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The Perfect Chicken Salad Recipe 

 September 1, 2020

Written By Kristina

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This is my go-to chicken salad recipe after years of trial and error. While there are some pretty unique chicken salad recipes out there, I always find myself resorting back to this classic rendition. The key is to use fresh ingredients, and to let your salad sit in the fridge and soak up all the goodness overnight.

Don't worry, I'll walk you through this simple recipe. It yields delicious results, and a substantial amount of the best chicken salad ever! 


If you want a delicious meal that stays fresh, and somehow tastes better the second day, we can't recommend this recipe enough. Stuff it in a lettuce wrap or slide it between two to slices of your favorite bread. Creamy, crunchy, sweet and salty, it's the perfect balance of flavors to get you excited about your next meal. 

Please enjoy!

What You'll Need 

  • 3-4 skinless chicken breasts (see notes)*
  • 3 green onions, chopped 
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped 
  • 1 cup red grapes, halved or quartered (see notes) *
  • small bunch of fresh dill, minced 
  • ½ cup almonds, slivered or chopped 

 - For the Dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise of your choice 
  • ½ cup full-fat cream or half-and-half 
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste 

Notes: 

* If your red grapes are huge, definitely quarter them, and maybe even halve those quarters, so that you have small enough pieces that will blend in nicely with your salad. 

* If you buy pre-cooked chicken, make sure it is white, skinless and unseasoned. If you are planning to cook the chicken yourself, here is a quick recipe for poaching your chicken to perfection. If you do not have chicken thighs on hand, you can use other cuts, just make sure they are skinless and boneless. 

1. Rinse your chicken, lay it on a cutting board and pound it down with a mallet so the pieces are more even throughout.

2. In a large pot, lay your chicken at the bottom, and cover with cold water, to an inch above the surface of your chicken. 

3. Now you can add all the goods that will make your chicken taste delicious. Just use whatever you have on hand and add it to your pot

  • a few dashes of dry white wine
  • a tablespoon of whole peppercorns
  • sprigs fresh dill, thyme or oregano
  • half a lemon, with the peel cut off 
  • plenty of salt (3 - 4 tsp.)
  • small onion, peeled and quartered


4. Heat slowly on medium heat, until a very low boil starts. Quickly lower heat and reduce to a simmer; allow to cook for 8-10 minutes. Your chicken will cook quickly, but time will vary depending on the size and amount of chicken you're poaching. You can use an internal thermometer which should reach 150°F in the center of the chicken, or you can simply cut into a piece and make sure it's no longer pink. 

*You don't want to boil or cook your chicken for too long, as this will result in a dried out piece of meat that will not do your salad any favors!

5. Voila. Let chicken cool on a cutting board for 20 minutes, then slice into small squares. 



Preparing Your Salad

1. First, you want to clean and chop all your fruits, veggies and chicken. Personally, to save a ton of time and energy, for the celery and almonds (I had whole almonds on hand), I used a food processor and pulsed until I got the small pieces I wanted. Make sure all your ingredients are chopped into small enough pieces so that non of them are overbearing and stealing the show.

2. Mix your mayonnaise, cream, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl to create your dressing. 

3. Add all your dry ingredients to a large bowl, and pour on all the dressing. Gently mix until everything is well incorporated. Taste, and any salt or pepper that might be needed. 

Your chicken salad can be enjoyed right away, but it really soaks up all the flavors and creates an even better flavor profile if you let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, or ideally overnight.

Enjoy throughout the week by making lettuce wraps, toasting some bread for a delicious chicken salad sandwich, or simply eat it by the spoonful. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days.

I hope you enjoy this classic chicken salad recipe. It's super great as lunch prep for the week, and can be eaten in so many ways! Creamy, crunchy healthy and filling, everything you want in a meal. 

Cheers & Be Well,

Kristina

About the author

Kristina is a world-traveling foodie whose mission is to explore and recreate the most delicious cuisine. While still an avid traveler, Kristina has taken culinary refuge in the great country of the Czech Republic. When she isn't nannying or exploring the beautiful city of Prague, she's sharing her favorite recipes on the web.

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