Chicken salad and Mom. Mom and chicken salad. They just belong together in my mind. Growing up we often cooked chicken for dinner and had amazing sandwiches all through the following week. Mom loved the chicken moist and succulent, with plenty of onion, pepper and plain yogurt. Her chicken salad sandwiches were simple and practical but somehow that was part of their charm. My chicken salad has a few more ingredients than Mom’s did but she loves mine just the same. It’s easy to make for a big group and it’s always a hit. Plan for the platter to get wiped clean.
The first step to a good chicken salad is quality chicken. We have a rotisserie so I often cook mine on that or roast it carefully in the oven. You can also buy a rotisserie bird at the store of course. I won’t tell. I think texture is important in chicken salad so I tear the chicken instead of cutting it into cubes. It has a better mouth feel and all the crevices in the torn chicken hold the sauce better than cubes.
A few tips on ingredients:
1. Try including the celery leaves when you do the veggies. It’s delicious and beautiful!
2. If you can get garlic chives that’s awesome but they are hard to find in stores. I grow my own on a start from my mom’s plant. Click Here to buy seeds and start your own plant.
3. I like to mince up some fresh fern leaf dill in mine (think of it as a hint of pickle flavor without the pickle) but if you don’t care for dill leave it out.
4. If you can’t find sweet onion cut up some regular onion, rinse it under running water to remove bitter juices, pat dry and add with everything else. I get great sweet onions year round at Costco.
5. I serve nuts on the side because it’s a big allergy issue for some.
6. My amazing sister-in-law, Rachel, adds halved seedless grapes to her chicken salad and it’s delightful. The grapes are crunchy and refreshing. If you want to mix it up with grapes I suggest about 1 cup. Remember they don’t hold as well for leftovers.
Usually I serve the chicken salad on a plate with bread on the side. For potlucks or picnics I want something simpler so I bake fresh rolls and stuff the salad inside to make little sliders. They are very tasty and easy to grab. This is also one of my Go To ideas when I have a crowd of kids to feed. Usually when I’m making it for kids I leave the onions out or put in very little.
Chicken salad was meant to be played with, experimented on, and re-invented to suit your fancy. Use these measurements as a base and enjoy creating a new dish every time you make it. Maybe you should share some with your mom too…
- ¾ lbs shredded chicken
- 1 stalk of celery chopped small (including the leaves)
- 2 green onions
- 2 slices of sweet onion chopped small
- 3-6 leaves garlic chives minced or 2 Tablespoons of regular chives, minced
- ¼ cup dried cranberries preferably Craisins
- ¼ cup light mayo
- ¼ cup Greek honey yogurt
- 2-4 Tablespoons fresh fernleaf dill minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Put everything in a mixing bowl.
- Mix gently until combined. Taste for salt and pepper, adjust if needed.
- Chill for a few hours so everything can marinate a bit.
- Serve with a dish of sliced almonds or other favorite nuts.