I love a good chicken salad. I’ve made a few riffs on the classic and even a few attempts at the classic itself in the past, but ultimately, it’s something I tend to order and enjoy at restaurants a few times a year. I definitely fall victim to the misconception that the dish, which is often laden with full-fat mayonnaise, is a light option – it just feels like it should be, right? Well, I’ve been determined to prove myself (and all of the other thousands of, let’s face it, mostly women who convince themselves that a big glob of meat and mayo on bread is an all-around healthy, low-calorie dish) – right.
This is a quick, 5 minute recipe provided you have precooked chicken – so I tend to only make chicken salad when I have leftover meat from dinner earlier in the week. A few quick tips: the key is to leave some mayonnaise in, which adds a depth to what will otherwise be, I promise, a very flat and almost flavorless end product; use all white meat chicken, which plenty of restaurants do not (easy enough, right?); and you can make it even better by going lighter on the creamy ingredient:other ingredient ratio, as I admittedly like my chicken salad a tad closer to gloppy than dry. Just make sure you have six times the amount of yogurt compared to mayo and the overall flavor should still work. Also, I used a sandwich thin – if you’re also making a chicken salad sandwich and planning to use a smaller roll like the sandwich thins, you’ll likely have leftover filling. I scooped mine up with apple slices, but if you use regular bread slices you’ll probably be able to fit it all into the sandwich itself.
One Year Ago: Homemade Walnut-Spinach Pesto
Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
This chicken salad captures that classic chicken salad flavor without relying too heavily on mayonnaise, and adds in the crunch of healthy walnuts and the sweet-tang of dried cranberries for an extra treat.
Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
¼ cup cubed cooked chicken breast
3 tablespoons diced celery
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
2-3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 – 1 ½ teaspoons light mayonnaise1
1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
onion powder, to taste
mixed greens and/or bread of choice to serve on
1 small apple on the side (optional)
Combine all ingredients except the greens, bread, and apple in a small bowl and mix well. Serve on top of salad greens or make a sandwich with a smaller amount of greens and your favorite (ideally whole grain) bread. Slice an apple, optionally, to have on the side.
1I believe we use one made with olive oil or something like that – I’m not a huge mayo person so I don’t pay all that much attention to what we keep in the fridge. I just know that I did not use full-fat, original recipe mayo and it turned out just fine.