The perfect bite!
Chicken salad is a classic. It's both sweet and savory, yet creamy and crunchy. What's not to love?! Most think of chicken salad in conjunction with summer, but it really is a year-round dish for a number of reasons, it's simple, easy, delicious, nutritious, fresh, and crisp!
Have leftover chicken and not sure what to do with it? Make a chicken salad.
Need a quick lunch idea that can be made in batches and meal prepped? Make a chicken salad.
At Linked Fit we talk a lot about meal prepping and the chicken salad is a perfect meal prep meal. It has simple ingredients and it's quick and easy to make. Make sure to follow up with Meal Prepping: The Beginners Guide to learn more about the best practices when it comes to meal prepping.
Plain Greek Yogurt
Salt and pepper
Chicken Salad Basics:
Creamy base: Traditionally, chicken salad uses mayo for its base, you can use homemade, avocado, or olive oil mayo, any mayo of choice will work. Another option would be plain Greek yogurt or a combo of both greek yogurt and mayo.
Chicken: Pre-cooked leftover chicken works really well for this! The chicken can be cooked in a crockpot, poached, baked in the oven, or grilled on the stovetop. Rotisserie chicken also works really well here too. Depending on the texture desired the chicken can be shredded or chopped (finely or coarsely) either by hand or using a food processor. It's best to season the chicken with simple seasonings, for example, salt, pepper, and garlic, but you can play around with flavors and seasonings. Before mixing all the ingredients make sure the chicken is cooled.
Crunch: Celery and onions are key components of any chicken salad! To give the chicken salad an extra crunch and nutty flavor we often add pecans, but you could also use almonds. Chop all crunch ingredients by hand or in the food processor.
Sweet: Want to add a hint of sweetness to your chicken salad, add grapes. By hand, quarter the grapes and fold them in at the end of prepping this meal. You could also add dried cranberries or something similar.
Extra Seasonings: No extra seasoning is needed for this recipe, a little salt, and pepper go a long way in this recipe, but a dash of dijon mustard can give the chicken salad an extra punch. Another option would be to add some paprika to the chicken or to the dish as a whole.
Chicken salad is also extremely versatile and can easily be mixed and matched to fit whatever is in the kitchen. It can be eaten solo, made into a sandwich, wrap, or salad. Below are some different alternatives that can be used to make the chicken salad. Combine to your desired liking.
Creamy base: Regular or low-fat mayo, plain Greek yogurt, mashed avocado, vegan mayo
Crunch: Almonds (toasted for added flavor), pecans (toasted for added flavor), red onion, green onion, celery
Sweetness: Apple, dried cherries, dried cranberries, grapes
Seasonings: dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper
Serving: lettuce wrap, tortilla wrap, bread/toast, on top of a bed of lettuce, or use it as a dip with your favorite crackers.
Putting it Together:
Once the chicken is cooked, sliced, and diced to the desired liking, then it is time to assemble the salad.
Dice your crunch and sweetness (if needed) ingredients.
In a bowl, combine chicken with the cream base.
Next, fold in the crunch and sweetness ingredients.
Finally, add additional seasonings, and give one more good fold.
Serve as desired! We prefer to let the chicken salad chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving to help the flavors meld together.
Chicken salad can be stored up to 5 days max in the fridge but is best eaten within 3-4 days. It's served cold, which makes it easy to pack for lunch or take when on the go.