101 Ways to Make Chicken Salad
Making chicken salad on a hot summer night couldn’t be easier, especially if you have leftover roasted chicken from the night before. Whether you roast the chicken yourself or buy a rotisserie chicken at your local market, one of the best ways to use up leftovers is cut it up to pieces and make chicken salad.
There must be 101 ways to make chicken salad depending on what you have on hand to toss into it. I’m sure everyone has a favorite recipe from his or her mom or great aunt but in our house, we usually go with what’s on hand or in the refrigerator and get creative.
Basically, chicken salad is chicken, chopped up vegetables; some sort of fruit and a dressing that typically has mayonnaise associated with it. A classic chicken salad could be just chicken, celery, mayo and salt & pepper. That’s it. That simple.
Instead of giving you exact recipe with measured out ingredients, I’d wanted to give you some ideas as to what you can try in your own recipe. I’m not giving you measurements because I never make the same chicken salad twice and really don’t have them. I suppose if you come up with the most amazing homemade chicken salad recipe ever, you may want to write it down so you can make it again some time.
This list is by no means exhausted but it’s a good start. I encourage you to experiment with all your favorite ingredients and if you come up with something special, add it to the comments below.
This is a template for you to use to make almost any chicken salad that you want. Instead of giving you an exact recipe with measured out ingredients, here are some ideas for making your own the way you want it. I'm not giving you measurements because I never make the same chicken salad twice and really don't have them.
Toasted almond slivers
Capers - drained
Chopped sweet pickles or pickle relish
Hard-boiled eggs, chopped
Nuts - walnuts, pecans, cashews, pine nuts, sesame seeds
Fruits- apple slices, pear, raisins, cranberries, craisins, tomato, avocado, olives, mandarin oranges, cherries
Vegetables - asparagus, cucumber
Cheese - hard cheese, grated or thin slices of soft cheese
Beyond Mayonnaise Dressing
Your choice of bottled dressing
Herbs - basil, parsley, tarragon, chervil, chives, sage, mint Spices - ginger, dry mustard, honey mustard, paprika, oregano
Jam or preserves
Citrus juice - lemon, orange, grapefruit
How To Prepare At Home
Assemble your preferred ingredients. Make sure that there is at least as much diced chicken as there is all other add-ins. For example, if you have 1 cup of diced chicken, make sure that all the add-ins you use equal no more than 1 cup, total.
Mix dressing ingredients together. Count on 1/3-2/3 cup dressing per cup of ingredients. Add less to begin with, and then add more if necessary. You are shooting for a nice balance between salad and dressing.
Fold the dressing into your prepared ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or two to let the flavors marry. Taste again and decide if you want to add a bit more dressing.
Serve as part of a salad plate, on top of greens or in a sandwich. However you like to eat chicken salad, because there is no one right way.
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