together nicely.
You can "matchstick" the carrots if you like. I did, but I nearly cut off my index finger in the process. I'm sure shredded carrots would be a very sensible substitution.
However you cut the carrots, the salad's satisfying crunch is wonderfully pleasing.
Healthy, Crunch Chicken Salad with Radishes, Cucumber, and Carrots
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
1 1/4 cups chopped seeded cucumber
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
4 radishes, sliced thinly into rounds
4 green onions, chopped (green part only)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (about half a handful)
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh spinach or green leaf lettuce
4 whole wheat pitas
Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl. Set aside. Then combine the yogurt, cilantro, garlic and spices in a smaller bowl and whisk to combine. Add the dressing mixture to the salad mixture and stir well.
Cut each round of pita bread in half. Gently separate the bread, creating a pocket out of each half. Line the halves of the pita bread with fresh spinach or with green leaf lettuce. Then spoon the chicken salad into each pita half. Serve immediately.