As much as we love to see what our favorite foodies make when they want to “wow” their guests, you know what’s even more interesting? Learning what dishes they whip up when they’re at home on an average weeknight. Next up in My Go-To MealChef Mike Solomonov shares a delicious recipe for a Chicken Schnitzel Salad—perfect for any weeknight meal.

There are a handful of food experiences that truly stand out as highlights in my memories. Indulging in the hummus at Zahav is very near the top of that list. It’s all thanks to the genius of Chef Mike Solomonov’s menu at his Philadelphia-based restaurant. The James Beard-winning chef has become a champion of Israel’s extraordinarily diverse and vibrant culinary landscape, sharing dishes like Kubaneh Toast at K’Far and Israeli pita sandwiches at Merkaz, both in Philly. And I’m planning my next trip to New York just so I can try the shawarma-spiced cauliflower served shipudiya-style at his latest restaurant, Laser Wolf.

While I’ve long admired Chef Mike’s culinary prowess in the restaurant world, what I love more than anything is getting a behind-the-scenes peek at what culinary experts actually make when they’re dining in. So I was stoked to chat with Chef Mike about his flavor-packed, Chicken Schnitzel Salad that he calls his go-to meal.

How did you develop this Chicken Schnitzel Salad recipe?

This recipe is based on the Chicken Schnitzel Salad we serve at our lunch spot Merkaz in Philadelphia. The menu at Merkaz represents our favorite Israeli street food. True to how it’s served there, the chicken is normally fried for this dish, but I wanted to have a healthier version for home. Tehina is the single most important ingredient across all of our restaurants, and in this recipe, it’s the fat that’s used to give body to the dressing instead of oil. 

Why is this recipe your go-to?

I like making this recipe at home because it uses simple ingredients that I always have on hand, and I don’t need any elaborate tools from the restaurant kitchen. I love salads as entrees because they don’t take long to make—this one comes together easily with so much flavor. It’s also super filling. Between the chickpeas and the baked chicken schnitzel, each serving is very high in protein. 

Even though it’s not a one-pot meal, it only requires the standard kitchen tools: a good mixing bowl and knife, a baking sheet, and a blender. 

Is there a kitchen tool you recommend for making this?

The NutriBullet is perfect for this recipe because it blends the tehina green goddess dressing so quickly. Compared to a standard-size blender, the jar of the NutriBullet is way easier to clean, and the entire machine doesn’t take up too much space. 

What standout ingredients make this recipe special?

Since we’re not pan-frying the schnitzel in this recipe, cumin and sesame seeds in the breading mixture add nice flavor and texture. I also love the tehina green goddess dressing because it’s a great way to use up any herbs that are lingering in the fridge, and you’ll have a really nice bright, flavorful dressing. 

What ingredient swaps would you recommend for making this gluten- or dairy-free?

The recipe is already dairy-free, and it can be vegan and still delicious if you don’t top it with chicken (obviously!). Alternatively, you can also bread zucchini in the same way as the chicken. The matzo meal can easily be swapped with a gluten-free bread crumb. 

What cooking hacks do you use in this recipe that we should all know about?

You can always use a serrated knife to cut tomatoes. It’s much easier if you aren’t regularly sharpening your knives. And the proper seasoning is an underrated cooking skill. Always salt your veggies before dressing the salad. 

What do you love about creating recipes?

I love the opportunity to share recipes with people who might not be able to make it into our restaurants or who have never experienced Israeli cuisine. This dish is also fun because it’s a little different from the things I cook day to day in the restaurants.

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