Dinner Rush! Buffalo Chicken Meatball Salads

Football season is here! It’s time for buds, brews and, of course, Buffalo sauce. Like peas & carrots, spicy Buffalo and the ol’ pigskin are meant to be together. It’s one of those rare instances of cosmic serendipity that reminds us that everything is going to be all right.

Lucky for all of us, Buffalo chicken couldn’t be a simpler miracle to pull off. Toss your edible of choice (in this case some chicken meatballs) in a combination of hot sauce, butter and vinegar to get things going. Gild the lily with some creamy blue cheese dressing (follow the homemade recipe below, or go with your favorite store-bought variety) and you won’t even notice the stealth-healthy shrine of salad greens that lurk beneath your Buffalo chicken.

Bonus: Putting these meatballs over salad greens is a great way to round them into a complete meal. Double up on the meatball portion of this recipe and prepare the dressing as a dipper for a simple and satisfying game-day snack.

Buffalo Chicken Meatball Salads
Total Time: 18 min
Prep: 8 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy
For the meatballs:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds ground chicken
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup hot sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
For the dressing:
1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
Salt and ground black pepper
6 cups mixed salad greens
2 carrots, grated
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat with the olive oil. In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken and the onion and garlic powders, and season with salt and pepper. Portion the mixture into meatballs about the size of a golf ball and saute in the pan, tossing occasionally, until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the hot sauce, butter and vinegar. Stir to melt the butter and reserve warm.

While the meatballs are cooking, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing. Reserve.

To serve, toss the salad greens, carrots, cucumber and celery with the dressing. Divide among serving bowls, and top each salad with meatballs and a drizzle of Buffalo sauce.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he now works on digital production for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Instagram or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.

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