Chicken and Radicchio Salad with Pickled Raisins + Walnuts

By • September 30, 2010 • 4 Comments

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Author Notes: Chicken and radicchio salad with pickled raisins and walnuts is one of those rare combinations of ingredients that add up to so much more than the sum of their parts. This salad has seen several incarnations, each attempt really just an excuse to consume big bowls of “crunchy” for dinner each night. after night. after night. The first involved the often hard-to-find Deglet Noor dates, which I pitted, julienned and used in place of the raisins in the recipe below (if you have access to good fresh dates - I highly recommend this!). I tried it with feta and without (on the notion that everything may taste better with feta). I tossed some almonds out and some walnuts in. And each time I’ve composed this delicious dish, I increased the amount of fresh herbs - sprinklings turned into handfuls of torn mint, parsley and cilantro, until eventually they were a substantial part of the composition, rather than mere background colors.

If you find yourself pressed for time, and are in need of a fast, healthy brown bag lunch, this baby’s for you. - porktopurslane
Michelle McKenzie

Food52 Review: The pickled raisins in this salad are revelatory -- sour, plump and honeyed -- and even better tossed with the juicy chicken, toasty walnuts, radicchio and herbs (best after wilting and melding for 30 minutes or so). Depending on how juicy your lemon is, you may want squeeze over the whole thing. - KristenThe Editors

Serves 2-3


  • 2 chicken breasts, preferably on the bone and with skin
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 1/2 lemon, preferably Meyer
  • 2 medium shallots, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small heads radicchio or Treviso, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pickled raisins
  • handfuls parsley, cilantro and mint
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Rub each chicken breast with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper; roast for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and just cooked through. Remove chicken from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Pull apart meat into large bite-sized pieces and set aside. (Note - cooking time on chicken breasts will vary. If you are using breasts with bone and skin, for instance, they will cook faster; start checking at the 20 minute mark.)
  2. Meanwhile, spread walnuts on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Roughly chop walnuts, toss with walnut oil and a pinch of sea salt and set aside. (My husband refers to my method of tossing walnuts in walnut oil as "cheating". But never complains as he eats them straight out of the bowl on my chopping block. They are SO good!)
  3. Add the zest and juice of half a Meyer lemon to a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of freshly cracked pepper and the chopped shallot. Allow the shallot to mellow in the juice for 5 minutes. Then, while whisking constantly, add the remaining olive oil in a slow and steady stream.
  4. To the vinaigrette, add the chicken, walnuts, radicchio, raisins, herbs, a large pinch of salt (or 2) and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.


  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  1. Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over hight heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 10-12 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely. Refrigerate raisins in the pickling liquid for up to three days; strain before using.
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Tags: gluten-free, Healthy, picnic, Salads, travels well

Comments (4) Questions (0)


over 4 years ago Constrained Cook

This is such a beautiful dish. I love the idea of pickled raisins, too. Must try this myself :)


over 4 years ago Michelle McKenzie

tiptoesinthekitchen :: Thank you! I was just salivating over your root vegetables with citrus and thyme.

Sagegreen :: Those pickled raisins have so many wonderful applications: in a relish with green olives + herbs (perfect for grilled chicken or fish); tossed with roasted cauliflower, pine nuts and chile de arbol; with braised bitter greens; the list goes on. Enjoy!


over 4 years ago tiptoesinthekitchen

what an awesome combination of things!


over 4 years ago Sagegreen

Love your pickled raisins! This looks wonderful.