It was summer 2011 and I was a freshly turned 23-year-old on the infamous Megabus headed to NYC to visit my aunt. This was before I made the big leap to move to the big city and follow my PR girl dreams, and I remember texting my best friend, Loni, about starting a food blog because of my unwavering passion for cooking.
Back in my Hampton University days (the real HU!), I always cooked for my friends, whether it was Taco Tuesday or randomly whipping up my mom’s famous macaroni and cheese. However, my affinity for fine, finger-licking foods was more than a casual affair. I wanted to go to culinary school, but my insecurity and bank account got in the way. Unfortunately, self-doubt flourished and that food blog never got off the ground.
Eventually I moved to NYC and landed a job working in film & television, but despite the “cool” job, I never shook my desire to share my life through cuisine. Fast forward to 2016 at Loni’s 28th birthday brunch, my love for everything spicy finally sparked the name (and motivation) for my newly launched food blog Just Add Hot Sauce, a digital space to not only share exciting recipes but also to discuss my roots and experiences through delicious fare.
So what happened to my dream deferred? Well, it came back around and tastes more satisfying than Ropa Vieja (which is hard to do!). That said, here’s a quick-and-easy curry chicken salad dish the healthy way, substituting mayo for Greek yogurt and ditching bread for a cool, crisp collard green leave wrap. If you’re trying to stay snatched or searching for light eats for those hot, muggy summer months ahead, here’s how to create this particular dish:
1 Rotisserie Chicken (cut into cubes)
1 small sweet apple (preferably Honey Crisp – cut into cubes)
1 small red onion (chopped into small pieces)
1/3 cup of craisins
1/3 cup of slivered almonds
1 cup of Greek yogurt
¼ cup of cilantro (chopped)
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt & pepper to taste
1 bunch of uncooked collard green leaves
I picked up a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods, which gives this salad even more flavor. Shred the chicken and toss them in a pan with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and add the curry powder and cinnamon.
To prepare your collard green wraps as your chicken is cooling, bring water to a boil. You can find collard green leaves at any grocery store or specialty food market. Cut the ends of the stalk so it looks more like a wrap.
Once the water is boiling, drop in the collard green leaves one at a time and let it cook for no more than 10 seconds. As soon as you take it out, drop it in a bowl of ice-cold water so the collard green leaf stops cooking. Let the leaves dry and cool.
After your chicken is cooled, add it to the rest of your chopped ingredients in a bowl—apples, almonds, craisins, cilantro and red onions. Mix it all together and then add in the Greek yogurt.
Be sure to add salt and pepper to your desired taste. Serve the chicken salad over the collard green wrap and either devour it as a taco or wrap it up like a burrito. Either way you have it, it will be gone in two minutes!