This past weekend, Ben and I enjoyed a kid-less weekend.  (Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!)  Don’t get me wrong, we adore our kids.  Really, there isn’t even a strong enough word in my vocabulary to begin to describe how nuts I am for them.  But, every once in a while, we need to hear ourselves think.  Or breathe.  Or have a conversation without having to shout or repeat ourselves five times before giving up altogether.  So yes, this was in order.  Friday night we went out for drinks and dinner.  I can’t remember the last time we did that without worrying about leaving the babysitter hanging for too long.

Saturday we slept in late.  Yes, 7:30 am feels luxuriously late to us.  We did a glorious amount of nothing all morning long.  And then for lunch I decided to make this salad, mainly because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since Tara posted it.  Though I normally don’t gravitate toward buffalo-anything, this just sounded so good to me.  And even more than that, I knew Ben would love it.   The cool, creamy avocado ranch dressing is the perfect pair for the spicy buffalo chicken.  We enjoyed ours atop a bed of Bibb lettuce and baby spinach leaves.  This was definitely a fabulous meal that we thoroughly enjoyed in our too-quiet house.  Even though we may have spent a huge chunk of the weekend talking about how much we love our little ones, it was a refreshing break.

  • Yield about 4 servings


For the chicken: 
2 cups panko
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 large egg whites
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. dried thyme
Cooking spray
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
½-¾ cup buffalo wing sauce

For the dressing:
½ avocado, roughly chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 small bunch chives, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
Up to ½ cup buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the salad: 
About 6-8 cups salad greens, such as Bibb lettuce and baby spinach leaves
¾ cup grape tomatoes, halved

Optional topping suggestions: 
Crumbled blue cheese or feta
Chopped scallions
Crumbled bacon
Shredded cheddar cheese
Thinly sliced red onion


  • 01

    Adjust an oven rack to the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 475˚ F.  Combine the panko and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat until golden, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow plate or pie dish.  In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, and salt.  In a third shallow dish whisk together the egg whites, water, mustard and thyme.  Whisk to blend.

  • 02

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top.  Spray the rack lightly with cooking spray.    Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels, then season lightly with salt and pepper.  Lightly dredge each chicken piece in the flour to coat completely, shaking off the excess.  Then dip into the egg white mixture and finally coat with the panko.  Press gently into the panko to make sure they adhere.  Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet.  Spray the tops of the chicken pieces lightly with cooking spray.

  • 03

    Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and reads 160˚ F internally on an instant-ready thermometer, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the oven.  Place the buffalo sauce in a bowl and use tongs to lightly coat the chicken pieces in the buffalo sauce.  Set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly and let the sauce soak in.

  • 04

    To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor starting with ¼ cup of the buttermilk and blend for 10 seconds.  Check the consistency and taste and blend in additional buttermilk as desired.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

  • 05

    Divide the salad greens among four serving plates.  Top with halved cherry tomatoes.  Add a few chicken tenders to each plate.  Drizzle lightly with the dressing.  Garnish with additional toppings, as desired.