Creamy Roasted Chicken Salad

I adore this creamy/crunchy chicken salad. It's rich in flavor and texture from the golden brown chicken, crunchy apples and celery, and sweet green onions; the velvety mayo-yogurt dressing is spiked with parmesan cheese and Dijon mustard. So now... Put everything together and each bite delivers sweet, savory, tangy, crunchy, and chewy. Simply awesome. 

Why roast the chicken? Because the browning of the bird adds great flavor! Something you simply can't get from poached chicken. If you want to cheat or need a shortcut, opt for shredded or diced rotisserie chicken. 

Warm chicken is best! To ensure that the tender pieces of chicken absorb all the flavors of the dressing, toss the chicken with everything while it's still warm. This isn't critical (especially if you're using leftover chilled chicken from a previous meal), but it really makes a big difference. 

Sandwich or salad? I chose to serve the chicken salad on artisan-style sourdough bread, but you can also serve it over lettuce or in halved cantaloupe or honeydew melon. 

Creamy Roasted Chicken Salad

Cooking spray
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped (and peeled if desired)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Place the chicken on the prepared pan and season with the salt and pepper. 
Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
Remove the chicken from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces. 
Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. 
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, parmesan, vinegar, and mustard. Add the mixture to the warm chicken and stir to coat. Fold in the celery, green onions, apple, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Serves 4