Chef Luca's Allergy-Friendly Lunch Box Special:
Chicken Salad, Carrot Salad and Fresh Berries
Milk-Free • Soy-Free • Egg-Free • Wheat-Free
Peanut-Free • Tree Nut-Free • Shellfish-Free • Fish-Free
It is Back-to-School time! I know how difficult returning to school can be for children (and parents of children) with food allergies. School provided lunches may not meet allergy-friendly requirements, and let's face it, lunch box planning can be a daunting task. This week, I am providing a lunch box recipe your children to enjoy that is quick, easy and delicious! A bento style box is a great method to keep each of the meal components separated.
The Lunch Box Special with Chicken Salad, Carrot Salad and Fresh Berries
Chicken Salad Ingredients:
1 rotisserie chicken*
6 cooked asparagus spears
1 red bell pepper
2/3 cup vegan mayo (Veganaise offers a dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free version)
juice of two lemons
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
*A store-bought rotisserie chicken may not be safe for your set of allergies. You can make a roasted chicken the night before and use the leftovers for the chicken salad lunch.
Roasted Chicken Recipe:
Heat the oven to 450°F. Remove the packet of giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the outside of the chicken with about 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Sprinkle the inside and outside of the bird with salt and pepper, chopped lemon zest and herbs.
Put the chicken, breast side up, on a rack and set the rack in a roasting pan just larger than the rack. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze both halves over the chicken. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 375 and continue roasting for about 45 minutes more for a total of about 1 hour for a 3-lb. chicken. For larger birds, add another 10 minutes for each additional pound. The chicken is done when the leg wiggles freely in its joint and when the juices run clear from the thigh when you prick it and from the cavity when you tilt the bird. A thermometer inserted into the lower meaty part of the thigh should register 165°F. Set the chicken on a warm platter and tent with foil to keep it warm for about 10 minutes before you cut into it.
Chicken Salad Method:
Shred the meat from the rotisserie or roasted chicken, cut the asparagus in little bites and cut the bell pepper in little cubes. Combine with all of the chicken salad ingredients above. Don’t forget how easy food art can be! A couple extra pieces of asparagus and some olives can turn your chicken salad into fun piece of food art for your child!
Carrot Salad Ingredients:
2 large peeled carrots
juice of two lemons
¼ cup of olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Carrot Salad Method:
Grate the carrots on a grater. When grated, the carrots release natural sugars and it became a delicious side salad. Dress it with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. If your child can have raisins feel free to add raisins! Make sure to check the label as raisins are sometimes packed using oils your child may be allergic to.
Combine your favorite berries! For fun, add some marshmallows to make the fruit more appealing to even the pickiest eater! You can put the berries on a stick with the marshmallows and pack them kabob-style in your child’s lunch box.
Luca Della Casa is Executive Chef at the Nosh Restaurant & Silo Restaurant, San Antonio, Texas. Chef Luca has 16 years’ experience in the food service industry in Italy, Spain and the U.S. He was raised in Northern Italy, with an in-depth knowledge of Italian, French, and Spanish cuisines. He was a finalist on Food Network's The Next Food Network Star. He welcomes food allergic diners at his restaurant. You can find Chef Luca at facebook.com/cheflucadellacasa.